On Saturday, I read an interesting story on the front page of the News & Observer It was entitled Border watch heightens crossing peril and it told a story stating that it is now much harder for illegal immigrants to cross the Mexico-US border into the US.
Although the article sounded authentic, it just felt "funny", like a Bush administration plant. So I sent email to Barbara Barrett, the author of the article, and cc'd Melanie Sill, the N&O's Executive editor and senior vice president (I met Melanie many years ago and respect her highly).
I am very pleased with Ms Barrett's reply, which I received this morning. It highlights the major reason that I subscribe to the N&O and to the NY Times, namely that we need actual reporters on the ground telling us what they see. While I am a big fan of blogs such as BlueNC, we generally don't have people doing investigative reporting.
In fact I would suggest that newspapers indicate when their own reporters are actually in the field. This might help show us the worth of their product.
Here is Ms Barrett's reply to my email:
I can assure you that I spent the past week in Arizona and Mexico, in three different Mexican border towns of various sizes, all along the Arizona border. I talked with dozens of migrants, with local residents, with humanitarian activists as well as Border Patrol agents. I watched people cross into the United States and saw Border Patrol agents try (and fail) to hunt them down.
Part of the story's point is that the stepped-up security is a message that migrants are receiving, and it is pushing many migrants into far more dangerous territory, away from the urban areas where than just dash across, and into the more rugged desert and mountain landscapes. During the week we were there, eight people died trying to cross in one area of Arizona, including two children.
I hope this helps answer your questions. Thanks so much for reading and taking an interest.
The News & Observer
And here is Melanie Sill's reply:
Barbara was (and is) on the US-Mexico border covering the N.C. Guard unit's deployment there. Her account was based on several days of reporting and interviews with, among other sources, immigrants trying to cross who said it has become much more difficult.
Now I'll sit back and wait for Anglico to flame me!!
-- George Entenman