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Border security: Following a cow path

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Contact Colin McNickle (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

The timing couldn't have been more apropos.

As four U.S. senators from the so-called “Gang of Eight,” who are working on immigration reform, toured the U.S. border in Nogales, Ariz., last week in full showboat mode, an illegal alien scaled an 18-foot border fence nearby and was arrested in view of the group.

And how many illegals that same day crossed the border without running into U.S. senators?

That didn't concern this group of “fact-finders.” Instead, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., offered this remarkable observation: “One of the things we learned is that a lot of people (who) cross the border are doing it for drug purposes too.” No kidding.

The bipartisan group insists that any pathway to citizenship for more than 11 million illegals in the U.S. must be contingent on measurable advances in border security, The New York Times reports. But exactly how is that defined?

The Obama administration says it has made significant gains on border enforcement. Yet two years after Homeland Security vowed to produce new, more accurate standards to assess the nation's borders, senior Homeland officials recently acknowledged these new measures have not been devised and they don't expect them anytime soon, The Times reports.

So, amid the bluster that an immigration deal is nigh, there's nothing to suggest that the nation is any closer to comprehensive border security.

And without measurable border enforcement, the case for immigration reform follows the same ol' circular cow path that leads nowhere.

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