Saturday, August 4, 2007

Rent a Card at the Border

For those last-minute crossers, it appears that you can get just about anything in the border town of Juarez (just across the line from El Paso) Mexico. I’ve been to Juarez a couple of times. I remember that there was no waiting line crossing INTO Mexico but a huge back-up trying to get back into the USA. God bless America!

These were the pre-9/11 days, around 1998. Now, having lived in Chicago I am used to waiting in traffic at the rush hour tollbooths. But these waits were ridiculous. It would take 30-45 minutes of inching up to the gate before it was your turn to be inspected.

Usually they would just ask a couple of questions. Sometimes you’d need to open the trunk. Maybe show your company ID badge and/or a Drivers License. The biggest fear was that you would be busted for bringing in cigars without declaring them. Behind the scenes there was a mirror under your car and drug dogs wandering about.

But today things should be different. Congress has been provided with proof that Arabs have entered the US through the Mexican border. And I just read that Cubans are opting for a land assault through Mexico rather than the amphibious attacks on Miami Beach. Customs and Border Protection say 90% of illegals from Cuba now prefer the Mexico route.

So, what’s an illegal to do? Well, he RENTS a green card for $500, hopes he looks like the picture of the real owner, then hands it back to an accomplice on the US side. You can get a passport for $400, but once again, you have to give it back once you get across the border.

Now for some numbers: Every day 100,000 people cross at the Juarez/El Paso border station alone. And there are many other entry points along the border. That’s a big number to be processed and people don’t like to wait in line.

For the record, many of those folks are U S businessmen who do that trip every day. They have had various expedited border crossing passes for years. Those passes get more sophisticated every time a new one is designed.

Also, many of those crossers are Mexican citizens who come into the US regularly to shop. Check out the mall or the Wal Mart at any border town and you will be amazed at the high number of license plates from Mexico. 9/11 hasn’t slowed them down much.

So how are they doing at spotting the fraudulent documentation? In the last TWO YEARS Customs agents have only seized 90,000 fake documents and caught 60,000 people trying to use them NATIONWIDE. That’s a drop in the bucket folks!

Here’s the link. Read it and weep.

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