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View Diary: AZ Republic says it's NOT about the borders (174 comments)

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  •  Are there any kidnappings? (5+ / 0-)

    This is a rumor I heard on Countdown with Keith Olbermann. Olbermann himself said it this past week. It was some little blurb about people in Phoenix being kidnapped by the drug cartels and being smuggled back to mexico for ransom. Does this actually happen or is this some paranoid farce that is being foisted upon the unknowing masses?

    "As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly."- Arthur Carlson

    by bobinson on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:49:25 AM PDT

      •  Interesting (8+ / 0-)

        It appears from that link that most of the kidnap victims are undocumented immigrants themselves, people who cannot pay the coyotes or who can be trapped in some way by their immigration status.

        Which brings up a question:  Is it better to simply deport everyone and let God sort it out, or is it better to address the actual problem, which is criminal gangs making money off of trafficking humans.  There's a difference between trafficking and smuggling.  Trafficking is the holding or transportation of persons against their will for purposes of work or some other financial gain. If someone signs on to a coyote and then can't get free, is kidnapped or forced to repay some huge debt under threat of force, then that is trafficking and not kidnapping.

        The US has laws against trafficking and a lot of experience dealing with this problem. The first rule?  Make it easy and safe for victims to get free, report the crime, and participate in the prosecutor's case.  If a woman is forced into prostitution, even if she voluntarily gets into sex work and is then forced in such a way that she cannot leave, the answer is not to throw her in jail, it's to make it easy for her to get out and come forward.

        The Arizona law is particularly bad because it conflates victims with criminals.  I know a thing or two about this as the non-profit I work for is involved in projects to assist victims of trafficking - which some of the kidnap victims in Arizona appear to be.  The new AZ law will actually make the situation worse.

        "Die Stimme der Vernuft ist leise." (The voice of reason is soft)

        by ivorybill on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:23:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  the article mentions this (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bobinson, cn4st4datrees

      but I could only use so much of their article.
      It's loaded with stats!

      What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?

      by Julie Gulden on Sun May 02, 2010 at 08:58:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  The obvious response (5+ / 0-)

      is to investigate and arrest the kidnappers.  The way to do that, presuming they are linked to narcotrafficantes, is to make it easy and worthwhile for undocumented witnesses to come forward with information.  It's not going to be possible to deport every "suspicious" Latino in Phoenix because many (most) are citizens, many of the gang members have the money to purchase good quality fake documents, and the US in all 49 other states places a priority on detaining and deporting immigrants with criminal convictions.

      So yes, there are kidnappings for ransom in Phoenix.  We need to improve our intelligence on the drug gangs, maybe revisit our strategy on the war on drugs, and we need to separate the criminals from the community and make it harder for them to function.  You don't accomplish any of that by putting fear in the heart of every undocumented Latino, and resentment in the heart of every Lation citizen or permanent resident.

      "Die Stimme der Vernuft ist leise." (The voice of reason is soft)

      by ivorybill on Sun May 02, 2010 at 09:14:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes, it's real (3+ / 0-)

      The Republic article explains that the reason violence in the border towns like Nogales is very low is because there are police and border patrol everywhere. Lots of law enforcement presence = little crime. They pass through quickly and quietly and go on to places like Phoenix where it's a somewhat more complicated situation.

      This is from the same article:

      "The border is as secure now as it has ever been," Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told a Senate panel last week.

      Given that level of security, Bermudez and others say, it is no wonder that cartel operatives pass through border communities as quickly as possible, avoiding conflicts and attention.

      In fact, violent-crime data suggest that violence from Mexico leapfrogs the border to smuggling hubs and destinations, where cartel members do take part in murders, home invasions and kidnappings.

      In Phoenix and Tucson, cartel-related violence is hardly new.

      In 1996, for example, Valley law-enforcement agents estimated that 40 percent of all homicides in Maricopa County were a result of conflicts involving Mexican narcotics organizations, mostly from Sinaloa state. A decade later, the Attorney General's Office exposed a $2 billion human-smuggling business based in metro Phoenix, where criminals often assaulted illegal aliens while holding them for payment of smuggling fees. More recently, cartel-related home invasions and abductions put Phoenix among the world leaders in kidnappings.

      So if you look only at the towns right on the border, which are very heavily policed, you get the idea that there is no problem at all. This is wrong. There is a problem, and the news media, republican politicians, and outside influences from white supremest groups with a national agenda are using the statistics of the high rate of kidnappings and home invasions to frighten the public into supporting the law and blaming washington politicians for "failing arizona" by not securing the border. The border towns are not experiencing it like they are in cities like Phoenix, but that doesn't mean there is no issue.

      The real problems are two main issues. One is the stupid drug war and marijuana prohibition. The reason we have violent drug cartels doing these things is because we are too dumb or weak willed to legalize it here. The other is that there is no viable path for people in Mexico to come here to work, so the drug smugglers also engage in human smuggling and trafficking, and so the issues are deeply intertwined.

      The new law is obviously not the correct response, but it's also not correct to simply write off the entire problem as a fabrication either.

      Sadly I don't believe that anyone, anywhere, really seems to have a clue what to do, or if they do then they do not have anywhere close to the political will or power to actually make the changes that might actually put a stop to this insanity.

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