Friday, October 26, 2007

Fire slows the flow of Illegals but they come all the same!...


Flames Change Dynamic On U.S. Border

Fewer Places To Hide, But Smugglers Think That With Guards Busy, Perhaps Less Need To Hide

A U.S. Border Patrol agent scans the hillside for paths used by illegals crossing into the U.S. – trails usually hidden by vegetation but now easy to see, as a result of a wildfire near Dulzura, Calif., October 23, 2007. (AP
Road closures due to the fire meant migrants could not meet drivers, Mahler said. Typically, migrants pay about $1,500 each to be guided through rugged canyons for hours, even days, and be picked up by someone at a roadside checkpoint for the drive to San Diego.

Many illegal immigrants appeared to heed the advice of the Border Patrol and the Mexican government, aired on television and radio in Tijuana, Mexico, to stay away from the fires. The Border Patrol radio was unusually quiet Tuesday. Its motion sensors laced throughout the canyons, which escaped damaged, did not set alarms.

Some illegal immigrants, however, took the risk.

About 50 migrants have surrendered to the Border Patrol since the fires began Sunday, fearing for their safety. One was seriously burned Monday when he and five others sought help from firefighters and they were all taken to a San Diego hospital, according to the Mexican consulate in San Diego. No deaths have been reported.

Some of the six migrants who were rescued by firefighters Monday told Mexican authorities that smugglers convinced them the Border Patrol would be distracted, said Alberto Lozano, a spokesman for the Mexican consulate in San Diego.

"The smugglers see the opportunity," Joe Mason, a Border Patrol field operations supervisor, said as his truck wound through the bald canyons. "They figure there's a good chance that the Border Patrol's not around."
About 200 of the 600 National Guard troops who normally help patrol California's border with Mexico also were reassigned to assist with fires further north.
That left the steep hills on the border relatively unattended, and some illegal immigrants apparently took advantage. There was a trail of fresh footprints through one ash-blanketed canyon Tuesday. 

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