AID FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 27, 1996 IMMIGRATION THE SALINA JOURNAL Jobs motivate illegal immigrants 'I can take the hunger,' Mexican immigrant says, 'but the kids can't' By PAULINE ARRILLAGA Tlie Associated Press McALLEN, Texas — It's 7:30 on a weeknight in this town along the Mexican border, and while most families are clearing away the dinner dishes, Ramiro de Anda and Leo Laurel are leaving for work. Armed with flashlights and binoculars, pistols and handcuffs, the two men hop in a Ford Bronco and head toward the dimming sun. "I'm ready to rock 'n* roll!" hoots De Anda, who at 42 has been a Border Patrol agent for 13 years. He has been back in the field for only four months now, after eight years preparing cases against aliens and smugglers. At 51, Laurel is the veteran of the pair. He has worked all of his 27 years with the Border Patrol on the line, as it's called, and cynically at his partner's enthusiasm. "When I was at his age, I thought I could change the world," Laurel says. "Now I see the reality." As Congress finishes work on legislation that would nearly double the size of the Border Patrol to about 10,000 agents and speed the deportation of aliens, law officers on the front line doubt the extra manpower will stop the men and women they see every night from illegally entering the United States. "They could put a million agents on the border, and it would- Photos by The Associated Press Two illegal Immigrants, including 16-year-old Jorge Nunez (left), wait for deportation processing after they were caught crossing the Rio Grande River near the Texas-Mexico border in Hidalgo, Texas. n't stop immigration," Laurel says. "It's an economic thing. They've got nothing to lose." **** On this night, the action is elsewhere. Back in the truck, the radio crackles with voices of other agents reporting hits on sensors hidden to detect movement. De Anda and Laurel go off to help their colleagues with the paperwork. At a cramped processing station in Hidalgo, a tiny town just south of McAllen and an international bridge, 10 illegal immigrants file through the door. One is a woman, the rest are men and boys. One by one they sit before an agent and answer the questions, familiar to most: name, age, city of residence, why they are here — the latter more rhetorical than anything else, because the agents already know the illegals are here for the jobs. For Jorge Nunez, the process is hardly daunting. At 16, he esti- mates he has crossed the border illegally at least 100 times, and he started only two years ago. A resident of Reynosa, he crosses over to work at a used-clothing store in McAllen where he makes $30 a day, a rich man's salary compared with the $5 a day most laborers earn in Reynosa, if they can find work. Rodriguez has heard about the proposed law to get tougher on illegal immigrants. "Laws or no laws," he says, "I'm still coming over." Reymundo Sanchez feels the same. Sanchez, 30, who also lives in Reynosa, says he hasn't been able to find work there in four months. With two small children and a wife to feed, he decided to try his luck in the United States. He says he is less afraid of the law here than he is of starving back in Mexico. "It's a terror being over there because you can feel the death when your children are asking you for food and you have none," he says. "I can take the hunger. My wife can take it, too, but the kids can't. "I don't care if they put soldiers on the border; hunger would still make me cross." Border Patrol agents process two illegal immigrants who were captured Tuesday crossing the Texas-Mexico border in Hidalgo, Texas. Off berry-bearing Shrubs Hurry in for best selection! O RISE & WALK ... The Dennis Byrd Story DENNIS BYRD, defensive lineman for the New York Jets, was happy-go-lucky and full of pranks, but at the same time deep- thinking and devout with an abiding faith in God. 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