Tombstone  Tumbleweed
At left: Sits a group of young strapping men caught sneaking into our country on Friday night. The group was detected attempting to slip through the San Pedro River thoroughfare. CHD volunteers spent time conversing with the men who pleaded with us to let them go; little did they know we could do nothing to really detain them.  
They were relitively nice guys, well dressed and alert. They lit up some cigarettes and told us they were on their way to South Carolina to work on the farms. One of the men who looked to be in his mid 20’s told he he
had five children and needed work. One man admitted this was the fifth time he had been caught attempting to enter the country illegally. He said he would never try it again. Yeah right!
The Border Patrol agent who arrived to cart them off was not so congenial with the men. He immediately told them to get out their identification and show any weapons. Nine of the eleven produced knives along with their I.D.’s. Nothing to worry about, just hard working people looking for a better life. Where’s the Fox when his people need help with work to feed their families?
CHD volunteers have now assisted Border Patrol with finding 2,748 people breaking and entering the United States Of America.
  In other news - the same old chaos reigns on our southern border.
  On 03-17-04, at 0856 hours, Cochise County deputies responded to a shooting incident that occurred near Geronimo Trail Rd. east of Douglas. A resident observed a truck driving through his property from Mexico, this occurred at approximately 0720 hours. The vehicle is believed to have been involved in drug smuggling. The resident fired three shots at the truck. The truck fled the area east on Geronimo Trail Rd. Approximately 40 minutes later (0800hrs) the resident was inside his home when he heard numerous gunshots. The resident exited his home and observed his 26 ft. travel trailer had been set on fire.
   Several rounds struck his home. No injuries were reported. The resident had observed ICE pursuing this vehicle the day before in which case a firearm was brandished, ICE subsequently fired two rounds at the vehicle. The investigation is continuing.

  Now this private citizen who purchased land near the border risks his life by staying on his own property. Border Patrol agents have stated they will do everything to help patrol the area and will stop in to check on Mr. Kovak a couple times a day. They stated there was no way they can keep a 24  - hour watch on his property. Mr. Kovak may end up being run off his own property because the government can’t control our border. Bring in the troops!
   I’m sure President Bush and Governor Napolitano would agree that he asked for it. If the drug dealers end up killing Mr. Kovak I’m sure Nappy and the Prez would agree that he should have known better than to buy a piece of property near the war zone known as our border with Mexico.. And of course he has no business attempting to defend his own property. Doesn’t he know that he is to call the proper authorities and then ask the perpetrators to stick around until they show up!
   But wait, today we hear that governor Napolitano has invited President Bush to accompany her on a tour of the border next week. Nappy will most likely take Bushit to Nogales to see how bad the conditions are on the other side. You would think she and the prez would take a trip to see Mr. Kovak’s bullet riddled home and trailer burned to the ground. But then Mr. Kovak is part of the problem -how dare Americans think they can live near the border; don’t they know that Nappy and the prez are helping Mexico to move the border farther north?
Government implements new guidelines for
sponsoring immigrants
   This interesting story out of Texas reminds us that many people do understand what it means to enter this country legally –only now we learn the government is making it tougher to do that. I feel it is important to accept immigrants and respect their desire to become citizens in the legal orderly queue.
By Angeles Negrete Lares
The Brownsville Herald

  Hunched over a desk in his cluttered office at Madison Street, Benigno Peña furrows his brow and frets about the future.
   For 20 years, he has helped immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley process their requests for legal permanent residence.

With the latest in a string of new poverty guidelines pending, never has the process become so elusive, said Peña, who oversees the non-profit South Texas Immigration Council offices in Harlingen, Brownsville and McAllen.
  Peña said these new guidelines will “shut the door on a lot of people.”  “Very few people will be able to be legalized,” he said.
  The new guidelines were published February 11 in the Federal Register by the Department of Health and Human Services and will take effect April 1, Peña said.
  The guidelines increased legalization fees by $300 to $500 and also increased how much people must earn to sponsor legal permanent residents.  
  According to federal guidelines, U.S. residents who want to bring foreign relatives here must agree to shoulder financial responsibility for repaying public benefits that the new immigrants receive. They must also prove their income is at least 125 percent above the federal poverty level.
   The poverty level is recalculated and published annually for the Office of Management and Budget by HHS. The levels are increased by a set dollar amount based on the number of persons in the household. The levels are so high, some say, that few first-generation U.S. families in poor, rural areas such as the Valley will be legally able to sponsor family members.
  “If you simply make the minimum wage, that is adequate if you want to stay here. But not if you want to be reunited with your family,” Peña said.
  The new regulations affect U.S. citizens and legal immigrants seeking to sponsor spouses, parents, siblings and children, including children adopted from other countries. That family-based visa category normally encompasses about 486,000 applicants a year.
  According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services web site, the current poverty levels mean, for example, that a would-be sponsor in a four-person household must earn at least $23,000 to bring in relatives.
   For the same number of people, the 2004 poverty guidelines indicate that the sponsor needs to earn about $23,563 — a 2.5 percent increase.
 Most immigrants who are sponsored under this financial agreement will be barred from federal means-tested public benefit programs for five years. These programs provide food stamps and other welfare benefits to low-income people.
  Some Matamoros residents said these new guidelines are a difficult obstacle for legalization.  “They always try to put a new obstacle in our way,” Leonel Cruz said.
 Cruz is a Matamoros resident who wants to apply for his legal permanent resident card with his brother as a sponsor.
  “Imagine, my brother works as an electrician and he earns about $15,000 a year. Do you believe he can sponsor me with that amount?” he said.
 “I don’t why the migra insists on putting more barriers for the people who want to apply (for citizenship) the right way, legally.”
  Cruz said it will be hard to be sponsored by his brother, who gained his citizenship last year.
  According to federal requirements, the sponsored immigrant is counted when calculating the family size, but the immigrant’s potential income is not counted toward the required household income figure
Thursday, March 25, 2004
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