Friday, May 25, 2012

"The Shadow Catcher" by Hipolito Acosta (2012)

This is a very exciting, and quickly read book. The author, Hipolito Acosta, is a 30 year veteran of the Immigration and Naturalization Service. His exploits are the stuff of which legends are made; and indeed; Mr. Acosta has become just that. This is a man who had himself smuggled from Mexico into the United States, not once, but twice. Each trip was an infiltration of the human trafficking rings which operate with impunity, using human beings as pawns in an effort to enrich themselves.

The author, himself an American of Latino descent, was raised in the Redford, Texas region, the son of migrant workers. During those years the United States and Mexico had an agreement in place, allowing for the Mexicans to come work in the United States for the harvesting of various crops, before they had to return home. This system was put into place during the last years of World War Two, when manpower on the home front was at a premium. The program was discontinued in 1964 due to abuses by both sides of the agreement. The Mexicans did not always go home, as required; while their American hosts were also making veritable slaves out of many. This, many believe, was the beginning of today’s illegal Immigration problem.
When Mr. Acosta turned 17, he joined the U.S. Navy, and shortly after his discharge he was married. He then joined the INS, in which he spent 3 decades working on the problem of illegal immigration. He has many stories from his time as an agent, including 2 trips in which he had himself smuggled into the United States in order to verify, and ultimately take down, several human trafficking operations, as well as a very well organized document forging operation.

Along the way Mr. Hipolito has encountered not only danger from the criminals he seeks to bring to justice, but also apathy from within the very agencies he is working for. Through all of the frustration, and danger, he keeps true to his course, managing to outwit those who would rather see him dead, as well as circumventing the forces from within the INS, which would keep him from doing his duty.

A compassionate man, he has also found the time to make a difference in several lives along the way, helping some of the most needy of the victims obtain residency in the United States.

His first trip as human cargo was from Juarez to Chicago, with a stop in a “safe” hose in Compton, California. The tensions, and indignities which people go through in order to reach America, by whatever means necessary, will give the reader a new appreciation of having been born here. There are very few countries which people try to sneak into, as opposed to ones in which they are trying to sneak out of.

A very informative book with great insights into the money, and human drama, which takes place each day as the INS fights a seemingly endless war. That this war is fought not only against the illegal immigrants and the cartels which serve them, but also against forces within our own government, make this a must read for those who wish to fully understand the depth of the illegal immigration problem.

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