Illegal Dominican Immigrants Survive Capture, but Their Gamecocks' Fate Is a Mystery

By David North on June 3, 2018

It was a fairly routine story about five illegal aliens being captured in an old wooden boat at sea near Puerto Rico — except for the other three passengers.

They were, according to the Border Patrol press release, "three roosters".

Illegal aliens do not routinely bring animals with them, and I suspected that the birds were, shall we say, under-defined. I called the Border Patrol press office in Puerto Rico and the agent on the other end of the phone was relaxed and helpful.

Yes, he agreed, they were fighting gamecocks; they had not been, as one might expect, inspected by a veterinarian, and thus being both illegal entrants and suspected of possibly carrying diseases, they were seized by the USDA inspectors.

In Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands — all once parts of the Spanish Empire — cockfighting is legal, as it is not on the mainland. So it is OK to have a cockfight on these islands, but it is not OK to bring in combatants without inspection. The USDA, in short, was not acting out of a concern for anything except disease.

But what would happen to the birds? The BP spokesman did not know. I then started a round of phone calls to USDA press offices in Washington, Miami, and San Juan, and kept being referred to another number. I finally found a USDA person in Puerto Rico and he insisted that the Customs and Border Patrol people must have seized the critters.

I suspect the birds — unlike the human entrants — were destroyed as dangerous to the island's poultry flocks, but I was curious — and still am — were they killed and incinerated or did they become someone's dinner? Should you throw out three good meals for three families on a very poor island?

One thing is pretty sure though, the three will not be repeat offenders.