Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Enviros Boot Illegals -- But AP Will Never Report That

Golly. Do you think a wee bit of bias is peeping through the skillful wording of this AP lead on the enforcement of immigration laws in San Diego?
For 20 years, many of the illegal immigrants drawn by jobs in tomato fields have worshipped at an outdoor church, a concrete altar in a canyon where they slept under the shelter of plywood and plastic tarps and bathed in a stream.

Today, however, McGonigle Canyon is overshadowed by multimillion- dollar homes, and police and landowners want the eyesores gone. The squatters and their tree-covered place of worship, which the Roman Catholic Church installed in the 1980s, are being expelled in one of the latest skirmishes in the nation's battle over illegal immigration and homeless squatters' camps.

Reporter Elliot Spagat ratchets up the sympathy chorus a few graphs later:

Some [squatters] decided to chip in about $100 a month to share an apartment, but Juan Ramirez said that would mean less money to send home to his wife and three children in Mexico.

"My children are studying, and they need pencils. They don't have enough money," he said. Ramirez makes $6.75 an hour plucking tomatoes six days a week, and sends two-thirds of his wages to his family while he sleeps under a tarp tied to trees. It's a slim return on the $2,000 he paid a smuggler to sneak him across the border last summer.

Oh, boo hoo. My heart really goes out to Ramirez for his hardship, but my sympathy doesn't. Better he and others like him keep their $2,000 and petition their government to take better care of its people instead of encouraging them to go to El Norte in what has become one of Mexico's top sources of revenue.

While Spagat is quick to blame white people living in big houses, and the developers who built those houses ...

One developer, D.R. Horton Inc. of Fort Worth, Texas, has peppered huts with signs that warn squatters their belongings may be hauled away at any time.

... he is forbidden by his pro-immigrant, pro-environment, anti-business biases to report on the real story: That it was the environmentalists that booted these immigrants, not the suburbanites. Spagat had the story right before him -- in the very sentence that precedes the one about D.R. Horton -- but chose to ignore that and go for White Man's Burden instead. Here's the real story:

Developers were required to preserve the canyon as open space to win permission to build, but now police-installed fences block cars from driving in.

Let me translate that for you. State and/or federal wildlife agencies wanted the canyon for critters and forced the developer to dedicate it as permanent open space or be subjected to Permit Purgatory for years. Once the canyon became open space to be preserved, human use of it -- by legals or illegals-- became illegal. The signs Horton posted were probably required under its conditions of approval.

I'm not familiar with this specific case, but if it's like a hundred others I've worked on, my explanation is exactly right. And here's further proof:

The photo from Tory R. Walker Engineering shows a creek restoration in McGonigal Canyon, with the new homes above. The developer was no doubt required to restore the creek -- why use public funds for a public benefit if you can exact it out of a developer -- and the cost of the restoration was then added to the cost of the homes. So, in other words, the suburbanites, not the environmentalists, are paying for the restoration.

Now that McGonigle Canyon is on its way to becoming natural habitat again, the enviros don't want illegal immigrants defacating in the stream, trashing their precious water quality. So well-to-do white environmentalists gave poor brown farmworkers the boot.

That is not, and never will be, the story you read in your local newspaper.

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