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Full Circle

Day 227: Tijuana to San Diego, California

Michael Palin - Full CircleThe number of Border Patrol Agents has risen by forty-five per cent since Clinton was first elected in 1993. In an initiative called 'Operation Gatekeeper, set up two years ago, the law was toughened to include five- to twenty-year jail sentences for illegal re-entry, the fencing strengthened and Enforce, a new computerized processing system for IAs (illegal aliens) was set up. As Ron drives us to the frontier fence in the same white Bronco four-wheel drives we saw picking up the pollos yesterday, he admits that all this will never stop people trying to cross. 'Hell, if you can pick up four dollars an hour over here and four dollars a day over there. . .' His voice trails off.

Ron is against what some see as pressure to 'militarize' the border. He sees the role of the INS as control and deterrence not armed prevention. He accepts that as long as the work is there, the migrants will find ways of getting to it. 'We're just a Band-Aid. We can't stop the problem.'

Recently he apprehended a portable lavatory being carried up the highway on the back of a truck and found seventeen people inside. 'To us it was very serious,' says Ron. 'Those people had paid five hundred dollars apiece to be in that toilet.'
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PALIN'S GUIDES

  • Series: Full Circle
  • Day: 227
  • Country/sea: USA
  • Place: San Diego - California
  • Book page no: 296

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