"As Border Woes Strain Arizona, U.S. and Mexico Talk"

The NYT reports on the illegal alien situation in Arizona. As you read the excerpt, consider this astonishing fact: in FY2002, just 13 (thirteen) companies were fined for immigration violations. (source)

Now, here's the excerpt:

...In recent months, there has been an eruption of illegal immigration and related violence in Arizona, and with it has come a realization by federal officials: no matter how many hundreds of thousands of migrants they catch and send back over the border, many will return time and again unless the government finds better ways to keep them out of the country and out of harm's way.

Officials from Mexico and the United States began meeting last week in Mexico City on a plan to repatriate Mexican border crossers by sending them deep into their country, closer to their hometowns, rather than simply returning them near the border.

American and Mexican officials agreed in February to explore the repatriation plan, which is similar to a program that was scrapped in the mid-1990's. Though Mexico had resisted the idea in recent years, American officials saw the willingness to reconsider the plan partly as a sign of good will in response to President Bush's recent call for a temporary worker program. However, officials made clear that there were still potentially major issues involving logistics and financing [in English: Mexico wants more of our money --LW] to be worked out and that some issues remained off limits.

"We would never allow someone to be sent back to their hometown if they didn't agree to it," said a Mexican diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity because the negotiations were continuing. "The program has to be voluntary. That issue is not even on the table."

Asa Hutchinson, an under secretary in the Department of Homeland Security, said that American officials were committed to the repatriation idea and that "if it has to be voluntary, we'll make it work..."

While most other parts of the southern border have had a decline in illegal crossings, Arizona has recorded a 34 percent jump in the past six months. Federal officials say tightened security in areas like Southern California and Texas has pushed smuggling rings to Arizona, which now accounts for about 40 percent of all illegal entries. The shift to Arizona has brought with it a sharp increase in violent extortions and drug seizures as well as the deaths of dozens of migrants left in the desert, law enforcement officials say...

Once again: in FY2002, just 13 (thirteen) companies were fined for immigration violations.