Many migrants are skipping the use of unreliable and perfidious "coyotes", smugglers and are hiking through the desert. And new trend is the use of old bicycles that will soon be abandoned. The trip is not for the faint of heart, and most don't fall in the faint-of-heart category.
The 110-degree heat and rough terrain of the Arizona desert would exhaust the fittest of cyclists, but these migrants are often middle-aged housewives or farmers, riding battered second-hand bikes for 30 or 40 miles.
The bikes also carry their supplies and belongings, so if rocks or cactus spines shred the tires, they get off and push.
The prize? A chance at a low-wage job.
"We've seen them going by on bicycles right by our offices ... in whole groups," said Mario Lopez, an agent for Mexico's Grupo Beta migrant aid agency, whose offices sit just a few hundred yards from the border. "They're usually old bikes because they're going to abandon them anyway."
Most start their trip in Sonoyta, a Mexican border town where the bikes are sold for $30 in a dusty, vacant lot a few blocks from the chest-high, three-rail fence that marks the U.S. border. The fence has prevented vehicles from driving across into the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, but migrants can easily toss a bike over and slip through the rails.
From there, it's a brutal ride over Organ Pipe's hard-packed terrain. Though the park prohibits off-road biking, sets of fresh mountain-bike tracks can be seen running down its foot trails, and the National Park Service often finds abandoned bikes with crumpled wheels and water bottles hanging off the handlebars.
Fred Patton, the park's chief ranger, says "hundreds and hundreds and hundreds" of migrants bike through the park. No count is kept and he can't be precise, but he provides pictures of abandoned bikes. "It's a relatively common means of transport," he said.
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They sound like tough, enterprising risk takers, just the kind of people America needs. The problem is that we can't absorb ten to twenty million at one time or over one or two decades.
It's seems really sad that the Mexico under-utilitizes in Mexico their most valuable asset in: people. My guess is that sending them over in a demographic hoard is exactly the business plan conceived by the smart, tough, and ruthless Mexicans that have never forgotten the terms of the Treaty of Guadalupe and the lessons learned by allowing Yankee entrepreneurs to settle Americans in their northern territory, resulting in the Texas Rebellion and the subsequent Mexican American War.
One large difference between then and now is that American settlement was legal. Mexico granted large tracts of land to men like Steven Austin with the proviso that settlers would become good Mexicans by obeying all laws, becoming Catholics, and learning to Speak Spanish. Just like today's migrants, the 19th century variety that moved into what is known as the American Southwest took exception and did not comply. They preferred their native English language, their Protestant religion, and the "peculiar institution of slavery" that was illegal in Mexico. Enforcement of these and other infractions of Mexican law compelled the dictator, Santa Ana, to march against them, with a humiliating defeat, and a transfer of territory after payment. And the rest is history.
A new history is being written and there are new questions to be asked and answered in a relatively short period. Soon enough we will find out of which country or union we are citizens, and which language will be lingua franca of North America.
Will our capital remain in Washington D.C. or moved to a more "convenient" location? Will we continue to have an elected legislature or will we be ruled by an oligarchy? (Are we being ruled by an oligarchy now? Sometimes its hard to tell.) Will a minority of the equivalent of 3 or 4% of our present population be tough enough to take us over? Old-line Europeans are having a similar and growing problem with their migrant populations. It appears that America's migrant minorities are taking their cues from the rapidly-expanding and vocal Muslim minority population that varies from about .5% to 8% .
It's hard to believe what problems a tiny, unassimable minority can cause.