Immigration: The part that gets me is the arrogance which open border advocates like the Dallas Morning News and the people in this article just go about illegals being so common that enforcing laws would be so wrong.
|CACTUS, Texas - He's known in this Panhandle outpost by an unofficial, yet majestic title: El presidente de Cactus.
His two-story, Spanish villa - looking over blocks of town-center shanties - is often called the White House. His portfolio includes the town's only grocery and laundry, at least 18 rental properties and a 575-acre ranch nearby.
It was little more than 30 years ago that Luis Aguilar slipped into this country from Mexico, eventually using a fake name, license and Social Security card to land a job at this town's sprawling beef packing plant. A decade later, he was in the right place at the right time when federal immigration reform granted him amnesty and put him on the path to citizenship.
Now, as mayor and arguably the most affluent - and influential - resident in town, he not only rents rooms and sells groceries to a new generation of illegal immigrants, but he also is paid to place them in jobs.
"I'm working like those guys are working," said the native from the state of Chihuahua. "I am helping them make money for their families. I worked just like that."
An hour's drive north of Amarillo, Cactus has an official population of 2,538. But realistically, it's closer to 5,000, and officials here estimate that three of every four residents are illegal immigrants, drawn by work in feedlots or the $11-plus hourly wages at the Swift & Co. plant.|
I think this is enough information for the Feds to work with and send in people enforce immigration laws. The mayor rules this place like his own city-state.
|The mayor and Cactus police Sgt. Stewart Moss don't seem to agree on much. But they both recognize this pattern.
"For fun ... (we) really don't have much fun here," Aguilar said. "Just work."
"Drink," added Moss.
"Drink and work," agreed Aguilar.
The cruising along Center Drive is straight out of "American Graffiti." Cars and trucks inch along in a bumper-to-bumper processional. They hope to see and be seen.
"That's the only fun they got," Aguilar said. "If you got stopped just for that ... fun is over."
"Don't you get tired of cleaning the beer bottles out from in front of the Laundromat?" Moss asked.
"Not at all," the mayor replied. "I sell it. So what the hell?"|
The main place of employment is a piece of work.
|Casey Williams, a leader in the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 540, said union officials and employee safety monitors meet with the company weekly to discuss plant safety.
"We hardly get any calls to go to Swift for injuries," said Theron Park, the county hospital administrator. "My impression is they have a pretty comprehensive safety program."
Still, it's difficult to know precisely what goes on inside the plant.
Swift declined requests for interviews with its Cactus chief and to visit the facility. And most workers don't want to be noticed, much less interviewed, for fear of losing their jobs or being deported.
"It's a scary thing to be undocumented," said Lydia Hernandez, an immigration counselor at Catholic Family Services Inc. in Amarillo, "because you don't know who's your friend."
Those agreeing to speak describe difficult conditions.
One man employed by a plant contractor describes an almost feudal existence endured by many illegal immigrant workers.
"They are overworked," said the man, who agreed to speak only on condition of anonymity. "I see it every day. They are working them like crazy."|
The police chief can't do jack.
Job: Cactus police chief
His story: Mr. Turley, who has been chief about three years, thinks the problems of Cactus – from document fraud to illicit drugs and prostitution – have grown beyond his control. A mill peddling forged documents was found operating next door to his home.
He says: "We are castigated by the community at large for trying to enforce anything because we are in a community that [is] 99 percent Hispanic, and they want to run the government like they are running it in Mexico." |