Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kidnapping and Violence against Undocumented Immigrants

Phoenix is the kidnapping capital of the U.S.. Why are those of us in the area barely hearing about it? Because it's happening to undocumented immigrants and drug dealers, not to those considered "us" by the media and the authorities. Can you imagine what things would be like if mexicans were kidnapping white people here in phoenix? It would be quite a different attitude coming from the media and government officials. Of course they're worried that the drug-related violence, which is much worse in Mexico, will touch "us" soon enough, which is partly why they are throwing money into the drug war in Mexico. Notice the statement below about not one involving a "truly innocent victim" in the article called Human smuggling makes Phoenix kidnapping capital of U.S.
In the past year, there were 359 kidnappings in Phoenix, and not one was legitimate involving a truly innocent victim, said Mark Spencer, head of the union which represents more than 2,500 Phoenix police officers. He said all the kidnappings were connected to illegal immigration and the numbers may represent just the tip of the iceberg.

"The investigators up at the violent crimes bureau are estimating that this 359 represents just one-third of the reported kidnappings that take place in Phoenix," Spencer said.

Also view Napolitano's recent statements on putting more agents on the border.
"Every American has a stake in this," Janet Napolitano said in a phone interview with USA Today. "Violence on the border easily seeps into our communities. It also creates a fear in border communities that the rule of law doesn't apply anymore, and that's just unacceptable." (Source).

The kidnapping and associated violence are part and parcel of the underground economies which have resulted from the criminalization of drugs and unauthorized movement into the U.S.. Yet the police, such as sheriff Arpaio, use the kidnapping and violence as pretext to further terrorize undocumented immigrants. The police and homeland security are doing almost exactly what the kidnappers are doing: holding people against their will and profiting from it.

What do i mean they're profiting from it? Well, i intend to go into more detail in the future, but we can say for sure that someone is directly profiting from detaining immigrants. How about the "GEO Group, the nation's second largest prison company, [who] saw its earnings jump 29% over 2007," and other companies as detailed in How the Jailing of Migrants Drives Prison Profits.

The government is very afraid of the power and violence of the mexican drug cartels, though both profit from the criminalization of people and drugs. The Merida Initiative, also called "Plan Mexico" fits into the continuation of this profit-making, but adds a bit more control over the drug cartels.

"...according to human rights advocates, the plan prioritizes companies over people, lining the pockets of American defense contractors while putting both political dissidents and ordinary Mexican civilians at risk. Government documents leaked to the nonprofit Center for International Policy provide an idea of what the specifics of the plan will look like: more than half the funds would pay for technology and personnel to bolster the Mexican military's counternarcotics operations. The initiative would ignore the US's own involvement in the transport and sale of drugs" (Source).

I have only known of plan mexico for a couple months. Many people, despite criticizing the mexican government for corruption and human rights abuses, as well as criticizing the U.S. government for their unfair attitude towards immigrants, somehow have faith in this plan.

Rep. Ed Pastor, D-Ariz., who serves on the House Appropriations Committee, said he believes Congress will assess the program this spring.

"One of the things that we might be looking at is getting them more hardware such as helicopters," he said. "And there's a need for more training to help them stop the weapons that are smuggled south."

There is talk of Obama sending the national guard to the border, which Napolitano did in 2006.

I intend to discuss the drug war further in the future.

Note: There are some who say that the numbers regarding kidnappings in phoenix are inflated. I intend to look into this further.

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