Friday, January 14, 2011

Hispanic border control agents not a good idea?

Family loyalties tend to be strong among people from poor countries

A Border Patrol agent in San Diego was busted Tuesday for harboring illegal immigrants at his home – including his own dad. Marcos Gerardo Manzano Jr., 26, was arrested at the Imperial Beach Border Patrol Station after police and FBI agents staged an early morning raid at his home in San Ysidro and arrested Jose Alfredo Garrido-Morena, a suspected undocumented immigrant, NBC San Diego reported.

According to court documents, Garrido-Morena, 26, had been living at Manzano's house since November -- along with Manzano's 46-year-old pop, Marcos Gerardo Manzo Sr., who is wanted by the feds. The elder Manzano was not at the home at the time of the sunrise raid and is still on the run. He was busted on marijuana charges four years ago and twice deported to Mexico before sneaking back into the U.S., Fox San Diego reported.

Manzano Jr. is also charged with lying to federal investigators, who had asked him about his dad's whereabouts.

On Tuesday, a heavily armed SWAT squad, backed by Customs officers and Border Patrol forces, stormed Manzano Jr.'s home, where they arrested Garrido-Morena and also detained a second man and three women, Fox reported. "It looked like a movie. It was a big scene," neighbor Daniel Lazo told NBC. "Seems impossible. They were everywhere."

The second man and women, whose relationship to the Manzanos and Garrido-Morena was not clear, were released after questioning.

Manzano Jr. and Garrido-Morena were being held in a jail in downtown San Diego and scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.


Report finds immigration at heart of Chesapeake Bay woes

Environmentalists often get uncomfortable when asked if people - and their growing numbers - aren't the underlying problem in the Chesapeake Bay's decline.

Now comes a report that'll make everyone even more skittish, because it calculates that immigrants and their children accounted for two-thirds of the population growth in the bay's six-state watershed in the past decade. And in Maryland, they represented 98 percent - nearly all - of the state's increase in residents.

"The leading environmental groups dedicated (to) cleaning up the Bay recognize the harmful effects of population growth on the Bay but do not acknowledge that immigration is driving population growth in the watershed," says the report by the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

The Washington-based group says it's drawing a bead on the Chesapeake because the Bay's woes are "symptomatic of the impact that immigration-driven population growth is having across the United States. The difference is that the population in the Bay's watershed has already grown beyond the carrying capacity of that ecosystem.

"The question is not whether the Bay is going to suffer the consequences of excessive growth," it goes on. "The question is whether the Bay can recover from the immense damage already inflicted upon it."

There's no question that people - and their demands for food, energy, housing and transportation - are at the heart of the Bay's woes. The chemical fertilizer and manure fouling the waters are produced by or for people. The bay cleanup effort to date has managed to make only patchy gains in the face of an ever-increasing population - 17 million now, with 150,000 more every year. Longtime author and journalist Tom Horton has written an Abell Foundation report looking at the impact growth has had on the Bay.

FAIR is using the Bay to push its national advocacy for a stricter crackdown on illegal immigration, and for reduced levels of legal immigration as well. It's an emotional issue, because many American families can trace their lineage to foreign shores, and the United States has a long tradition of drawing people here from other countries in search of greater freedom or economic opportunity.

Environmental activists, while acknowledging population's impact, often say there are other things, more in the control of the region's residents, for reducing the impacts the current and future residents that could be done before tackling the thorny issue of immigration reform. Such as Smart growth, for example, getting everyone to reduce their individual environmental footprint.

What do you think? Is immigration a problem for the Bay, much less THE problem? Would limiting entry to this country, legally or illegally, help repair the Chesapeake? Even if you think it might, would wading into the political minefield of national immigration policy tear apart the already fragile coalition of people and groups working on the current cleanup effort?


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