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Material 4

Zweifel an der Reform

Es ist halb acht an einem normalen Wochentag in diesem kleinen Ort an der Grenze zu Mexiko. Während die meisten die Tische nach dem Abendessen säubern, fangen Ramiro De Anda und Leo Laural an zu arbeiten. Ausgerüstet mit Taschenlampen, Nachtgläsern, Pistolen und Handschellen springen die beiden in den Ford Bronco und fahren der untergehenden Sonne entgegen. Laurel, 51, arbeitet seit 27 Jahren an der line, wie die Grenze genannt wird. "Anfangs dachte ich, ich könnte die Welt verändern. Aber jetzt sehe ich die Realität."

Während der Kongress die Anzahl der Grenzpolizisten auf etwa 10.000 nahezu verdoppelt und die Rückführung illegaler Einwanderer beschleunigt, sind die beiden Polizisten der Meinung, die Regierung könne eine Million Grenzbeamten einsetzen, die Einwanderung würde nicht enden. Das Problem liegt ihrer Meinung nach darin, dass auch die neuen Gesetze keine Strafen für die Unternehmer vorsehen, die illegale Arbeiter beschäftigen. "Sie finden einen Job als Tellerwäscher, der mehr Lohn einbringt als ein Job in der High-Tech-Industrie in Mexiko. Man kann die illegalen Einwanderer den ganzen Tag lang fangen und zurückbringen, sie kommen immer wieder.

Reymundo Sanchez, 30, einer von denen, die in dieser Nacht gefasst worden sind, sagt, er hat zu Hause in Mexiko keine Arbeit gefunden, fürchtet die amerikanischen Gesetze aber weniger als den Hunger in der Heimat. Nachdem seine Identität festgestellt worden ist, beobachten die beiden Polizisten, wie er und die anderen über die internationale Brücke nach Hause gehen. "Es hat keinen Sinn. Morgen kommen sie wieder.", sagt Laurel.


Erkläre dieses Schild, das man im Süden Kaliforniens häufig sieht.

  • Das Bild zeigt ein Verkehrsschild, auf dem drei rennende Menschen abgebildet sind. Darüber steht "Caution".

Doubts about the reform

McALLEN, Texas (AP) - It's 7:30 on a weeknight in this town along the Mexican border, and while most families are clearing away the dinner dishes, Ramiro De Anda and Leo Laurel are leaving for work. Armed with flashlights and binoculars, pistols and handcuffs, the two men hop in a Ford Bronco and head toward the dimming sun. 'I'm ready to rock 'n' roll!' hoots De Anda, who at 42 has been a Border Patrol agent for 13 years. He has been back in the field for only four months now, after eight years preparing cases against aliens and smugglers.
At 51, Laurel is the veteran of the pair. He has worked all of his 27 years with the Border Patrol on the line, as it's called, and grins sardonically at his partner's enthusiasm. 'When I was at his time in, I thought I could change the world,' Laurel says. 'Now I see the reality.' As Congress finishes work on legislation that would nearly double the size of the Border Patrol to about 10,000 agents and speed the deportation of aliens, law officers on the front line doubt the extra manpower will stop the men and women they see every night from illegally entering the United States. 'They could put a million agents on the border, and it wouldn't stop immigration,' Laurel says. 'It's an economic thing. They've got nothing to lose.' Even De Anda, the optimist, agrees that this latest effort won't work. The main problem is that the legislation lacks new sanctions against U.S. employers who hire illegals, he says.
'That's what they're coming for. They'll get a dishwashing job that pays more than a high-tech job in Mexico,' he says. 'You can catch illegal immigrants all day long and take them back, but they're going to keep on trying. What's better than the land of milk and honey?'

The Bronco lurches along a levee running parallel to the Rio Grande, which apart from the Border Patrol serves as the only barrier between Mexico and the United States. On the horizon, the lights of Reynosa, Mexico, guide the agents as the sun sets. De Anda turns off the engine along a bluff and grabs a pair of binoculars. He and Laurel descend, wading through the mesquite, and reach a clearing next to the river where the water is about 50 feet wide. De Anda scans the riverbank on the Mexican side and spots a pile of driftwood stacked neatly, waiting to be used as a ferry to freedom. The spot is a popular crossing point for drug smugglers and aliens. 'It's actually pretty peaceful out here right now,' Laurel says. 'Sometimes it's real peaceful - sometimes.' Tonight, the action is elsewhere. Back in the truck, the radio crackles with voices of other agents reporting hits on sensors hidden to detect movement. De Anda and Laurel go off to help their colleagues with the paperwork.

At a cramped processing station in Hidalgo, a tiny town just south of McAllen and an international bridge, 10 illegal immigrants file through the door. One is a woman, the rest are men and boys. One by one they sit before an agent and answer the questions, familiar to most: name, age, city of residence, why they are here - the latter more rhetorical than anything else, because the agents already know the illegals are here for the jobs. For Jorge Nunez Rodriguez, the process is hardly daunting. At 17, he estimates he has crossed the border illegally at least 100 times, and he started only two years ago. A resident of Reynosa, he crosses over to work at a used-clothing store in McAllen where he makes $30 a day, a rich man's salary compared with the $5 a day most laborers earn in Reynosa, if they can find work. Rodriguez has heard about the proposed law to get tougher on illegal immigrants. 'Laws or no laws,' he says, 'I'm still coming over.' Reymundo Sanchez feels the same. Sanchez, 30, who also lives in Reynosa, says he hasn't been able to find work there in four months. With two small children and a wife to feed, he decided to try his luck in the United States. He says he is less afraid of the law here than he is of starving back in Mexico. 'It's a terror being over there because you can feel the death when your children are asking you for food and you have none,' he says. 'I can take the hunger. My wife can take it, too, but the kids can't. 'I don't care if they put soldiers on the border; hunger would still make me cross.'

With the processing complete, the immigrants file out toward the international bridge, and the agents watch as they walk home. For Laurel, it's a frustrating way to end a day. 'There's no sense of accomplishment,' he says. 'They'll be back tomorrow.'