The President himself was in Merida for the Mexican leg of his lightly-covered five-nation tour of Latin America. NBC was the only network to have a reporter file on Bush's talks with President Felipe Calderon, but even that was a brief stand-up. Kelly O'Donnell told substitute anchor Campbell Brown that immigration topped the agenda over education, employment, narcotics and security: the 700-mile border fence is "very unpopular here. President Calderon has even compared it with the Berlin Wall."
With this news hook, CBS' Byron Pitts updated us on the lawsuit against the Poconos town of Hazelton Pa for imposing a municipal crackdown on those local landlords and employers who rent to immigrant tenants or hire immigrant workers without legal papers. The law has already encouraged some Latino families to move out of town, Pitts reported. If the Hazelton law stands, 30 towns nationwide stand ready to take over immigration enforcement from federal authorities, with a further 70 debating it.
For NBC's In Depth, Don Teague went to the border itself at Eagle Pass Tex and came to the same conclusion that CBS' Kelly Cobiella drew two weeks ago: jailing clandestine border crossers for as little as two weeks on misdemeanor charges instead of immediate deportation is enough of a deterrent to reduce the volume of illegal entry by 37% along one 200-mile sector of the Rio Grande. Border Patrol agents told Teague they were "putting teeth behind what immigrants once considered little more than a game.
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