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On ICE, aka ‘La Migra’

Tom James

ICE is handy if you want a cold drink, not so much if you’re driving on the highway or if you are from another country.

ICE, of course, stands for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. It seems like these boys and girls have been really busy lately, ridding the country of people who pose a threat to our national security. Hogwash.

In my time, we just called them “La Migra,” and they didn’t dress like soldiers and carry automatic weapons.

I have had the wonderful opportunity over the years to work with many people who may or may not have been “legal” residents. They were all hard-working, dependable men and women who were here because there was no way for them to make a living in their home countries. They came to the U.S. and gladly took jobs digging ditches or mowing grass or washing dishes, all jobs that are hard to fill with American workers.

I look back with great pleasure at the number of times we outran, outmaneuvered or just flat out outsmarted La Migra.

One time, I had seven men with me in a four-door truck – two in the front seat, three in the backseat and two in the bed of the pickup – and I was pulling a ditching machine. We were headed toward Arlington, Texas, on Interstate 30. I spotted a “puke green” car ahead of us and slowed down. The car slowed down, too. Pretty quickly, we were the only two rigs on the highway goin’ 30 miles per hour. I knew I couldn’t outrun them, but I wanted to give the guys a chance.

I eased toward an exit ramp and La Migra took the bait. The car made a giant move to cut me off, so I just eased right around him and pulled over.

Before I got stopped, the guy ridin’ shotgun already had the door open and was dragging his feet, looking toward the rear of the truck. For a second or two, it was like making Jiffy Pop popcorn, as all the boys made a run for it in every direction. La Migra agents were hot on their heels.

There I was, on the side of highway with every door on the pickup but mine open and men runnin’ everywhere. They didn’t catch a one of them!

An agent in a corduroy sports coat slipped on the grass and rolled down the hill like the top scoop of ice cream falling off a cone. He started cussing at me before he got all the way back up and came straight to the pickup and leaned in the passenger side door.

Damn he was mad, but as he said, it was too much of a pain in the rear to arrest me. With some parting obscenities, the agents left.

It took me four hours to find the guys, and none of us knew where the hell we were. I just looked for places that I’d hide in if I was in their shoes. Back on the road, we all had a great laugh!

ICE can melt in hell. Meanwhile, watch yore topknot.

Tom James was riding horses before he could walk. He currently hangs his hat in Ignacio. Reach him at outlivedthemallsofar@gmail.com.

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