Sunday, February 14, 2010

tackling illegal immigration from the top

Tackling illegal immigration from the top
A crackdown on alleged smuggling operations is a step in the right direction.
February 12, 2010

Super Express Van Tours of Houston was not your ordinary bus line. It served neither tourists nor commuters. Instead, federal officials say, it specialized in transporting illegal immigrants around the country. Once they arrived from Mexico, it kept the passengers under lock and key in "safe houses" -- preventing both scrutiny from outsiders and possible escapes -- until it loaded them into minivans and shuttled them to cities across the United States, including Los Angeles, Atlanta and Miami.

Super Express was no stranger to the Border Patrol and other federal authorities -- its drivers had been stopped and arrested seven times over five years for transporting illegal immigrants. But the drivers and their human cargo were merely the low-hanging fruit. That's why it was a welcome development last week when agents arrested the company's owner, Fermin A. Tovar. This reflects a marked shift in enforcement methods, officials said, and a critical step in what is intended to be an ongoing effort to crush the smuggling industry.

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