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July 26, 2001

July 26, 2001

QUESTION: The other day I saw the Border Patrol arresting a group of illegal immigrants. With the group was a little girl, about age 7. Does the U.S. Attorney's Office ever prosecute smugglers or the parents for child endangerment? — Observer, Calexico

Never. There is no federal child endangerment law, according to U.S. Attorney Pete Lewis, who supervises the U.S. Attorney's Office operations in Imperial County.

If such a prosecution is indicated, it would be up to the local prosecutor's office under state law, Lewis said.

If there were an especially egregious case of endangerment causing serious injury or death to a child, we think federal prosecutors could find a federal statute to cover the offense.

QUESTION: Do the people putting water in the desert do anything to keep the water cold? If not, it must be pretty warm when the illegal aliens get to it. Do they know if crossers are drinking the water? — Concerned, El Centro

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There's no way to keep the water cool but the people distributing the water say the undocumented immigrants are taking the water. That's why the volunteers go out every weekend to replenish the supplies. Sometimes the crossers leave their empty bottles in place of the full ones.

QUESTION: We bought an energy efficient refrigerator with a promise of a cash rebate. Three months later we still don't have the rebate.

On May 7 we sent in our rebate forms by certified mail. On May 10 we received our rebate number with the promise that someone would pick up the old refrigerator. When nobody picked up the appliance or called, we called. After 10 calls in two weeks, we learned nobody would pick up the refrigerator that week.

We reported this to Carol at the Imperial Irrigation District. She told us we did not qualify because we had not sent in the form. We faxed our proof of mailing to Laura in Compton.

It's almost August and we still have our old refrigerator but no rebate. What's going on? — Waiting, Seeley

IID spokeswoman Sue Giller said the Compton-based truck is scheduled to pick up your old refrigerator Monday. Giller said the Compton transportation company was waiting until there was a full load of old refrigerators here before sending down the truck.

If there is a change of plans, we assume somebody will call you, but don't count on it. And don't count on getting a check for a couple of weeks after the pickup.

NAPALITOS ON THE SIDE — I had forgotten but the verde lagas do grow thicker near Holtville. By the way, you spelled "verde lagas" wrong. It's not verdes, it's verde. — Gourmet, Calexico

Everybody is a critic.

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