JUST THE FACTS, MA'AM: It's Immigration Monday
Monday, September 17, 2007

Now, more than ever: The foolish disregard what they see; the wise disregard what they think.

That’s the Zen version. How about some scripture! Lay your hands-ah on the screen-ah and RECEIVE-ah the Holy ANNOINTING of the Urrea Ministry-ah Here’s what the Bible says: “Be ye not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Romans 12:2.

Wall of Voodoo once sang: “Think twice about big tall cities. / Think twice, that’s right.”

Yes indeed, my dear cousins: you better think twice about big tall borders, cities, fences, lying politicians, millionaire talk show hosts, propagandists, and me. Think for yourself! God told you to! Not to mention Wall of Voodoo!

Amen and amen-ah!

(Send your love-partnership donation-offering to be in the special Kingdom Klub
Lulu-Love ministry Founders Foundation. Operators are standing by.)

Speaking of propaganda, I have been recently amazed to learn that DEVIL’S HIGHWAY has been selected for a national all-read program. It’s the first American Brown Book. I guess all Latinos are supposed to read it. This is good, I think. Paranoia would dictate that there is a whole new population waiting to yell at me. But they are always startled to find out that I am motivated more by angels than by dollars of politics. So it ought to be OK.

The madmen in Dave Eggers-world are preparing a revolutionary new immigration book. I was, frankly, ticked off because those low-down bastards caught on to an idea I wanted to do: oral histories! That’s right. I always thought a book of oral histories of the border experience, like Mark Baker’s NAM, would be a killer book. And I was going to do it, honest, after my next 57 book projects were done. But Peter Orner and Big Dave the Lit Pirate swung into action and put together an alarming and brilliant thing to behold. And, the best news for me is that they’ve asked me to write an intro for it. Oh yes. You know it, bubba. Now I can do very little work, but bask in my wise elder position and also glom onto a piece of their hard-won glory.


I applaud them whipper-snappers.

Speaking of DEVIL’S H, my ol’ pal Shawn Phillips wrote an amazing song that goes by that title. I believe he will be launching a rare tour of the US in the Spring. Let’s go see him. I’m going to try to get him to let us put it up here so you can hear it.

Finally, The Perpetual Book Tour, as promised, is kicking off again. Tomorrow: U of Chicago. Thursdays: the library in Pilsen. Next Week: Walla Walla. Then Dallas and Santa Fe and the Wisconsin Book Festival and Carbondale and… Well. I don’t want to go. Even though these good people are paying me excellent money. Must feed my children. Must pay for college. Must pay the mortgage. (You know me: but for the kids, I believe I’d be in a double-wide in Marshall, Colorado, drinkin’ coffee and hiking all day with a hound dog. But—not yet. Soon.)

See the schedule/calendar section of the website.


Here’s a little data to help you do just that.



Perhaps opinions are useless. At least, uninformed opinions, which I am hearing too much of in border debate. Raw emotion, shouting matches and violence are fueled by opinion. Propaganda and racial stereotyping are fueled by opinion. Radio talk shows are fueled by opinion. ON ALL SIDES. Like anyone else, I like people whose opinions jibe with mine, and I dislike people whose opinions don’t reflect my own. If you agree with me, you are wise, spiritual, and a patriot. If you disagree with me, you are intolerant, ignorant, and evil—not to mention an America-hater.

I am trying to teach myself to listen to facts. You, too. I want you to have facts in hand. So, here are some facts. Interpret them as you will.

“The Border” and “Immigration” are so vast, so big, that it’s almost impossible to focus on any of it. I am going to give you data I have mined about the Tijuana area. Let’s start there. Microcosm. Perhaps my twin hometowns of San Diego and TJ will reveal something larger to us. Certainly, all this data will be useful in your next cocktail party immigration discussion. (You will note, too, some new addresses to add to your Immigration Information Directory.)

Still, for all the local focus of this information, there are a few immigration nuggets of a more universal/national nature. Like this one:

RUN AWAY! American immigration to Canada is up 46% since 2004. (Harper’s, Oct. 2007, p. 15).

Amount undocumented workers pay into US social security on a yearly basis: $6.4 billion. Center for Immigration Studies, cited in Harper’s

Number of border deaths along the US/Mexico border since the implementation of stronger enforcement policies and fences (Operation Gatekeeper — launched Oct. 1, 1994 -- et al):
Since the initiation of Gatekeeper, border deaths have risen by 500%.

--Montezemolo, Peralta and Yepez, AQUI ES TIJUANA/ www.stopgatekeepr.org

In 2002, San Diego had a population of 1,255,742; Tijuana had a population of 1,292,993.
The population growth index for San Diego was 2.8%; for Tijuana it was 4.9%.
In San Diego, the median age was 33; in Tijuana it was 24.8.
Per capita income in San Diego rose to $33, 883; in Tijuana, it rose to $9, 812.
In 1999, the poverty index in San Diego was 12%; in Tijuana it was 18.4%.

In 2000, the profits of smugglers of “illegals” on the border ascended to more than 7,000 million dollars ($7 billion), according to the United States State Department.

Contrary to what is commonly believed, the majority of these “polleros” (coyotes) are US citizens. In 2003, 123 “polleros” were detained at the Tijuana-San Ysidro border crossing. 89% of them were Americans.

One third of the money that is paid by undocumented entrants to smugglers ends up in the pockets of functionaries of the immigration services of Mexico and the United States.
--Report of the Commission for Population,Borders and Immigration Issues, Mexico,

At the start of the 21st century, the National Institute of Immigration in Baja California reports that, among the foreigners arrested in the state, the greatest number are Guatemalan. The second largest population is from Brazil. This development is a novelty of recent years.

In 2000, the immigrant population coming into Tijuana was 11.73%, the second highest rate in the country (Mexico)…The population emigrating out of Tijuana was 3.26%.
--XII General Census, 2000

Daily, Tijuanans spend $8.2 million in San Diego. They make an average of 3.5 (legal) border crossings a week, and 80% of them are by car.
--Channel 12, XEWT Mercantile Research

24% of all northbound Border Crossing is to work in San Diego.
--SANDAG 2020 Ethnic Population Estimates

In Tijuana, 1.4% of the population speaks an indigenous language.
The most common indigenous language is Mixtec. 32 out of every 100 indigenous speakers speak Mixtec.
Of the indigenous population, 92.4% also speak Spanish.
In the state, from 1990 to 2000, the influx of Native American speakers was 19, 508. This signifies a yearly growth of 7.6%.
--XII General Census

Tijuana’s urban average ages:
0-14 years old: 33.5%.
15-64 years old: 62.84%.
65 or more: 3.66%.

30.4% of the population is under 15 years of age.

--XII General Census

20% of the immigrants who arrive in the region are under 14.
--INEGI Profile of the Underage Population Of the Municipality of Tijuana

According to the Tijuana Food Bank (Bantai), 260 thousand people have nothing to eat.

From 1996 to 2004, the number of migrant women who have come to this border city in search of a better life has grown by 400%. The majority of them are mothers, and they are between 20 and 30 years old. 8 out of every 10 have only completed a sixth grade education.

Unofficial findings show that the number of homeless children in Tijuana hovers between 5,000 and 10,000.

The principal employment of children in Tijuana is: supermarket baggers, chewing gum sellers, newspaper sellers, flower sellers, curio sellers, popsicle sellers, fruit sellers, balloon sellers, snow-cone sellers, candy sellers, fantasy jewelry sellers, churro sellers, car washers, window cleaners, garbage pickers, shoeshiners, singers, bar cleaners, brickyard assistants, gophers, tourist guides.

According to COLEF researchers, in 2000 there were 466, 800 people living in poverty conditions in Tijuana. 13.2% of Tijuana homes live in nutritional poverty….
--Zeta Weekly, 2004

Of every 100 persons who emigrate out of Baja California, 95 of them go to the United States.

In 2003, the city of Tijuana had registered 13, 340 sex-workers under its system of Sanitary Cards.
--Reyes, Report to the Mayor

50,000 women and children a year are illegally smuggled into the United States for use as prostitutes.

At least 900 child prostitutes work in Tijuana—a large percentage of their trade involves the internet.

The municipal police serve as “enganchadores” of clients for 50% of the fee.

“Truco” (child masturbates client): $20.
Oral sex by child: $50.
Client having sex with male child: $100.
Without a condom: $180.
With a virgin female: $500.

According to the newspaper Frontera, a national survey in 2004 revealed that the happiest city in Mexico is Tijuana.

Tourists spend $100 million a year on pharmaceuticals in Tijuana.
70% of medications are sold without prescriptions.
--Expansion, June 2003

This is…a tale of two cities. Each of the city’s metropolitan areas houses about one million people. One city is geographically small and the people live in close proximity. One city is large and sprawling.
In one city, inhabitants still suffer diseases considered exotic in the other: cholera, polio, typhus, tuberculosis, rickets. In the other city, separated from the former mostly by an imaginary line, lies some of the richest real estate in the richest half of the richest state in the richest country on the face of the earth.
Joseph Wambaugh,
Lines and Shadows

(I owe a great debt to the excellent book, ASI ES TIJUANA!)



“What a mess this world is in, I wonder who began it. / Don’t ask me, I’m only visiting this planet.” --Larry Norman

I’m lacing up my boots and heading down the road. See you out there somewhere.

Adios, Amigos!

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