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Know your donks

By Owen Paine on Friday May 12, 2006 01:06 PM

Q: Who started the highly profitable border control private opportunity spiral?

A: Sil Reyes, now a Democratic representative from El Paso.

Read this fine treatment of the recent jail-'em boom. Here's an excerpt:

"The origins of the modern immigrant detention complex can be traced to the mid-1990s, when Silvestre Reyes, then-head of the El Paso Border Patrol Sector (now a Democratic congressman from El Paso), initiated "Operation Blockade," a strategy of concentrating enforcement agents to snag immigrants once they cross the border. This drove up the number of apprehensions and set in motion a militarization of the southwestern border. The budget for border enforcement went from $1.2 billion in 1995 to $4.7 billion in 2006, and the number of Border Patrol agents doubled. In addition, sweeping immigration reform laws passed in 1996 by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton [emphasis mine -- JSP] allowed the deportation of any noncitizen convicted of such crimes as drunk driving, hot-check writing, and shoplifting, even if the crime occurred before the law went into effect. The 1996 legislation also required mandatory detention of any illegal immigrant deemed a "criminal alien," a noncitizen convicted or even suspected of illegal activity.

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