Jerry Seper, Washington Times, May 9, 2006
U.S. law-enforcement authorities and elected officials in Arizona say large numbers of migrants now flooding into the United States are hoping to cash in on what they perceive as an amnesty program if they can establish residence and a work record in this country.
These migrants are bolstered by the much-publicized debate in Congress over immigration reform and “guest workers” — and by the millions of pro-immigration and pro-amnesty supporters who defiantly have rallied in cities throughout the United States.
The Border Patrol has reported a 6 percent increase in the number of apprehensions of illegal aliens along the 1,951-mile U.S.-Mexico border since Oct. 1, with more than 724,600 illegals arrested. That’s more than 4,000 arrests a day.
More than half of those arrests have taken place in Arizona, mostly over a long-established alien-smuggling corridor that begins in Altar, Mexico, 60 miles south of this Sonoran border town, and runs northbound through the desolate Altar Valley in Arizona, southwest of Tucson.
Looking to make connections along State Highway 86 and Interstate 10, the illegals already have paid their fees during negotiations in Altar, where they also bought water, food, backpacks and other supplies.
Arizona state Rep. Russell Pearce, Republican chairman of the House Appropriations Committee and a longtime proponent of increased immigration enforcement by the federal government, said he thinks the recent rise in illegal-alien traffic may be as high as 20 percent, based on what U.S. Border Patrol field agents have told him.
“Absolutely the numbers are way up, nobody denies that,” Mr. Pearce told The Washington Times in an interview Thursday. “And the draw is the promise of a guest-worker program or amnesty now being debated in Washington. These people are expecting to be rewarded for breaking the law, and Congress wants to go along with it.”