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The Alien Transfer Exit Program Drops Immigrants on the Other Side of the Country

The Los Angeles Times has a story on what happens to some immigrants who are caught illegally crossing the U.S. border. They are not detained, nor are they released right back to where they came from:

Luis Montes slipped across the Rio Grande and had started crawling through a field when a U.S. Border Patrol agent nabbed him. It was a Saturday and the 32-year-old illegal immigrant figured that by Sunday he would be deported back to Mexico, where he would promptly try again to cross into Texas.

Instead, Montes was put on a plane, flown halfway across the country and bused to the California-Mexico border. At 2 a.m. Tuesday, U.S. border authorities took off his handcuffs and escorted him to a gate leading to the desert city of Mexicali.

Montes was back in Mexico, but about 1,200 miles away from where he started.

"This is a great surprise," Montes said as he slipped on his shoes at the dimly lit border crossing

The policy is called the Alien Transfer Exit Program. It's been in effect since 2008, but has been used much more frequently this year. It's supposed to disable human smuggler rings and discourage deportees from instantly re-trying a border crossing. It also leaves people in completely unfamiliar surroundings where they may be vulnerable to crime. 

In spite of policies like this and anti-immigration triumphs, such as the one reported on by Tate Watkins below, the Obama administration is still pleading that they're more humanitarian in their deportations. But as Mike Riggs recently wrote, changing a policy does not suddenly help every immigrant whose status is up in the air.

The Washington Post reports on President Obama's recent, cranky-sounding efforts to retain some of his 2008 Latino support:

During the roundtable, Obama defended his administration’s record on deportations, arguing that the government was focused on deporting illegal immigrants who have criminal records and not those who abide by the country’s laws and are contributing positively to society.

“The statistics are actually a little deceptive because what we’ve been doing is with the stronger border enforcement we’ve been apprehending folks at the borders and sending them back,” Obama said. “That is counted as a deportation, even though they may have only been held for a day or 48 hours, sent back. . . .So what we’ve tried to do is within the constraints of the laws on the books, we’ve tried to be as fair, humane, just as we can, recognizing, though, that the laws themselves need to be changed.

Obama pleaded that he can't reform immigration law by himself. Congress needs to be on his side, especially Republicans. Much of the GOP disagrees with GOP presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry on his supposed soft (hearted) stance on immigration. Perry, to his credit, expressed disapproval over the Alien Exit Transfer Program back in 2009. He seems to have done so because he was worried about Texans and American tax payers, however.

Immigration critics could say hey, at least a policy like this might work! Indeed, the LA Times story says "U.S. officials said only about one-quarter of immigrants deported through the program are encountered again trying to cross the border."

But also in the Times story; Luis Montes, who paid $2,300 to smugglers for his aborted crossing attempt and had to have his wife wire him money for food when he ended up 1000 miles from home, has the last word: "'If someone is committed to crossing, this only makes it a little more difficult,' he said."

In related news, recent stories about drug smugglers who pack marijuana into slightly smaller bundles so it can fit through a chunk of border fence have been a nice, concise demonstration of the utter futility of trying to stop people or goods from moving where they will.

Reason on immigration. 

Lucy Steigerwald is a journalist whose work has appeared in such publications as Playboy, The American Conservative, Vice, The Daily Beast, and The Washington Post. Previously, she worked as an associate editor for Reason and as a freelance editor for the New York Observer. She is currently a contributing editor at Antiwar.com.

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  • ||

    If you're poor and need to travel from eastern Mexico to western Mexico or vice versa, this sounds like a great way to get Uncle Sam to pick up the tab. You even get to fly!

  • ||

    I thought the exact same thing. I wonder if they give Canadians the same treatment. I know some brokeass Vancouver hippies who'd love a free flight to Montreal. They'd probably take them to Regina or Winnipeg instead though, just out of spite.

  • ||

    Seriously, Canadians should be able to cross the border at will. Americans and Canadians are best buddies--it's ridiculous that we have anything other than a porous border.

  • ||

    I've always thought of Canadians as just a blander version of suburban American whites...who put gravy on french fries.

  • Hugh Akston||

    And that's why we don't have an open border with Canada.

    I don't know about you, but I don't want some pale-skinned frostback getting drunk on Molson and Kraft Dinner and luring my daughter astray with absurdist humour and Barenaked Ladies records.

  • ||

    I resemble that remark! But it would be Alexander Keith's not Molson

  • ||

    Represent, PantsFan. I will cop to enjoying a little ketchup with my KD as a child, a la this classic KITH sketch.

  • ||

    Even open-border types like me have their limits.

  • ||

    Pretty much. Or, at least, that's a pretty good description of every single Canadian I've ever met or seen.

  • ||

    Why don't you want the unemployed, drug-addled youths of Canada to have the same access to US government-sponsored oppression free flights that Mexicans get, ProL?

  • ||

    I know, but I just can't really accept Canadians as non-citizens.

  • ||

    Yeah, it would keep them from getting good medical care.

  • SIV||

    Land mines, claymores, robot machine guns and regular A-10 Warthog patrols will keep those seal-clubbing,maple-tapping, beaver trapping motherfuckers on their frozen side of the borderline.

  • ||

    "U.S. officials said only about one-quarter of immigrants deported through the program are encountered again trying to cross the border."

    So they only catch 25% again. How many of the other 75% made it across without getting caught the second time. (And how many of those 25% will make it on the third try?)

  • ||

    lulz total wingnutz racist

    whi do u hat mexxicanz

  • ||

    It's supposed to disable human smuggler rings and discourage deportees from instantly re-trying a border crossing. It also leaves people in completely unfamiliar surroundings where they may be vulnerable to crime.

    Maybe they shouldn't illegally cross the boarder if they don't want to suffer that fate?

    We don't give defrauders and rapists free rides to a nice neighborhood when we let them out of prison, so I'm unclear on why we should be so accommodating for other types of lawbreakers.

  • Hugh Akston||

    We don't give defrauders and rapists free rides to a nice neighborhood when we let them out of prison, so I'm unclear on why we should be so accommodating for other types of lawbreakers.

    Well, fraud and rape harm people, for one thing.

  • ||

    Fine, replace it with drug dealers and counterfeiters. You guys are impossible to argue with because you fixate on irrelevancies.

  • ||

    so mexxicanz r the same as rapits

    n i thout that soconz wer bad

  • ||

    it's called ILLEGAL immigration for a reason. Perhaps you've heard of it, despite your best efforts at presenting yourself as a Democrat.

  • ||

    Because it wastes a bunch of money for little to no gain?

    Because illegal immigrant =/= rapist?

  • ||

    I RAPE THE WOMEN THAT AMERICAN YETIS WON'T.

  • ||

    DEY TERK ER RAPES!!!!

  • BakedPenguin||

    We don't give defrauders and rapists free rides to a nice neighborhood when we let them out of prison,

    Hmmm... Illegal immigrants, defrauders and rapists.

    ♫ One of these things is not like the other, ♫ one of these things does not belong...

  • ||

    You get my respect for responding in Sesame Street song. You get my love for adding those musical notes.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Awesome! Take that losers, I got the Steigy-love!

  • ||

    Now you're just pandering.

    (I like it.)

    (You also said something awesome earlier today, but I have lost track of it.)

  • BakedPenguin||

    Damn, it's been a good day for me! I need to keep the same diet or something -

    ...and I'm really starting to like the new girl in town. (More pandering!)

  • ||

    Meh. I got more than that from rather.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Yikes. I hope there's a cream for that.

  • Slap the Enlightened!||

    Maybe they shouldn't illegally cross the boarder if they don't want to suffer that fate?

    How 'bout it? My take is that when you're busted some place you have no business to be, doing something you have no business to be doing, it's a good time to shut your fat mouth about your "rights". That's where my sympathy ends.

  • ||

    And you have no business being around people who don't fuck their relatives(or livestock). So, why not shut your fat mouth, and get back to your little white trash nationalist party you prissy little cunt?

    Thx.

  • ||

    capitol,
    then stop fucking your relatives and livestock, if you can tell the difference.

  • ||

    Think up something original, slappy's bitch.

    Now fuck off, trash, 'til you come up with something.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Hey Slappy, when did the American 3rd Reich retool its website to carefully exclude any overt references to dirty non-whites?

    Maybe I'm missing some of the dog whistles, but it seems like there is a danger of your inbred white power troglodyte base missing out on the heart of the message.

  • ||

    Their mission statement link was changed, but remains surprisingly the same.

    "The American Third Position Party believes that government policy in the United States discriminates against white Americans, the majority population, and that white Americans need their own political party to fight this discrimination."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Ha ha! I once played bass for a punk band called Heterosexual Liberation Army.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Oh shit, I totally missed that. Forgive me for doubting you Slappy. Your message is as pure as your heritage, untainted by the influence of anyone who isn't related to you by blood.

  • ||

    Do they still have the banner prominently displaying the historic fucktard Charles 'The Jews Stole My Baby' Lindbergh?

  • ||

    Hey everybody! It's Slappy! Hey Slappy! How ya doin'!?

  • ||

    SLAPPY!!

  • ||

    Oh hooray, another chance for the anti-immigration idiots to start saying idiotic things.

    Someone posted a link to this on another thread (my apologies to original poster- too lazy to go check) It is a WSJ blog post that notes that US citizens make up 94% of food stamps recipients. So, wherever these bad, bad lawbreakers that give some of you the vapors are going, it's apparently not on the dole.

  • ||

    so you're complaining that only 6% of food stamp recipients are NOT US citizens? This is why a large part of the country looks at libertarians as the kooky uncle in the attic.

  • ||

    US denies plans for selective fencing on Canada Border
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com.....le2184300/

  • ||

    What the fucking fuck? A related Globe and Mail article linked there says Obama wanted to charge Canadians a FEE to enter the US (via plane or boat only, but still). I really hate that motherfucker.

  • ||

    When he pitched "CHANGE!", an amazing number of people presumed "for the better" with no evidence at all.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Jesus. So much for the longest undefended border in the world. Such a nice way to treat your largest trading partner and closest ally.

  • Hugh Akston||

    You mean John Candy? I hate to break it to you, dude, but he's dead.

  • BakedPenguin||

    So... so... there won't ever be an Uncle Buck II?

    **sniff**

  • ||

    Canada didn't support us in Iraq IIRC.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Exactly. Exactly...

  • ||

    'If someone is committed to crossing, this only makes it a little more difficult,' he said."

    Well, exactly. We only want the truly committed immigrants, not the ones that only kinda want to be here.

    Maybe we should keep doing this, only inside our own borders. Drop them off at a randomly selected city. Like a great recipe for melting pot stew. Add immigrants; stir thoroughly; enjoy.

  • ||

    Maybe we should keep doing this, only inside our own borders. Drop them off at a randomly selected city. Like a great recipe for melting pot stew. Add immigrants; stir thoroughly; enjoy.

    This is already pretty much I.C.E. policy for resettling refugees.

  • ||

    Can someone explain to me why anyone walks across the desert or climbs a fence?

    Can't you just pose as someone who is going shopping and drive across the border? Don't millions of people a year enter the U.S. from Mexico legally?

    I know that not everyone has a car, passport (and visa?) but having a smuggler supply paperwork and a drive has got to be cheaper than the thousands of dollars I read people pay to get brought in through the desert.

    And I assume if you get turned back at the border, that's all there is to it. They can't be dragging people out of their cars and detaining them at the entry points, right? They just tell you to turn around. Much safer than walking through the middle of nowhere.

    There's something I just don't understand.

  • ||

    Every time I cross the border at Mexicali/Calexico I wonder what kind of smuggler I'd make. My trunk could hold 2 adults and a child and my car has never been searched.

  • ||

    People in your trunk would make the car ride low in the back. The border agents would notice that and search you.

  • ||

    Good point.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I've actually thought about that. They could be driven to near the border, walk over it, go to a grocery in the US, and be picked up there for the end point.

    I'd heard mules were getting paid $1k a pop. I might have even tried it when I was seriously poor, but I didn't have the balls to go driving around in Northern Mexico or to try to find potential prospects without a better knowledge of Spanish.

  • ||

    What's the maximum penalty for human smuggling anyway?

  • ||

    That's the way most illegal immigrants enter the US. They just stroll up to the border, lie to the Customs guy and say they are only staying the weekend, and stroll on in. Then they just never go back.
    The only ones who need to pay a coyote or swim the river are the ones who have already been caught or are criminals who would be denied a visitor visa.

  • ||

    Is visa-free travel to the US from Mexico permitted?

  • SIV||

    It also leaves people in completely unfamiliar surroundings where they may be vulnerable to crime.

    Like illegally crossing the border?

  • ||

    No, like being mugged. You know, a crime that has a victim.
    Are you familiar with the concept?

  • SIV||

    Yeah, but there are a whole lot of crimes that don't have victims.The government invents new ones nearly every day. Hell you can get life in prison for some victimizes crimes in this country

  • ||

    "Yeah, but there are a whole lot of crimes that don't have victims."
    So you're down with that?

  • SIV||

    New here?

  • ||

    "New here?"
    No, I'm not.
    Care to answer the question?

  • ||

    Hey, SIV! Are you stupid here?

  • ||

    Counterfeiting, bribery, and perjury in support of a criminal defendant don't have victims. You think those aren't crimes?

  • ||

    "Counterfeiting, bribery, and perjury in support of a criminal defendant don't have victims."

    Really?
    You should try something other than lying to support a POV.

  • ||

    None of the actions I mentioned directly harms anyone. There are people who are indirectly harmed by those three crimes, but there are people who are indirectly harmed by illegal immigration too. So if you weaken the definition of "victim" to produce victims of counterfeiting and bribery, there are victims of illegal entry too.

  • ||

    "None of the actions I mentioned directly harms anyone"

    Your bullshit shovel is getting a workout, isn't it?

  • ||

    For instance, suppose the Capitol needs major plumbing work done on its washrooms. Two plumbing companies come forward and offer to do the work, but only company A slips an envelope with $5000 into its bid proposal before handing it to the Capitol Maintenance Service director. When Company A gets the job and Company B doesn't, what are you going to say that makes Company B into a victim?

    I bet it's going to be equivalent to "Dey terk ur jerbs!"

  • ||

    "I bet it's going to be equivalent to "Dey terk ur jerbs!""

    Of course you would!
    Yes, bribery is a crime with victims, including Company B.
    Is that clear?

  • ||

    Losing out on a job to someone else makes you a victim?

  • ||

    "Losing out on a job to someone else makes you a victim?"
    When it was done via bribery, yes.
    Lost your moral compass, did you?

  • ||

    So missing out on a job makes you a victim if it happened because of something sevo doesn't like. If it happens because of something sevo does like, then tough shit.

  • ||

    And in any case, I didn't choose a good example here because there is a clear party that's harmed in the bribery example. Good luck finding a victim in the case of counterfeiting, for instance.

  • ||

    I think that actually producing the fake bills should be covered by the first, but attempting to pass them off is clearly fraud and should be prosecuted(like passing bad checks).

  • ||

    It's a victimless crime, like punching someone in the dark.

  • Speaking of Marijuana||

    Shit of Pot Seeds . . .

    Too stoned to realize this terrible mistake*
    You have swallowed and now it's far too late.
    This impulsive fool brought on the wretched stool
    Causing only crippling pain, these dreadful seeds remain.
    Guts begin to ache, how much more can you take?
    As your brain begins to bake, constipation now sets in.

    [Chorus:]
    Constipation, intestinal regurgitation,
    Rectal prolapse takes effect in all anal annihilation,
    Degradation, embarrassing situation,
    Marijuana bursting forth, internal germination.
    Intestines, swelling, burning, rotting, hurting hell,
    Flatulence.
    Shit, shit of pot seeds,
    Shit, shit, shit, shit, shit of pot seeds,
    Heinous loss of control, dripping anus, shredded asshole.
    Slime of butchered butthole which was torn from the inside out.
    Shit of pot seeds.

    Piles of seeds, your death they need, ever exiting to grow healthy.
    Sick milky spray without delay, explosive brown array.
    Frantically clawing your way to a bathroom, your colon is stretching, tearing apart,
    Rectum is blownout, a spectacular display of cannabis sativa bowel movement botany.
    Seeds are pouring out amidst the blood and greasy feces.
    Hitting your brains without a doubt, the only thing solid is Maryjane's grain.

    [Repeat Chorus:]

    Eternity of filthy feces,
    Toilet bowl filled with wretched nug dook.

    The big problem is that this is what drug warriors believe happens.

  • David E. Gallaher/Ruthless||

    It's not for nothing black markets have the name "black." They are evil.
    And which government genius decided humans should be illegal?

  • ||

    It's not for nothing black markets have the name "black." They are evil.

    RACI....eh, I give up.

  • ||

    Wouldn't someone dropped off in an unfamiliar place be MORE likely to try to cross again? I mean, either way, he's got a hell of a long trip. Why not just try the northern route?

  • ||

    And if they get caught crossing again they get a free flight back home.

  • ||

    You expect the government to understand the concept of 'perverse incentives'?

  • ||

    Was that a Cheech and Chong movie where the Mexicans purposely get deported so that they can get free fare to a wedding in Mexico?

  • ||

    Good point. We should drop them in Tierra Del Fuego instead.

  • ||

    Who?

  • ||

    Everyone.

  • ||

    Ay yi yi, what a bunch of stupidity!

    One commenter is glad that only 6% of welfare recipients aren't US citizens?

    And illegal immigration has no victims? You mean like clogged roads, overburdened emergency rooms that force hospital closures?

    Right. Because an extra and uncounted for 10% of a city's population will have no effect at all. None. Nope. Not at all. Yet somehow I'm to believe that the Patriot Act will ruin my life any day now. But droves of residents who have no civic accountability at all is completely victimless? Yeah, right.

    How about the fact that leftwing politicians use your quasi-retarded, laughably naive open borders mentality to raise taxes and create more govt. programs all in the name of compassion for undocumented workers?

    Which type of pol is more likely to be open borders? A conservative or a lefty? Then ask why? Why is that?

    Mmm, maybe it's because the lefty pols use the issue as a way to expand expand expand govt.? And you morons buy into it.

    Who's for more govt.? Those who wish to stop illegal immigration? Or those who wish to give illegal immigrants all sorts of taxpayer funded goodies, like the DREAM act?

    You wanna live in the US? Fine. Fill out the paperwork, prove who you are and pay a fee.

  • ||

    You wanna live in the US? Fine. Fill out the paperwork, prove who you are and pay a fee.

    I must admit, you had me going there.

    But nice to see you're for open borders in the end.

  • ||

    @Cow

    Citation please.

  • ||

    You wanna live in the US? Fine. Fill out the paperwork, prove who you are and pay a fee.

    If only it was that easy.

  • ||

    Hey, Cow? Yeah, you just proved you have no idea how immigration works. I agree that immigrants should be documented, but it's almost impossible to immigrate from an impoverished country to the US.

  • ||

    This is funny shit. We could really fuck with them and have the Navy dump them in Cancun or Cozumel.

  • ||

    Ok, so when America opens her borders will Mexico do the same? Will I be able to get a job in Mexico? Will my kids get free education at their public schools? Will I enjoy the wonders of their public hospitals? No? Then f-ck open borders!

  • ||

    Do you think the same about free trade?

  • ||

    Heck no, enter Mexico illegally and they won't just deport you they'll toss your butt in jail for a couple years first, then deport you.

  • ||

    1) He probably thinks the same about free trade

    2) Why does it matter if "other countries do(n't) do it?!?!"

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