how the world sees america

Hector, Father Turned Drug-Runner - Part I

Hector-Still-2.jpg
Hector Salinas

HIDALGO - At age 18, Hector Salinas's girlfriend became pregnant unexpectedly. The pair promptly married, she bore their son, and the new father found himself unable to buy diapers and milk for his baby boy on the US$200 per month he earned working for the local water authority of the state of Hidalgo. So Hector headed north to the United States, alone.

Three years later, he was running drugs along the California coast, pocketing six thousand untaxed dollars per month, and sending his family at least US$800 per week. Hector says he fell deep into an underworld and ended up an unwitting witness to a murder.

That’s when he decided to escape the snares of his drug boss. He stole home to Hidalgo and met his baby boy for the first time in three years, vowing to keep him from a similar fate.

Over a long Friday afternoon, the affable Hector, now a spiky-haired office-worker in Mexico City, recounts his migration story systematically, in minute detail, as if chronicling its moments for his son’s generation. His speaks terse, matter-of-fact Spanish, his emotions always controlled. He refuses to pass judgment on any of the actors in his tale, including himself. He simply warns fellow Mexicans against rushing north, and urges them to temper their dreams of America.

In the next two posts, I'll look at Hector's views of the United States during his migration north, once he arrived in San Francisco, as he fell into a brutal gang, and finally today as he advises his growing boy.

Hiring the Pollero

Hector’s wife told him not to go. So did his parents. They all had heard the stories of deadly border crossings. His wife had also heard that Mexican men up north get lonely and betray their wives and don't return. The baby needed a dad, she said. But Hector was determined to earn for the family.

Hidalgo.jpg
Market in Hidalgo

“My wife protested in the beginning, but in this relationship when I say something, there’s no turning back; she respects what I say.” Ultimately, it was Hector’s wife’s family that paved his road to the U.S.

Hector’s brother-in-law is an undocumented roofer in San Francisco. He put up the money so Hector could use the same Pollero (literally, “chicken herder”) that he had three years before. He says the pollero charges US$1500 to smuggle people north.

“I only thought of money, my family, and the house I would buy. I was going to the U.S. just for money, and coming right back,” Hector says.

The Pollero booked Hector’s airplane ticket, the first of his life, from Mexico City to Mexicali, from where migrants cross to Calexico, California. Hector hadn't met his pollero, and never found out his real name, but followed the man's careful instructions. Hector arrived at the McDonalds in the Mexico City airport at 9pm, two hours before his flight, ticket in hand, to meet the ten other Mexicans who’d be crossing with him.

He didn’t need to see their tickets to recognize his companions. “You realize when someone is not from the city, how they dress, the trousers are different, the shoes are different. We stood together but did not talk,” Hector says, “just committed, focused, not anxious.”

Once in Mexicali, Hector rested through the afternoon in a cheap hotel with six rickety bunk beds per room. At midnight, the group was awoken, guided to a wide river of sewage that stank and ate away at the fabric in his jeans, and told to wade through.

La Cruzada (The Crossing)

Hector crossed gamely that night, through the quick running water, over the jagged stones. But on the other side, instead of the vans he expected to carry him to Los Angeles, U.S. border control trucks waited with what Hector calls “human cages” affixed to the back. The patrolmen picked up the member’s of Hector’s group one by one and stuck them behind bars, he says, but didn’t process them “because we smelled too bad.”

"It was a small thing, just another experience,” Hector says of this failed attempt, “Actually, it was more like a triumph because they didn’t take my name or photo. I knew I’d try again tomorrow.”

Back in Mexicali, the guide told him to shower, drink electrolytes, and sleep because the next attempt would be much more dangerous.

Rumorosa.jpg
La Rumorosa Mountains

In the morning, Hector and the others took an hour-and-a-half-long bus ride to La Rumorosa through barren hills. The guide bribed the bus driver, who had orders not to stop anywhere, so that he pulled over briefly allowing the group to jump out, rush into the mountains, and hide behind a huge rock until the road cleared. Then they walked in a single file line, led by the guide, from 2pm in the afternoon, when the sun was scorching hot, until 3am in the morning, when the temperature of the February night dropped below freezing.

Hector carried only a bottle of water in a backpack, and a big puffy coat for the night. Some of his companions fell down exhausted. Others twisted their limbs or were stung by cacti. After six hours, night fell, and a third of the group couldn't go on. They gave up and turned back, waiting for the border patrol to find them, process them, and escort them back to Mexico.

But Hector kept going, into the pure darkness. No flashlights, no cell phones, no glow-in-the-dark watches, just the guide ahead of him and the sound of footsteps. When they got to the U.S. side, the snaking Highway Five cut through the hills and intersected their route. The group had to dart across like deer, avoiding speeding cars, before waiting behind another rock for their escort Sebrings to arrive at 4:30am.

This time, the right cars arrived, and the group darted in, crouched down in front of the seats, and waited for the drivers to weave them toward their destination, avoiding police cars through a network of strategically placed friends who reported their movements to one another via cell phones. Hector said little during this time; his mind was fixated on the mission at hand.

Five hours later, mission accomplished. He was told to sit up and look outside at paradise. It was the mansion of the man in charge of many polleros, nicknamed The Cow. The Cow was a U.S. citizen, with “a huge lawn, a house with room after room after room, and carpets everywhere” says Hector. The newly arrived Mexicans stuffed together into one of the many rooms, as The Cow's workers sold “fake IDs (the blue one), a security number and the green ID so you can work," Hector says, for US$40 each.

That afternoon, vans started transporting migrants to their final destinations across the West Coast. Hector went straight to San Francisco, calmer now, able to sit up in the car. "It was relaxed," he says, though "I was still basically kidnapped until The Cow got his money."

At night Hector was driven further north to his brother-in-law, who came to meet The Cow's employee with the $1500, buying Hector's release into the United States.

"I was tired," says Hector, "happy to have arrived...but feeling very alone."

****
My next post will cover Hector's experience in the U.S., where his high expectations met a harsh reality as he was exploited by a fast food chain, bounced between jobs, and finally was lured into the world of drugs.


Note: This post contains an abbreviated version of Hector's name, which he asked us to use in order to maintain Internet privacy. He subsequently agreed that we could use his full name, which is Hector Mera. The post also says he was "an unwitting witness to a murder," which overstates Hector's role in the alleged event as he described it to me. A more appropropriate description for his role would be, "an unintentional witness to a killing."

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Comments (58)

A Word For You:

Amar, thank you for trying to bring a more human perspective to those who don´t have an opportunity to travel, learn and realize how terribly wrong they are. No one has the monopoly of truth here, what Héctor did was very wrong but I´m sure by the way this article seems to be going, that at the beginning he started out looking for decent jobs. He didn´t immidiately become a drug dealer. I´m not justifying him, but I´ve seen how illegal immigrants are treated in the US. There are only a few countries in the world that still allow slavery. Most are third world countries filled with poverty and injustice. And believe it or not, the United States holds first place worldwide just for the type of jobs illegal immigrants are given. Don´t just take my word for it, you can read it yourself on a National Geographic article (an american magazine) about a year ago... So, all of you immigrant-haters,do you still feel proud? Over the land of the free...and the home of the slave...

A Word For You:

Amar, I think it´s quite wonderful how you can share these experiences with everyone. I´m looking forward to the second part of your article. Please don´t stop writing it...
I´m also very sorry for the hate-filled americans that said all the rude comments. Their hatred can only come from ignorance and the government-controlled-media. Everyone in the world knows that, outside of the US is where you can actually get some perspective. I can´t judge them because I understand how their views have been fed throughout a lifetime of making them feel like the rulers of the world.
I believe our world needs tolerance and equality. It´s very difficult to respect people who are so different from you, especially poor and uneducated, that I understand. However, all this rejection is only cornering them into taking worse choices. The same situation takes place in France and Spain with morrocans, in Germany with turcs. It´s horrible to watch how first world countries have acquired an imaginary superiority over others believing it´s ok to disrespect and encourage slavery. With all this hatred the only place this is going is to get more problems. Because you´ll get more criminals instead of a stronger work force. Discrimination creates monsters instead of giving people a chance to grow and give something positive in return. How come the whole world absolutely loves Mexicans? Because they´re great. And why did the term "uggly american syndrome" appear all over? Ask the world...and look down at some of these comments...

Faisal Riaz:

America is a country whose government can do anything for ivory, gold and diamonds. They made a drama of 911 to shake Muslims and to capture Afghanistan to establish themselves in south Asian region to snub Russia, India and off course Pakistan. And who is unaware of the fact that Usama was ex-best friend of US.

The filthy US government attacked Iraq, destroyed everything there, killed Saddam (their old best buddy), got control of oil and refineries to fill their stomachs... and couldn't get even a single nuclear weapon from Iraq...

USA makes friends and breaks them with their nations and countries.

Every American is not bad but every American government.

I have the capacity to say it... the website should have the capacity to publish it.

spy:

If Latin American goverments would give enough care to its citizens on social, educational and housing needs, none of the above would happen.
Greed among public officials, corruption and lock of financial management with the country's natural resources and wealth, puts pression on its citicens to look outside their country to cover all their needs.
The U.S is not only the protected father of all its citicens, but citizens of other countries as well, which means that at this trend and time, the U.S. will fall financially, and then, who will be the next country to be damaged ?.
Jobs can be created by each country.
There are countries in Latin America so rich in natural resources, but so poor in innovations terms. Why? well, because each goverment prepares its national Budget and they allocate very little money to education, but huge portion of the money is allocated in goverment salaries. Therefore, always would be the gap of eniquality, upon those whom happens to be in the goverment Vs. those who are out; therefore the illegal immigration will continue its function.


Gregory Beas:

We in the United States had a President tell the
President of The Soviet Union and I quote " Mr. Gorbachev Tear Down This Wall"
Only to have one built over here to keep out people searching for the same kind of freedom that the other wall was preventing, how disingenious, not all those seeking to come to this country are drug dealers but one thing for sure they will all run into the same brick wall when it comes to bettering themselves else where from the bleak situation that they are in now.

Dan:

It is absolutely horrifying to see so many of the posts by people advocating against illegal immigration using phrases like every third world bandito can come and feast one welfare while raping and murdering, while another suggests that mexico is mexico because it doesn't take responsibility for its actions implying that all mexicans are irresponsible. I to am in favor of not lowering our expectations of hector due to his lack of education (if in fact we should be judging at all) because it seems like you like you remain an ignorant racist waste of space even in this most enlightened of countries.
P.S. i may repesctfully disagree but i have no problem with a number of the posts which condemn illegal immigration such as the rather poignant one stating that it trivializes the time that legal immigrants spend waiting for the opportunity to immigrate. Please stop being racist pigs though americans or i'll start to wish i could trade you for some more open minded immigrants.

Peterpiper:

As someone noted, he sends just over half his earnings home. Hummm. And as many point out, he made it to the US but chose to deal drugs rather than work at one of the, obviously, millions of jobs available to illegals. Hummm

Jack:

Are we going to get the rest of this story?

SavoirFaire:

We judge too fast. We always judge - anyone and anything. And we take too much for granted. I take into consideration the fact that Hector has fallen and then rose to make his life better. He is not perfect, no one is, however, he admits his mistakes and teaches us not to look too lightly on the world. Most importantly, he picked himself up. That's what counts.

Mr. Mexican:

For god sake this is a real person. You can not judge this man this way. If you were in that situation tell me, what you're gonna do? I think that the only way to support aliens is giving them the opportunity to grow up, to learn english, to be good citizens.
And for those that not support inmigration, just remind your ancesters, you are not AMERICANS, you came from EUROPEAN INMIGRANTS, the only AMERICANS IN THIS CONTINENT ARE THE NATIVES, SINCE THE SONS OF THE SIOUX TO THE PERU'S INCAS. So please stop calling yourselves Americans because is ashaming to us, THE REAL AMERICANS!

Christi:

Bear:

At least in this country, we have an overwhelming chance of getting out of poverty. That is why so many people from Mexico come here. Yes, we have issues too...but the opportunities here are a heck of alot more accessible than in Mexico. You have heard of individuals in this country that had beat the odds because of the perserverance and the chances that this country offers. No country is perfect, but let's be real here. If you had African American slaves that were able to
achieve greatness (Harriett Tubman and those who fled to the North), then this country is a country major opportunities that many places still don't have....but that is now changing.

Christi:

Bear:

At least in this country, we have an overwhelming chance of getting out of poverty. That is why so many people from Mexico come here. Yes, we have issues too...but the opportunities here are a heck of alot more accessible than in Mexico. You have heard of individuals in this country that had beat the odds because of the perserverance and the chances that this country offers. No country is perfect, but let's be real here. If you had African American slaves that were able to
achieve greatness (Harriett Tubman and those who fled to the North), then this country is a country major opportunities that many places still don't have....but that is now changing.

Rajiv:

I think is is very sickening that illegal immigration continues to occur every hour. It is shocking to read that many U.S. citizens were responsible for bringing illegals in. Shame. Their citizenship should be revoked and they should be deported.

Many legal migrants wait for decades to come here but illegal immigrants somehow see nothing wrong in breaking law and then demanding equal rights here in U.S.

Luga:

Good history. Shame on you gringos.

sri-jaggu-gandhi:

Amar,
Great story. I just had to read till the end.
Thanks very much. Keep up the good work.
-Subir

Diallo from Detroit:

First of all. Hector knew he couldn't afford to take care of a family before he knocked up his girlfreind. Let's not lower the bar of common sense for Hector just because he is poor, uneducated and from Mexico. That is an example of condescending liberalism. It's no justification for him contributing to destablization of American society by helping to smuggle drugs into the country. That being said, no one poison's more American children than the fast food industry.

ff:

The whole poverty angle is difficult to buy when the guy is wearing a designer jersey in his photo.

Jack:

Yeah, I've got no sympathy for this guy. Got a girl pregnant at a young age, got involved with gangs, broke into the U.S., then decided to peddle drugs because the money is good. Cry me a river, this jerk and should be rotting in prison

Parnum:

Let's see,

We have a number of crimes clearly described, a romantic air in the writing, and the idea that it is Americans who are the bad guys.

Hector and his compatriots are just lured by the bad Americans and exploited by the corporations for the dream of easy money.

The immigration policies from 1986 got us here. That and no enforcement of that law or any other immigration law on the scale needed.

In this order:

1. Crack down on businesses that employ illegals
This first step will result in two things, a group of illegals who self-deport and ones who won't or can't. For the ones in the second category, there must be some method created that evaluates the individual(s) that pop up because of the crackdown.

2. Secure the border. What that means is simple. Stop people from crossing the border coming in to the country. The only way to do it efficiently is a combined approach. Physical Barriers, Manned Patrols, Unmanned Patrols, Risk Assesment with Focused Patrols, Community Participation, Motion Sensors, and Quick Response.

3. Provide a path to citizenship that does not allow the individual to vote for 10 years (or what ever 2x the normal wait is). We have to take politics out of the equation. It will be political if politicians think it will get them votes right away. Most politicians live in chunks of 2-4 years. Senators have a 6 year cycle.

4. Educate liberals and other open borders folks the difference between legal immigrants that are welcome to come here and illegal immigrants that are not welcome here. There is no nativism in this argument as we are all immigrants, you can only claim nativists about the Native Americans. There is no racism in this argument, illegal immigrants come from every country in the world.

5. And this would be the toughy. Address the birthright issue as this has become a tool used against us in the last 30 years. Maybe birthright citizenship could be granted if you are here legally, that seems fair. Yes, I understand that could still result in people getting tourist visas when they are ready to deliver. We could have a debate about how to handle that.

No politician would ever get in line with me. Those five things would make the politically correct crown and the ACLU all nutty.

Hence, you are stuck with Hector et. al.

JDG:

Garbage journalism; is this supposed to elicit some sort of heart-tugging on my part? Just like one of our viewers noted: He got his girl friend pregnant, broke our laws coming into this country, broke our laws selling drugs. Mexico is a third world country for a reason; as always, they never take responsibility for their own actions, someone else most help shoulder the burden (US). NAFTA is an absolute joke. Back in 1992 is was supposed to create all these jobs for Mexicans; fast forward to 2008 and Mexico's puppet president claims that "we still need jobs down here to keep our people home." Good lord! When will these lazy bums get a clue and fix their own house first...

gd:


McNut,s reasons for Amnesty
McCain's God,s Children Argument!
Then there is they are all God,s children argument(Another McCain favor) well isn't everyone God,s children? If so then guess McCain is saying everyone and anyone has the right to Invade this Nation, waving their flags, demand their rights, while feasting at the trough of public welfare and Kill, Rape and Rob thousands of American citizens each year!

McCain's Lettuce Argument!
There's the "lettuce" argument -- we'll be paying $50/head (or starving)( McCain really likes this argument) if we don't have illegal aliens working in the fields. As Phil Martin, ag economist at UC Davis shows, the field labor cost in a $1 head of lettuce is about 6 cents. Triple those wages and Americans will do the jobs. (They're not career positions. They're seasonal jobs for young people, starting in the world of work. I have did similarly menial jobs.) And you'll be paying 10% more for lettuce and other produce. Do you spend $1,000/year on produce? OK, you'll pay $100 more.
There are approx. 20 to 30 millions Illegal Aliens in the USA less than 2% work in the fields but 43 % are on Welfare. If you count their Medical cost and Educating their Spawn at a cost of 7 to 10k per year to American Tax payers as Welfare then close to 100% are on Welfare that American poor and middle class pay an average of 20k per year so the rich have a unlimited supply of slave labor!

The lettuce argument also parallels that for the retention of slavery.

Immigrant Argument!
There's the "everyone's an immigrant except for the 'Native Americans'" argument. Well, the American Indians didn't sprout from the land, they came across the Bering land bridge from Asia. So if the criterion is "You're an immigrant if you had an ancestor who immigrated here," then American Indians are immigrants, too.

In that case, "immigrant" is no longer a useful word, since Everyone's an immigrant.

Stole Southwest Argument!
There's the "the U.S. stole the southwest" argument. Well, the land in dispute was "owned" by Spain for a couple of centuries. Then by Mexico for about 25 years. During these periods, there weren't more than a few thousand Spaniards or Mexicans in the entire territory. It's been owned by the U.S. for about 160 years now, much longer than Mexico's reign. And the U.S. has actually done something with the land, made it habitable for tens of millions. As Robert Kaplan has described, the difference between American and Mexican "twin cities" straddling the border is like night and day, yet the land is obviously the same. It's not the dirt that's important, it's the people. Put another way, if culture didn't matter, Mexico and Central America would be paradise.

Illegal pay taxes Argument!

There's the "illegal aliens pay tons of taxes" argument. Sure, they all pay real estate taxes (in rent) and sales taxes (most states). Those working on the books (typically using stolen Social Security numbers) pay FICA and, perhaps, income taxes. But they're mostly ill-educated and low-skilled and pay very low taxes connected to their working -- in fact, most claim the Earned Income Tax Credit, i.e. negative income tax! If a family with both parents working has two kids in school, that's at least $15k/year just for schooling, way more than the taxes on, say, $35k/year aggregate income.

Robert Rector at the Heritage Foundation has done the systematic accounting on all this. A typical household headed by a low-skilled illegal alien is a net drain of about $20k/year for the rest of us, year after year. (Low-skilled Americans are a similar burden, but they're part of the national family, not gate crashers from other societies.)

Illegal Bad..Amnesty good Argument!

There's the "illegal immigration is bad, but make them citizens and problem solved" argument. Nope. If that were the case, legalizing (i.e. amnestying) the illegal aliens would solve the problem. But they'd still be (on average) low-skilled workers whose burden on the rest of us would continue. In fact, once legal they'd be able to access more public benefits programs, so their cost to the rest of us would actually rise substantially. In short, most of the problems of mass illegal immigration are shared by mass amnestying them.

The flood of immigrants drives wages and living conditions in our central cities toward those of the Third World.

- The influx imposes both sprawl and gridlock on our metropolitan areas.

- Immigrant families needing services overwhelm our schools, taxpayer-funded health care facilities, and other public agencies.

- Those requiring services don’t assimilate and, instead, expect to be served in their native languages.

- American civic culture frays as each ethnic group establishes its own grievance lobby and pushes for preferences.

- Communicable diseases such as tuberculosis (new, drug-resistant strains) return.

- Shortages of water and other resources loom, especially in immigration-blitzed Southwest.

Most that come across our open borders come from countries where, Crime, Corruption, Poverty, Misery, Anti-education, and hate for Americans has existed for centuries and is normal. Should anyone be surprised they bring those same family values across the border with them?

Rory:

"I impregnated my girlfriend without the means to support her, so I was forced by what I can only assume to be American imperialism to sneak across the border. I meant to work really hard like I didn't do in Mexico but WHOOPS NOW I AM A DRUG DEALER! $6000+ a month poisoning the gringos while I funnel the proceeds out of the country like everyone else that soft-hearted Americans assume to be "immigrants" trying to actually live here! Once I salted enough away, back I went to Mexico! It's like the fabled American Dream, only reality and Mexican! Si, se puede!"

Anonymous:

It's interesting the first comment on this report was deleted because it called for Hector's prosecution for his crime. Censorship?

Yes, we bleeding hearts all forgive Hector but Hector still must face justice and pay for his crime.

We don't want a culture where criminals are exempted from the laws.


shirullzaman khan:

well much has been said already ....i think that i will wait for the next part to be written before i say anything regarding this artical ,

want ot se the clear picture first before commenting further on.

god bless you all

Hayden:

"was founded on the backs of men stolen from their families and cultures" . . .I assume this means slavery, which unfortunately - like the Holocaust is real and did happen. Can anyone say deportation? We need to strengthen our border presence by any means necessary. If we, as Americans, have to abide by the rules, then so should everyone else. We should not grant "special consideration" just because someone decides they want to come to America. All papers should be in order before granting assistance of any kind. If you lost your job and applied for any kind of benefits, you would be paperworked to death. I have no sympathy.

M.A. George:

"Ended up a drug runner . . ." Ended up? No volition on his part, no choices, just a matter of the passive voice. Ended up, like I ended up being 5'7". Ended up--what a cop out phrase.

Anonymous:

Statistics on illegal aliens:
The Heritage Foundation ^ | 10/25/06 | Robert Rector
The National Academy of Sciences has estimated that each immigrant without a high school degree will cost U.S. taxpayers, on average, $89,000 over the course of his or her lifetime.[3] This is a net cost above the value of any taxes the immi*grant will pay and does not include the cost of educating the immigrant’s children, which U.S. taxpayers would also heavily subsidize. In this way, the roughly six million legal immigrants without a high school diploma will impose a net cost of around a half-trillion dollars on U.S. taxpayers over their lifetimes

Crime Statisitcs
95% of warrants for murder in Los Angeles are for illegal aliens.
83% of warrants for murder in Phoenix are for illegal aliens.
86% of warrants for murder in Albuquerque are for illegal aliens.
75% of those on the most wanted list in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Albuquerque are illegal aliens.
24.9% of all inmates in California detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.
40.1% of all inmates in Arizona detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.
48.2% of all inmates in New Mexico detention centers are Mexican nationals here illegally.
29% (630,000) convicted illegal alien felons fill our state and federal prisons at a cost of $1.6 billion annually.
53% plus of all investigated burglaries reported in California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens.
50% plus of all gang members in Los Angeles are illegal aliens from south of the border.
71% plus of all apprehended cars stolen in 2005 in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California were stolen by Illegal aliens or "transport coyotes".
47% of cited/stopped drivers in California have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 47%, 92% are illegal aliens.
63% of cited/stopped drivers in Arizona have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 63%, 97% are illegal aliens.
66% of cited/stopped drivers in New Mexico have no license, no insurance and no registration for the vehicle. Of that 66%, 98% are illegal.
Birth Statistics
380,000 plus "anchor babies" were born in the U.S. in 2005 to illegal alien parents, making 380,000 babies automatically U.S.citizens.
97.2% of all costs incurred from those births were paid by the American taxpayers.
66% plus of all births in California are to illegal alien Mexicans on Medi-Cal whose births were paid for by taxpayers.
Last Updated ( Friday, 20 July 2007 )

Considering the horrific illegal alien problem in this country- that costs us BILLIONS and brings in more violent crime, for our politicians to be pandering to the illegal aliens is SHAMEFUL!

Obama's speech to La Raza:

(La Raza (The Race), Largest Hispanic organization in the U.S.
Lobbies for racial preferences, bilingual education, stricter hate crimes laws, mass immigration, and amnesty for illegal aliens )

Obama said the recent Senate immigration debate "was both ugly and racist in a way we haven't see since the struggle for civil rights."
SHAMEFUL!


Obama told La Raza that the mass protests lately of for immigration rights of Mexicans is equal in greatness to the civil rights protest of the past!
SHAMEFUL!


Omama supports La Raza's, the "DREAM Act," which would mandate states to offer in-state tuition rates to illegal aliens -- thus providing them with benefits not available to U.S. citizens from other states, as well as amnesty and other atrocities. Obama urged Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign the Dream Act, a bill that would make illegal immigrant students who graduate from high school eligible for college aid. (Schwarzenegger vetoed a similar measure last year.)
SHAMEFUL!

Obama is currently displayed as banner boy on the Project Islamic Hope site. Some of the founders of this organization have been indicted for terrorist support.

SJ, Damascus, MD:

Joser: Might also explain why the government across the border is so corrupt if this is their hiring criteria.
--------------------------------
I don't think we need to look to the south of us -- all we have to do is look here in this country and see how many of our lawmakers are being indicted. Do you think, we have no corruption here?
REMEMBER: When you point a finger at someone, there is 3 pointed back at you.

Jeff:

That's right Dro, no one else has ever fallen on hard times except poor ole Dro. No one. Unless you are profiled by a doomed newspaper, you haven't fallen on hard times, or had a difficult life, or know what it's like to have to make tough decisions.

You are all bleeding heart morons.

Joser:

Interesting..... "Unexpectedly got his girlfriend pregnant", "ended up inadvertently running drugs", accidentally became "an accessory to murder", and now working for the Mexican government? Doesn't sound like NASA is going to take a resume from him in the near future. Sounds more like a "dark side" Forrest Gump. Might also explain why the government across the border is so corrupt if this is their hiring criteria. No sympathy here, however an increased feeling that we really need a barrier on our borders and controlled entry. Might not even hurt our Southern brethren to fix some of their own problems using that $100 a barrel oil money we keep sending their way.

SJ, Damascus, MD:

Thank you, DRO. We are quick to condemn an individual for a choice he/she made but here we are 20 years after Exxon/Valdez and we have finally made it to the Supreme Court. In another 15 years the Supreme Court will hear about Enron. These are the stories that we should truly condemn.
No one in this blog is supporting illegal activities but what should be celebrated is man's desire, yearning to come back to the 'correct' path.
Most of us who are Christians should know that the Bible tells us -- Judge not, least ye be judged.

DRo:

Thank you to Get a Global Perspective for your comments.

DRo:

P.S. I agree with SJ, Damascus, MD

BTW, I don't support illegal activities but I have also worked with many children/families who feel so disempowered and end up down a slippery slope. It sounds like for Hector, he recognized that this was not the person he ever hoped to be and broke the cycle. Let's hope many more people break this cycle and instead of condemning them, let's provide them with hope that THEY CAN!

get a global perspective!:

Did anyone read the washington post's article, "the dumbing of america?" Should be a requirement before writing some of these comments. I dare some of you hate and rage filled people to make a smart, analytical comment for once. Justifying your hatred because there's too many spanish speaking people in walmart is just plain ridiculous. This is a changing country (and has been for hundreds of years!), why don't you try to evolve with it. And this is coming from a rather 'waspy' 23 year old, so try not to hate that too. Nonetheless, your violent "shooting range" perspectives are outdated.

DRo:

Reading everyone's post is so darn scary...
1)1st of all, you all obviously have never been in a desperate situation wondering if you can feed/house your child/family. Judge not until you have walked in someone's shoes. It is not just illegal migrant workers that fall into this but just about any desperate poor person who feels that he/she has no other option. The system while better than most other countries is still fairly flawed.
2)Not everyone that speaks spanish is here illegally.
3)This country was founded on the principle of plurality. We are meant to represent the ultimate melting pot. It is this diversity that has made us the strong nation that we are. If we wanted to all be the same, we would not have fought as hard as we did to form this great nation. We are heading backwards now and it is mostly because we have FORGOTTEN our roots and what our founding fathers fought for.

You all sound like a bunch of intolerant ignorant unappreciative souls who would condemn and judge on little information. I hope that this is not where our country is headed.

I wish us all more tolerance, empathy, and understanding.

Jimmy:

I have every sympathy for the economic pressure that drove him across the border, but much less for his eventual choice of employment. There are countless others who work honest jobs, many of whom I employ...he is providing ammunition to the hate filled idiots over here when he chooses to be involved with a criminal enterprise. Con todo respecto...

Cecilia Bonifaz:

My only comment to Hector's story would be to put your hand on your heart and see his life with kindness and compassion. When we do something wrong, we suffer and loss our peace and tranquility. That's hell. When we treat our brothers with love and compassion, our hearts feel joy. That's heaven.

Seriously?:

What is wrong with you people? Y'all are crazy. Anyway a little Spanish is easy enough to learn if you have half a brain. Surely some people speaking it in the US is hardly a disaster.

SJ, Damascus, MD:

Father, OSA, SHARPE, CRAZYMONKEY1 AND FUNTRAVELADVENTURE
All of you are spouting off with nothing to compare Hector's situation to. All of you seem to be following the Republican mantra of hate and war-mongering.
Many moons ago, a wise man said: An eye for an eye only makes the whole world blind - Mahatma Gandhi.
So, please tone down the 5-second soundbite and appreciate man's propensity to survive, do bad, then do good and then ultimately finding himself. That is I believe the true story of this article. Have a wonderful day!

Garak:

So this guy will stoop to anything to make money. And he won't let the law get in the way, 'cause he's above it as a rugged individual.

Obviously a devotee of Ayn Rand and prime material for the Club For Growth.

Danny:

I think the US borders should be made KILLING ZONES I'm tired of going to Wal-Mart and finding everyone speaking Spanish?

Those caught residing in the United States illegally must be executed.

crazymonkey1:

So Hector is an Illegal Alien, drug peddler. Probably trying to push drugs to your daughter. I suppose he is one of the people hiding in the shadows that Obama and Hillary speak about.

junes_reston:

Hector was merely tapping into his entrepreneurial spirit to develop the skills necessary to work for the corrupt Mexican government upon his return.

As an illegal crosser turned drug runner, and accessory to murder, he developed the necessary skills to be a prime candidate for any mid- to high-level government position. How else could he learn to lie, cheat and steal with ease and aid and abet a murder in such short time while building his illegally gained fortune by poisoning children?

I’m sure the Mexican government is proud to bring Hector into the service of his country and will take all the necessary steps to protect him from extradition for his crimes in the US.

Dwight:

Judging a man on his actions is judging a man on his character. I noticed nobody mentioned the possibility of someone dying from the drugs he transported, making him liable for a feloney murder. what if he transported a bio-weopan or a nuke, would you still give him a pass? in the end, notice that what he did in America he did not do in mexico, why, becauses he loves mexico and we are just convienent fat cows to be slaughtered.

Diversity is our Strength:

Without diverse immigrants desiring to take the wealth of the United States for their own benefit, how else could we support the drug running jobs of third world immigrants?

It is mysterious that certain populations have created third world countries, while other groups have created first world countries. The reasons for this are unknown and cannot be spoken about, because all people are equal and identical. Surely it will cause no harm to mix these groups, and nothing will change if you add a bunch of uneducated 85 IQ people to a first world nation.

Therefore, we should invite the third world into the first world and nothing will be reduced in quality.

Our friend Hector can be given a job as a nuclear engineer and then he can finally be free to feed a family he otherwise cannot support. We need more third world people having children they cannot support because those children are the gems of the world.

Sharpe:

What an amazing amount of passive voice writing! Hector somehow ended up a drug runner, having fallen into the life unwittingly. It sounds more like catching a cold than choosing a lifestyle.

Nym:

MJF:
Yea they are. It's all about the rush they get from hating.

MJF:

And the rest of you stone-throwers: my God, are you proud of the fact that you have no empathy?

MJF:

@CG

"Caricature journalism"? News flash: this is a real person, and his story is valid and newsworthy.

I know many immigrants, documented and not, work hard and contribute positively to American society. I know a few such personally. I also know that many end up in lives of crime - and I want to know more about them, since I have no personal experience with them.

There's no such thing as a "typical" immigrant, just as there is no such thing as a typical person. We can only understand each person as we find them, as I desire to understand this man's life as much as I am able.

Bravo, Amar. I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Anonymous:

" A symptom of the human condition is that as we all act in our self-interest, guilt can be shared by all. Everyone should be judged, because we are all guilty."


And here is where socialism and religion collide.

Born sick, commanded to be well. and only the priests of the cult can tell you how. But first you must give them lots and lots of money and not ask questions.

We are not all guilty, idiot. Only those of us who use a child as an excuse to smuggle drugs. And those of us who blame the choice to become a criminal on people who had nothing to do with his choice.

CG:

Great caricature journalism. Focus on one of the few immigrant criminals that couldn't say no to a life a crime, yet his amigos, compadres, who all faced the same challenges somehow made the right choice isn't there a more compelling story there?

Osa:


Bear...

"America was founded on the backs of men stolen from their families and cultures"? Really? A reality check would help your observations, and a serious review of history would be helpful also.

fasterbob:

Headline should be HOW A DRUG CAN BE A FATHER ???

ANONYMOUS 2:

4x800 = 3200. Elementary arithmetic, please.

father:

BEAR,

You can't rationalize your way out of a crime.

What seperate a REAL man from cowards is that a REAL man takes responsibility for things he's done.

Most poverty stricken people don't go out and kill somebody. Hector is accessory to murder, so he must face justice.

We all make choices in life and we all must be accountable for the choices we made.

Vic van Meter:

First of all, bear, an American wouldn't say the government is full of "criminals mafia". It's an understandable mistake, but his context probably isn't American.

On America, most of our government is also full of criminals. Not career criminals in any sense, but most congressmen are guilty of DUIs, domestic abuse, or one random crime or another. A true career criminal would probably be exposed and be unelectable, but I suppose criminal activity and government work have a certain similarity.

In the end, the one thing missing from the article is whether or not that accessory to murder charge was prosecuted. And the drug charges. Obviously, if the man has paid for his mistakes, he is in the clear as far as that goes. If he has not, then he has committed crimes for which he shall never pay the penalty. That is especially chafing. Amar said he will be posting more of that later, so we'll see.

In the end, there is a plight of the underprivileged being lured into drugs because the more comfortable want something that is illegal. Using illegals makes this work easier to begin with because they are an easily exploitable labor source. There is no innocence here to be gleaned or justification for anyone. There is no justice in the murder, in moving drugs, in exploiting migrant workers, there are no innocent parties. A symptom of the human condition is that as we all act in our self-interest, guilt can be shared by all. Everyone should be judged, because we are all guilty.

But if you go through life guilty, you eventually can't function, so another symptom of the human condition is callousness.

Bear:

Father,

You are neither reading the article carefully nor taking the time to critically access what's being put forward. To talk about how "F* Up" another country is for the troubled of a governmental secretary when your own country, presumably America, was founded on the backs of men stolen from their families and cultures and which is currently reliant upon the labor of those who have illegally crossed over here to work in this country for below minimum wage and without health care is beyond hypocritical. Why is it that we in this country see crimes that harm a single person as worse than those which impact entire communities? How does one person's death rank as more important than the well being of hundreds or thousands? I am in no way saying that I approve of murder; but, at the same time, to harp on this man as an accessory to a crime we have not even been given the details of yet, when the corporate crimes and terrible living conditions for lower class citizens are seldom seriously addressed by our country, is a testament to our own ignorance and short-sightedness and not a serious assessment of the Mexican government.

Why must we judge people based not on their character and fortitude of the moment, but based on the troubled past of which they were forced into? When the majority of the people in prisons are poor populations, there are a couple of things we can glean. First, that the circumstances surrounding poverty increase the risk one has of committing what our society considers a crime. Second, it begs questioning of how we evaluate what is criminal and also the question of what crimes are commonly charged. Why is it that the proportional same amount of Cocaine and Crack-Cocaine carried drastically different prison sentences in California for years? It has nothing to do with the drug itself, as the drugs are derived from the exact same thing; it has to do with the consumers of those drugs. I hope that one day, in our society, we reach a level of equality where we wont have to worry about the unfortunate circumstances that some people have to endure in order to just survive. But, until we reach that day, we must remember that all men may be CREATED equal, but the circumstances surrounding that creation are still very much unbalanced.

Anonymous:

4x800 = 2400. Sent about half his monthly salary home.

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