Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Illegals Returned to Mexico

Some would argue our lax immigration laws are for the birds.

But trying getting some birds here and see how quickly law enforcement reacts.

U.S. Returns Smuggled Birds to Mexico
SAN DIEGO (AP) - They were caught coming into the U.S. illegally from Mexico, sedated and hidden under blankets or in duffel bags. On Wednesday, 149 parrots and parakeets seized from smugglers were sent home.

The neon-green birds, which had been held in quarantine for up to 18 months on U.S. soil at San Diego's Otay Mesa border crossing, were handed over in cages to Mexican authorities. They will be returned to native habitats in southern Mexico or kept for breeding purposes if veterinarians determine they cannot survive in the wild.

Strict quarantine rules, partly in response to outbreaks of exotic Newcastle disease in California, have created a thriving black market for pet birds, authorities say. Talking parrots like those returned Wednesday—some cawing in Spanish or calling for "Lolita"—can fetch up to $1,000 apiece.

"This is all about money," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Anne Perry, whose prosecution of animal smuggling cases has earned her the nickname "Bird Lady." "It's all about getting around the quarantine, which can be very expensive."
If only the birds hatched while here, then Geraldo would argue they should be allowed to stay.

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