January 6 2005, 7:03 AM
Tom Tancredo is apoplectic over a new Mexican handbook advising immigrants how to enter and remain in the United States without being detected.
Officials [in Mexico] say the small booklet, illustrated in comic-book style, is not intended to encourage illegal immigration, but to reduce the loss of life. Last year, more than 300 migrants died while crossing rivers and deserts to reach the United States. The guidebook also advises would-be migrants to avoid hiring professional immigrant-smugglers and to refuse to carry packages for others. It also instructs people never to lie to border officials, carry false documents or resist arrest.Tancredo and other immigration opponents believe the handbook is a "how-to" guide for illegal immigrants because, among other things,
The booklet gives advice on what clothes to wear when fording a river and how to cross a desert without getting dehydrated. It also counsels migrants to keep a low profile once in the United States, telling them, for instance, to stay away from loud parties or discos that might be raided by the police and to stay out of domestic disputes, which might lead to an arrest. Finally, it lists what rights migrants have if caught, among them safe transport home, medical care, food and water.Tancredo says,
"This is not the action of a friendly neighbor.....What would the Mexican government say if we encouraged our citizens to violate Mexican law?"That the Mexican Government's concern for the risk of loss of life trumps border control is hardly surprising when 300 Mexicans were killed last year trying to enter the United States.
GerÃ³nimo GutiÃ©rrez, Mexico's under secretary for North American affairs, said the guide was written to dissuade people from making a clandestine journey or at least to warn them of the perils and legal risks should they decide to go...."The Mexican government obviously has an obligation to take all actions possible in order to avoid the loss of life."Immigration groups contend that the guidebook is further evidence that America's immigration system is broken and badly in need of reform. Something that Tancredo, as chair of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus, should be more concerned about.