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Now we're getting somewhere...

Q: What do these stories have in common with 500 lawyers at the bottom of the ocean?

Police bust 9 illegal aliens running fake ID business

Sweep nets 150 illegal aliens across New England

Price of being smuggled across US-Mexican border jumps by 50%

A: A good start...

Let's look at each of these stories in turn.

The 9 illegal aliens (radio reports all were Brazilians) are reported to have sold fake ID kits for less than $200, netting $10,000 a week, for over five years. I'm going to steal a little from Bruce (he won't mind -- he's a good egg) and run some numbers here.

The article says "less than $200," but we'll say it was $200 just to keep things simple. In order to take in $10,000 a week, they needed to produce and sell 50 kits. Assuming they take weekends off, that's 10 a day. As Bruce points out, that means that they earned over half a million dollars a year for over 5 years, meaning that they alone sucked $5.2 million into the underground economy. Anyone want to wager on whether they paid their taxes on that income?

But there's more! That $5.2 million means that there are 26,000 fake ID kits out there (I think Bruce messed up his math at that point -- he says 13,000) that this group alone produced. Assuming that half of them are still in circulation (a fair assumption, I'd say), that's 13,000 illegal workers taking jobs that Americans don't have.

In the second story, we see a sweep netted 150 illegal aliens as part of "Operation Return To Sender." And these were not your run-of-the-mill illegals -- these were the ones we really need to rid ourselves of. 90% of those were really bad eggs -- convicted felons and those already ordered out of the country. The remaining 15 were your run-of-the-mill illegals authorities just stumbled across while looking for the real bad guys.

(Random thought: in the case of the 90% cited above, how about we start returning some of the felons to their home country by airplane? In order to save time, fuel, and money, the planes can simply not land at the other end, just toss 'em out the door a few thousand feet above their homeland. Priority can be given to murderers, rapists, and gang members.)

Finally, we have the news that the cost of getting smuggled across the border from Mexico via car has shot up from $2,000 to $3,000. This could be a simple sign of gouging, as the story says that the increase is being attributed to the arrival of National Guardsmen to help secure the border, and just how effective their current deployment will be remains to be seen. Or it could be a matter of supply and demand -- people want to get across before the Guard program gets up and running. Either way, economics suggests that if the price goes up, the number of people crossing this way will go down.

What does all this mean, in the long run? It's too early to tell. This could be simple grandstanding by the Bush administration, hoping to cater to the demands of those of us who believe in both having a border and an immigration policy and ENFORCING them. (Yes, this makes us extremist kooks and whackjobs. We're used to it.) Only time will tell if this is a bone tossed our way, or a taste of things to come.

Regardless, it's good news in and of itself, and should be celebrated.

(Correction: Bruce and the readers had it right. It should be $2.6 million dollars and 13,000 fake ID kits. I dunno where I doubled it...)

(Correction 2: The numbers above were based on ONE forger's work. Nine total were arrested, but authorities only gave the specifics on one guy's production. My original numbers might have been closer to reality, based on the work of all nine combined, but only by complete accident.)

Comments (19)

If nothing else, it shows w... (Below threshold)

If nothing else, it shows what can be done just by enforcing existing laws.

I will say that, while I ag... (Below threshold)

I will say that, while I agree with the sentiment, there is a flaw in the "ONe for one, each Illegal immigrant here is takign a job slot that an AMerican woudl otherwise have" - its the same flaw that Democrats making when attacking tax cuts - its assuming that there is a finite and definite number of jobs and that the illegal aliens don't effect that job pool - in other words, that they themselves don't create jobs. If the illegal alien is buying food at the grocery store, they are increasing that store's usiness, and therefore potentially the number of people it hires, etcetera. We argue against the "Shipping jobs overseas" because the Dynamics of the whole issue are more complex than that. THey are here too. Additionally, the fact that they are being paid low wages means that the money you do get is going farther, as it enables the companies employing them to sell their products services and goods at lower rates. I still am an immigration hawk, as it were . . . but the reasoning that each illegal immigrant is equal to a job an american doesn't have is simplistic. There are plenty of reasons to heavily enforce illegal immigration laws anyway without engaging in that one murky topic. Startign with security and workign on downwards.

$520,000 per year for 5 yea... (Below threshold)

$520,000 per year for 5 years is $2.6 million, not $5.2 million. Therefore 13,000 fake ID kits is the correct answer. Thanks for the math word problem.

Ryan is correct. The idea t... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

Ryan is correct. The idea that each I.I. is taking a job from an American just doesn't float. First is the fact that 4.5% unemeployment equals about 6 million workers(very liberal description) looking for work. There is no way they can fill the jobs being done by 12 million I.I.s. Second, most of the so called unemployed could not and would not do the work that the I.I.s are doing (ie. bending over in a lettuce patch all day).

The real problem lies with the number of I.I.s who work off the books and are paid in cash. No income tax or payroll taxes are being withheld, which would offset the cost of these people to the economy in medical costs.

I believe the answer lies in the government first securing the border and then setting up a guest worker program that includes a permit that is nonforgable and verifyable over the internet. The non residents would pay a fee for the permit, have a fixed tax withheld from their pay, and have payroll taxes withheld, with no redemption posible. Those I.I.s that are currently working on the books are having these taxes withheld now so it would not be any different. The fee for the work permit would be in leu of paying some coyote to smuggle them over the border. The I.I.s that are already here should not be forced to return to Mexico(or where ever), since we don't need 12 million people trouping across the country at one time. The potential for increased crime is too great, and it would cause a dissruption in the production of goods and services. Simply make them pay a large fine in addition to the permit fee.

P.S. In no way should any ... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:

P.S. In no way should any path to citizenship be part of the package. It should be actually only a guest worker program with mandatory eventual return to their home country. If they want to become citizens, they can do it the old fassion way.

Jay, you might want to re-r... (Below threshold)

Jay, you might want to re-read what I had written (and check your numbers). My math was based on the information in the article as it pertained to only one of the "undocumented documenters" busted.

AP: One of the suspects had been making ten sets of false documents a day for five years.

Taking weekendds off (52 5-days weeks) = 260 days

x 10 sets a day x 5 years = 13,000.

Also, I should probably rea... (Below threshold)

Also, I should probably read all the way down to the bottom of your post to see if you had already put up a correction...which you had.

So what is the disposition ... (Below threshold)

So what is the disposition of these illegals right now?

Nothing in the stories tells me what's going to happen to them.

I guess the sad part is tha... (Below threshold)

I guess the sad part is that I had agreed with previous reader comments that we should target the employers to get to the illegals. If employers do not have a method of checking ID's online, they simply take a driver's license, etc. at face value.

Up until about 2 years ago, I had worked in the restaurant business for over 20 years in some capacity or another, and I know they simply ask for the necessary paperwork, take a photocopy of the items, and that's about it.

Many people with valid ID's in this country also buy fake SS numbers in order to spend money without being responsible for the bills. An online service to verify info would take all of that out - is there such a thing in place now???

I, personally, have not had a job taken away by an illegal immigrant. And I highly doubt that my current job is in danger in that regard. What concerns me are the LEGAL immigrants who are unable to yet speak the language (yet so many of them work hard in ESOL classes to do so). My grandfather came through Ellis Island at the ripe old age of 17 and placed bricks on streets and sidewalks in NYC and Boston because he didn't yet know English. But once he began to learn the language, married an Italian-American who spoke English and began to raise a family, it was taboo in that household to speak anything but English! Consequently, I only know the swears in Italian - but you have to admire that kind of pride in your new country.

Candy:Checking S.S... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:


Checking S.S. numbers is not the answer. A guest worker I.D. would serve a much more usful purpose.
Isn't it amazing how more and more I.I. keep coming here and yet they all seem to find work. Jobs are being created that would not exist otherwise, and our economy keeps growing to the amazement of the rest of the world.

Yes! They are breaking the law( a misdimeener(sp)), but so are you when you do 75 on the interstate. Make them pay a fine to get a work permit, but don't destroy the economy in the prosess. In the past 6 years the number of I.I.s has doubled but the unemployment rate keeps going down. I fail to see why the "hang em all" crowd can't see this. If they are a burden to the welfare system, then tax them for it, or better yet get rid of the welfare system.

What's next? A raid on ever... (Below threshold)

What's next? A raid on every Asian massage parlor in the country?

What's next? A raid on e... (Below threshold)

What's next? A raid on every Asian massage parlor in the country?

I know where I'm staying away from for the next few weeks.

Candy, my great-grandmother... (Below threshold)

Candy, my great-grandmother came from Germany (from an area that now belongs to France, courtesy of some treaties). She would berate other immigrants who didn't speak English--and she was all of 4'10'' and 90 pounds.

She taught her children German, but they always spoke English. My mom remembers that her mom and grandma would speak German to each other when they didn't want her and her sibilings to know what they were talking about.

Seems to me this is somethi... (Below threshold)

Seems to me this is something that should have been done all along. I will give no backslapping to the powers that be over this except to those actually performing the raids. They are the ones who put their lives on the line to make our country a little safer... Thanks to the front line people.

Is this really too little too late?

This reminds me of school superintendents standing in front of a dilapidated school room crying they need money to fix it.

I always ask (I say 'always' because I've seen the same picture more than once.) "What have you been doing with all the maintenance money we gave you in the past. Have you never heard of preventive maintenance? What are we paying janitors for? What? Give the jokers a fancy title like custodian and they quit working?"

"They tell me that if they ... (Below threshold)

"They tell me that if they had $4,000, they wouldn't be trying to sneak into the United States, because with that money they could open a small business," Loureiro said.


That's the point, eh?

Don't get me wrong - I have... (Below threshold)

Don't get me wrong - I have nothing at all against people coming here in a legal fashion to work. Guest Worker ID's are a great idea - but you don't come here to work then soak the system.

I worked for E&J Gallo Winery some years back helping to run the WorldWide Military Division. It was rough keeping our guys working - the guidelines in many overseas nations is very strict for anyone there on a working visa. The UK and Korea were the toughest - our guys were tossed out of Korea many times and had to hang out in a nearby nation until we could get them back in. Shipping business cards involved some shady tactics - had to list them with DHL as "marketing material" or they'd be destroyed at customs.

But none of our employees (a) snuck over the border of a country or (b) expected or took any aid whatsoever from the country in question. They just worked DAMN hard to be sure our military had Bartles & Jaymes coolers!

Candy:No one is sa... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:


No one is saying that sneeking across the border is right, but they are here now and we must take the most logical steps to handle the situation. Most likely the countries you discussed didn't have any welfare systems to take advantage of. These people are not highly educated, so they tend to follow the crowd, so to speak. In other words they do what everyone else is doing. It's our fault that we have let things get to this stage, so now we must face the music and correct things with the least amount of damage to us, to our economy, and to them.

They don't want to be citizen. They want to survive, which is not possible in Mexico. We don't want more citizen. We want people to do the jobs that Americans either can't or won't do. I believe that if you start with these premisses it can be worked out to every ones satisfaction (even the "hang em all" crowd).

USMC Pilot - I think you ar... (Below threshold)

USMC Pilot - I think you are absolutely right. It's also very sad that they can NOT survive in Mexico.

What are your feelings about the droves and droves of new illegals coming over, though - are you concerned about that?

I do worry and care about these people, but I'm not sure how much more we can take as a country. The folks in the border states are in a much better position to comment than I - no illegal aliens are stupid enough to settle in Maine.

I'm made of hearty Yankee stock, and there are some winters up here that are just ..... BRRRRRRR!

(Funny story: a friend of mine is Jamaican, married to an Army vet of the war in Iraq. When her sister moved up here to Maine from Jamaica and decided to get Baptised, the baptismal fount at the church we borrowed was NOT heated. My husband and I and one of our kids happened to go first, and it was cold, lemme tell ya. But we took one for the team. When she went in, she screamed like she was being murdered, and the pastor quipped, "And here is Miss Opal, who has come all the way from Jamaica to enjoy the warm waters of Maine.") Maybe you had to be there, but it's something we still laugh about.

Candy:Every post I... (Below threshold)
USMC Pilot:


Every post I have made has begun with "secure the borders".






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