Illegal Mexican Migration & the United States/Mexico Border: The Effects of Operation Hold the Line on El Paso/Juárez - PDF

Illegal Mexican Migration & the United States/Mexico Border: The Effects of Operation Hold the Line on El Paso/Juárez Frank D. Bean, Roland Chanove, Robert G. Cushing, Rodolfo de la Garza, Gary P. Freeman,

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Illegal Mexican Migration & the United States/Mexico Border: The Effects of Operation Hold the Line on El Paso/Juárez Frank D. Bean, Roland Chanove, Robert G. Cushing, Rodolfo de la Garza, Gary P. Freeman, Charles W. Haynes, David Spener U.S. COMMISSION ON IMMIGRATION REFORM THE U.S. COMMISSION ON IMMIGRATION REFORM IS A BIPARTISAN COMMISSION AUTHORIZED BY THE IMMIGRATION ACT OF 1990 AND CHARGED WITH EXAMINING IMMIGRATION POLICY AND ITS IMPACT ON SOCIAL, ECONOMIC, AND COMMUNITY RELATIONS, ON POPULATION SIZE AND CHARACTERISTICS, AND ON THE ENVIRONMENT. MR. RICHARD ESTRADA ASSOCIATE EDITOR, DALLAS MORNING NEWS APPOINTED BY SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP MR. HAROLD EZELL PRESIDENT, THE EZELL GROUP, INC. APPOINTED BY HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP DR. LAWRENCE H. FUCHS, VICE CHAIR JAFFEE PROFESSOR OF AMERICAN CIVILIZATION AND POLITICS, BRANDEIS UNIVERSITY APPOINTED BY SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP ELECTED BY COMMISSIONERS TO BE DEMOCRATIC VICE CHAIR ROBERT CHARLES HILL, ESQ. PARTNER, JENKENS AND GILCHRIST APPOINTED BY HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP PROFESSOR BARBARA JORDAN, CHAIR PROFESSOR, LBJ SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS APPOINTED TO CHAIR THE COMMISSION BY PRESIDENT CLINTON WARREN R. LEIDEN, ESQ. EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, AMERICAN IMMIGRATION LAWYERS ASSOCIATION APPOINTED BY HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP MR. NELSON MERCED CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER, INQUILINOS BORICAS EN ACCION/ EMERGENCY TENANT COUNCIL, INC. APPOINTED BY SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP BRUCE A. MORRISON, ESQ. PARTNER, MORRISON AND SWAINE APPOINTED BY HOUSE DEMOCRATIC LEADERSHIP DR. MICHAEL S. TEITELBAUM, VICE CHAIR PROGRAM OFFICER, ALFRED P. S LOAN FOUNDATION APPOINTED BY SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADERSHIP ELECTED BY COMMISSIONERS TO BE REPUBLICAN VICE CHAIR SUSAN MARTIN, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR - 1 - Illegal Mexican Migration & the United States/Mexico Border: The Effects of Operation Hold the Line on El Paso/Juárez FRANK D. BEAN, ROLAND CHANOVE, ROBERT G. CUSHING, RODOLFO DE LA GARZA, GARY P. FREEMAN, CHARLES W. HAYNES, DAVID SPENER POPULATION RESEARCH CENTER THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN JULY 1994 - 2 - Acknowledgements WE OWE THANKS AND GRATITUDE TO MANY PEOPLE AND SEVERAL INSTITUTIONS FOR ASSISTANCE IN CONDUCTING AND COMPLETING THIS PROJECT. REGRETTABLY, WE CANNOT ACKNOWLEDGE ALL OF THEM HERE. SEVERAL GROUPS OF PERSONS, HOWEVER, DESERVE SPECIAL RECOGNITION. FIRST, WE WISH TO EXPRESS OUR APPRECIATION TO THE PEOPLE IN EL PASO AND JUÁREZ WHO FREELY COOPERATED WITH AND GENEROUSLY GAVE THEIR TIME AND ASSISTANCE TO THE PROJECT. WE ESPE- CIALLY WANT TO THANK CHIEF PATROL AGENT SILVESTRE REYES OF THE BORDER PATROL AND MAYORS LARRY FRANCIS AND FRANCISCO VILLAREAL OF EL PASO AND JUÁREZ, RESPECTIVELY. ALSO, MR. MARTIN GONZALEZ DE LA VARA OF EL COLEGIO DE LA FREONTERA NORTE IN JUÁREZ WAS HELPFUL. SECOND, WE ARE VERY GRATEFUL TO ANGELA ESCAJEDA, CHERYL HOWARD, BRYAN ROBERTS, AND KATHLEEN STAUDT FOR ADVICE AND ASSISTANCE AT VARIOUS POINTS IN THE RESEARCH. THIRD, WE WISH TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE PROJECT OF THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS AT AUSTIN. BOTH THE POPULATION RESEARCH CENTER (THROUGH A GRANT FROM THE MACARTHUR FOUNDATION) AND THE INSTITUTE OF LATIN AMERICAN STUDIES (THROUGH A GRANT FROM THE MELLON FOUNDATION) PROVIDED SUPPORT. THE POPULATION RESEARCH CENTER ALSO RECEIVES CORE SUP- PORT FOR CERTAIN PROJECTS FROM THE NATIONAL INSTITUTE OF CHILD AND HUMAN DEVELOPMENT [NICHD GRANT #HD-06160]. FOURTH, EVE KARABANOW, JOSEPH SALAZAR, AND JENNIFER SCALORA PROVIDED RESEARCH AND OTHER ASSISTANCE THAT WAS, WITHOUT QUESTION, ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF ANY DUTY. WE ARE TRULY GRATEFUL. - 3 - CONTENTS I. INTRODUCTION 5 II. THE OPERATION AND ITS CONTEXT 7 OPERATION HOLD THE LINE 7 THE METROPOLITAN CONTEXT 11 LEGAL NONIMMIGRANT BORDER CROSSINGS 13 III. EFFECTS ON ILLEGAL FLOWS 17 APPREHENSIONS DATA 19 BRIDGE CROSSING DATA 26 CONCLUSIONS 37 IV. EFFECTS ON BUSINESS AND ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES 37 BUSINESS LEADER RESPONSE 38 SALES 39 CITY SALES AND USE TAX COLLECTIONS 42 LABOR MARKET 43 TOURISM 46 BUS RIDERSHIP 46 ACCIDENTS 47 JUÁREZ BUSINESS ACTIVITIES 48 CONCLUSIONS 50 V. EFFECTS ON EDUCATION, BIRTHS AND SOCIAL SERVICES 51 EDUCATION 51 BIRTHS 57 WELFARE UTILIZATION 63 EFFECTS IN JUÁREZ 64 CONCLUSIONS 65 VI. EFFECTS ON CRIME AND RELATED INDICATORS IN EL PASO 65 LOCAL PERCEPTIONS AND EXPECTATIONS 65 TRENDS AND THE MAGNITUDE OF CRIME IN EL PASO 68 SERIOUS CRIME 73 GEOGRAPHIC DISTRIBUTION OF CRIME 81 JUVENILE OFFENDERS AND THE RACIAL/ETHNIC DISTRIBUTION OF ARRESTS 82 COST OF CRIME 84 OTHER MEASUREMENTS 87 CONCLUSIONS 92 VII. COMMUNITY & ORGANIZATIONAL EFFECTS IN EL PASO 93 PUBLIC OPINION 93 MEXICAN-AMERICAN COMMUNITY57 94 HUMAN RIGHTS 99 JOB SATISFACTION AMONG BORDER PATROL AGENTS 103 CONCLUSIONS 107 VIII. EFFECTS ON ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSERS IN EL PASO AND JUÁREZ 107 BEFORE OPERATION BLOCKADE 107 THE BORDER CROSSING CARD 109 EFFECTS AND RESPONSES 117 IX. SUMMARY 123 FINDINGS 123 ASSESSMENT 124 POLICY IMPLICATIONS 126 REFERENCES 129 - 4 - Tables 1. REQUIREMENTS FOR PROCESSING APPLICATION FOR CROSSING CARD A TYPOLOGY OF MEXICAN BORDER CROSSERS IN EL PASO/JUÁREZ AVERAGE MONTHLY LINEWATCH AND NONLINEWATCH APPREHENSIONS & ENFORCEMENT HOURS BY SECTOR GROUPING, FYS LINEWATCH AND NONLINEWATCH APPREHENSIONS PER HOUR BY SECTOR GROUPING, FYS TIME SERIES REGRESSION RESULTS FOR MONTHLY LINEWATCH AND NONLINEWATCH APPREHENSIONS ON ENFORCEMENT HOURS & POST-OPERATION DUMMIES BY STATE SECTOR GROUPINGS LEGAL STATUS CATEGORIES OF MEXICAN COMMUTER WORKERS CATEGORIES & ESTIMATED NUMBERS OF COMMUTERS ESTIMATED NUMBERS OF MEXICAN COMMUTER WORKERS RESIDING IN CIUDAD JUÁREZ TRENDS IN NORTHBOUND & SOUTHBOUND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS ON THE PASO DEL NORTE & STANTON STREET INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES POST-BLOCKADE CHANGES IN DIFFERENCE & RATIO BETWEEN NORTHBOUND & SOUTHBOUND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS, PASO DEL NORTE & STANTON STREET INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES NORTHBOUND & SOUTHBOUND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS RATIO OF OBSERVED TO EXPECTED SOUTHBOUND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS, PASO DEL NORTE & STANTON STREET INTERNATIONAL BRIDGES RATIO OF OBSERVED TO EXPECTED NUMBERS OF NORTHBOUND PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS, PASO DEL NORTE INTERNATIONAL BRIDGE PERCENT CHANGES IN REPORTED GROSS SALES IN THE RETAIL TRADE INDUSTRY: ZIP CODES IN EL PASO PERCENT CHANGES IN SALES TAX ALLOCATIONS PERCENT CHANGES IN SALES TAX ALLOCATIONS JOB ORDERS TAKEN BY TEXAS EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION, EL PASO COUNTY MEAN NEW JOB ORDER LISTINGS FOR EL PASO TEXAS EMPLOYMENT COMMISSION SELECTED WEEKS UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN EL PASO COUNTY HOTEL OCCUPANCY RATES IN EL PASO AUTOMOBILE-PEDESTRIAN ACCIDENTS: EL PASO BORDER HIGHWAY CHANGES IN ENROLLMENT, SELECTED SCHOOLS: EL PASO INDEPENDENT SCHOOL DISTRICT SCHOOL ENROLLMENTS IN NINE EL PASO COUNTY ISDS SCHOOL ENROLLMENT & PERCENTAGE OF STUDENTS CLASSIFIED AS ECONOMICALLY DISADVANTAGED DISTRIBUTION OF FUNDING, HISPANIC BIRTHS IN EL PASO COUNTY THOMASON HOSPITAL STATISTICS NUMBER OF OFFENSES REPORTED TO THE POLICE PER 100,000 POPULATION FOR 40 U.S. CITIES SIMILAR IN POPULATION SIZE TO EL PASO RANKED BY TOTAL CRIME INDEX AVERAGE ANNUAL PERCENT CHANGES IN CRIME RATES PER 100,000 POPULATION FOR 49 U.S. CITIES RANKED BY PERCENT CHANGE IN TOTAL CRIME RATE REGRESSION ANALYSIS OF VIOLENT & PROPERTY CRIME INDEXES: U.S. METROPOLITAN STATISTICAL AREAS MAJOR CRIME TRENDS IN EL PASO CRIMES REPORTED TO THE EL PASO POLICE DEPARTMENT BY MONTH ESTIMATES OF POST-OPERATION EFFECT ON MAJOR CRIME FOR FOUR MODELS OF TREND & SEASONALITY DIFFERENCES IN AVERAGE ARREST RATES FROM EL PASO BY RACE/ETHNICITY & AGE CATEGORY VARIOUS MEASURES OF COST OF CRIME TOTAL APPREHENSIONS OF ILLEGAL ALIEN ADULTS BY SANTA FE RAILROAD POLICE OFFICERS APPREHENSIONS OF PEOPLE ATTEMPTING TO IMPORT DRUGS AMOUNTS OF SEIZURES OF DRUGS AT BRIDGES BY U.S. CUSTOMS SERVICE SEIZURES OF ILLEGAL AGRICULTURAL GOODS AND CARGO HUMAN RIGHTS-RELATED INCIDENTS REPORTED, EL PASO SECTOR TYPES OF ABUSE COMPARISON OF CHARACTERISTICS OF ILLEGAL BORDER CROSSERS, NONCROSSERS, & CROSSERS WHO POSSESS THE BORDER CROSSING CARD TYPES OF FALSE DOCUMENTATION ATTEMPTED BY MEXICAN CROSSERS, BRIDGE OF THE AMERICAS Figures 1. NUMBER OF OF LINEWATCH APPREHENSIONS EL PASO POSTAL ZIP CODES HISPANIC BIRTHS IN EL PASO COUNTY NON-HISPANIC BIRTHS IN EL PASO COUNTY HISPANIC BIRTHS IN EL PASO COUNTY BY YEAR -62- - 5 - I. Introduction On September 19, 1993, Silvestre Reyes, the Chief of the El Paso Sector of the Border Patrol of the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS], launched Operation Blockade along a twenty-mile stretch of the U.S./Mexico border between El Paso and Juárez. Renamed Operation Hold the Line three weeks later (to avoid the negative connotations associated with the word blockade ), the initiative represented an effort to cut off illegal migration from Mexico into El Paso (and through El Paso into the United States). As such, it involved a major shift in strategy on the part of the El Paso sector Border Patrol. Previously the Border Patrol had allowed relatively unhindered movements across the river, concentrating on the subsequent interception of crossers who had already entered the city, including those who were trying to move inland at major transportation arteries (roads, railroad lines, and airports). While the old strategy took advantage of the rugged, arid terrain around El Paso that makes it difficult for long distance migrants to move to other destinations once they have entered, it allowed easy access to El Paso for substantial numbers of undocumented Mexicans who were not intent on migrating on to other destinations. The new strategy, however, by saturating the border between El Paso and Juárez with agents, was intended to curtail both local and long-distance illegal migration. This research examines the workings and effects of Operation Hold the Line, starting with its inception in late September 1993 and running through April 1994, the latest release date for relevant data as of the writing of this report. The main goal of the Operation was to slow illegal flows. In the words of the Border Patrol, Operation Hold the Line s main mission is to prevent... undocumented aliens from crossing illegally (Reyes 1994). Hence, the first objective of this study is to assess the extent to which a slowdown in such flows has been achieved. The second major goal of the study is to determine the social and economic effects of the Operation on El Paso/Juárez. This is not only crucial for determining the extent to which the Operation is achieving its primary mission, but it is also fundamental for developing rough overall assessments of the Op- eration. Without knowing its consequences, it would be difficult to tell if the Operation has been working in the ways it was intended, not to mention hard to render an overall judgment about the balance of positive and negative consequences that it might be generating. The study s ultimate objective, which is to discern the larger significance of the Operation for issues pertaining to U.S. immigration and immigrant policy, has several implications. First, it means consequences must be assessed for both El Paso and Juárez. If apparently positive effects in one community are accompanied by seemingly negative effects in the other, then focusing on only one side of the border could give misleading impressions about the overall effects on two cities tied by a symbiotic (if at times uneasy) relationship. Obviously each city s home country retains sovereignty over its side of the border. But equally clearly, if one city gains at the expense of the other, hardship and disequilibrium may result, with attendant implications both for the kinds and numbers of Mexicans wanting to migrate to the United States and for the kind of reception migrants encounter when they arrive. Second, different persons cross the border between Juárez and El Paso for different reasons, which means that there are several different types of border crossers. Generalizations about one type of flow may not apply to another type. Thus, Operation Hold the Line may have affected (and may be affecting) these different kinds of crossers in varying ways. It is critical to examine initiatives like Operation Hold the Line within a framework that from the very beginning takes into account this possibility. This conceptualization of multiple kinds of border crossers provides not only a multidimensional framework for examining the workings and effects of Operation Hold the Line, but one that also holds the promise of leading to new ways to assess the effectiveness of border control policies and strategies. Third, and relatedly, an adequate interpretation of the effects of Operation Hold the Line must consider a multiplicity of outcomes. For example, an interpretation that seemingly explains changes since the inception of the Operation in apprehension sta- - 6 - tistics but not in hospital admissions and births, for example, is less useful than one that explains both. The strategy used examines a wide range of consequences that might be thought to be associated with the Operation. This offers the advantages of both greater comprehensiveness of coverage and an increased likelihood of discerning the Operation s effects. Whereas individual pieces of evidence may not provide enough basis for reaching firm conclusions, many different pieces of evidence taken together carry greater weight and provide a stronger basis for research conclusions, especially if these generally point in the same direction. Certain theoretical and methodological considerations have implications for the strategies followed in this research. Theoretical notions about the U.S./ Mexico border consist of implicit and explicit ideas people hold and articulate about the structure and functioning of economic and social relationships in the relevant regions of both countries. Different theories influence thinking about the kinds of immigration (and other) policies that various observers believe are most needed in a post-nafta environment. Views that give overriding emphasis to the border as a mostly geographic boundary between sovereign states tend to highlight divergences in state interests and the need for policies that protect these, just as views that give predominant weight to the border as an area in which northern Mexico and the southwestern United States are inextricably tied together tend to highlight convergences in state interests and the need for policies that foster further integration (Bean, Vernez & Kelly 1989; Weintraub 1990). The theoretical view used here combines elements of both of these. It is akin to perspectives that see the border as a complex mixture of both integrating and differentiating processes that are often in tension with one another (Lowenthal & Burgess 1993). Policies that would either only increase legal crossings or only restrict illegal crossings risk oversimplifying the complexities involved in border dynamics. As shown below in the case of the U.S./Mexico border in general, and in the case of Operation Hold the Line in particular, legal and illegal migration are not only connected by virtue of U.S. immigration policy and border control strategies, they also often appear to substitute for one another. This examination of Operation Hold the Line thus seeks to assess its effects on both illegal and legal crossings, as well as to discern the implications of these for various policy options concerning both legal and illegal immigration and nonimmigrant crossings at the U.S./ Mexico border. Methodologically, this research relies on both quantitative and qualitative evidence to develop an assessment of the Operation. The former includes official statistics that provide a basis for ascertaining the representativeness, scope, and magnitude of the Operation s effects. Border crossing and apprehensions data, police and crime data, birth and hospital data, education and school attendance statistics, and sales tax and general sales data were examined. The qualitative evidence is obtained from ethnographic fieldwork and in-depth interviews that provide information about motivations and processes not always revealed in official statistics; over four months the research team conducted interviews with nearly two hundred persons, including both local and federal government officials in both El Paso and Juárez, as well as numerous other persons at border crossing sites and other locales in both cities. The objective of the study is thus to combine the lessons from both qualitative and quantitative data into an interpretation of what has been happening in El Paso/ Juárez as a result of the onset and continuation of Operation Hold the Line. The monograph is organized into nine chapters. After the introduction, the second is a description of Operation Hold the Line, together with a discussion of the geographical and metropolitan context within which the Operation has taken place. The third examines evidence about the curtailment of flows as indicated by border crossing and apprehensions data. The fourth examines effects on business and economic activity, and the fifth analyzes effects on education, births and social services. The sixth presents an examination of the effects of the Operation on crime rates and other indicators of illegal or disruptive behaviors. The seventh details effects on community and public opinion. The eighth chapter focuses on the Operation s consequences for Juárez - 7 - and the people living there, paying special attention to the experience of obtaining and using Border Crossing Cards. The ninth provides an overall assessment of the Operation s effects, together with discussion of the implications of the study s findings for immigration and border crossing issues. II. The Operation and Its Context This chapter presents a brief description of the Operation, followed by a discussion of the wider metropolitan and border crossing context within which the Operation began and continues to the present day. Two aspects of context are particularly important: the geographic and urban structural features of the larger El Paso/Juárez metropolitan area that both constrain and compel certain kinds of migration patterns; and the policies governing legal nonimmigrant border crossings between Juárez and El Paso, together with their implementation, that structure the interrelationship between legal and illegal migration in the region. Thus, understanding the effects of the Operation necessitates both an awareness of the circumstances under which legal crossings take place and a recognition that these can often influence illegal crossings. Operation Hold the Line Operation Blockade was launched on Sunday, September 19, Conceived by Silvestre Reyes, Chief Patrol Agent for the El Paso Sector of the United States Border Patrol, the Operation represented a major change in strategy for controlling the border in the El Paso sector. The previous emphasis had been on apprehending suspected illegal aliens once they had crossed the border. The new concept was to enhance linewatch operations by maintaining a high profile along a stretch of approximately twenty miles of border in the metropolitan El Paso area. The goal was to discourage the unregulated flow of illegal migration of individuals from Mexico into El Paso and the United States by stopping people before they crossed the border (Martin 1993). Shortly after his appointment in July, 1993, Chief Reyes submitted plans for Operation Blockade to Headquarters, U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service [INS], suggesting that the border could be controlled with an aggressive, high-profile interception strategy. INS approved the expenditure of $300 thousand for the operation, primarily to fund overtime payments. The Operation was launched shortly after midnight on September 19, when 130 agents and 3 maintenance crews were deployed to saturate the line along the river and to begin repairing holes in the border fence. More than 400 of the El Paso Sector s 650 Border Patrol agents were deployed 24-
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