News From the Border

Providing the news from a different front but from a war that we must win as well! I recognize the poverty and desperate conditions that many Latinos live in. We, as the USA, have a responsibility to do as much as we can to reach out to aid and assist spiritually with the Gospel and naturally with training, technology and resources. But poverty gives no one the right to break the laws of another sovereign nation.

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Aliens hiding in mobile home arrested

Yuma sector Border Patrol agents arrested 45 illegal aliens who had been packed into a motor home Monday morning near Andrade, Calif. The patrol made the bust after receiving a phone call from the Bureau of Land Management, informing agents of the motor home, according to a Border Patrol news release. The 45 subjects were all in good condition, the release said.


Border Patrol rescues five illegals in area desert
By Blake Schmidt, Sun Staff Writer

With the help of a rescue beacon and a tip from an illegal alien, Yuma sector U.S. Border Patrol agents rescued five illegal immigrants from two separate groups this weekend, according to a Border Patrol news release.

So far this fiscal year Yuma sector agents have rescued 129 illegal aliens — nearly three times the number of rescues that had been made by this time last year, which was a record year.

On Saturday evening, a rescue beacon was activated by three illegal aliens in the desert southeast of Wellton and about 35 miles south of Interstate 8, according to the patrol.


New Details of Mexico's 'Dirty War'

A leaked draft from an inquiry commissioned by President Fox finds the government guilty of crimes against humanity in 1960s and '70s.
By Héctor Tobar
Times Staff Writer

MEXICO CITY — The Mexican government and military committed "crimes against humanity" through a "scorched-earth" campaign against rural guerrillas in the 1970s, according to a draft report released Sunday of the first official investigation into Mexico's "dirty war" against leftist rebels and activists.

The investigation by the country's "Special Prosecutor for Social and Political Movements of the Past" was commissioned by President Vicente Fox about a year after his election in 2000 ended decades of one-party dominance here. The Washington-based National Security Archive published the leaked draft Sunday on its website.

"The authoritarian attitude with which the Mexican state wished to control social dissent created a spiral of violence which … led it to commit crimes against humanity, including genocide," the draft report says.

The alleged crimes outlined in the report were committed from the mid-1960s to the late 1970s under three Mexican presidents. The special prosecutor, Ignacio Carrillo Prieto, received the report from a team of 27 researchers in December.

Military and security forces executed or "disappeared" hundreds of Mexican civilians and "armed militants," the report says. Thousands more were tortured or illegally detained.


Tennessee suspends alien license program

By Joyce Howard Price

Tennessee yesterday suspended a program that issued driving certificates to illegal aliens, after recent federal investigations showed widespread abuse.

The decision comes as Maryland lawmakers are considering a similar program.

The shutdown in Tennessee followed a series of arrests in recent months that exposed scams such as shuttle services that brought illegals from other states to obtain driving certificates unlawfully and bribes paid to state license examiners who provided illegals with drivers' licenses and certificates without testing.


Pa. senator's plan would let migrants work legally
Mike Madden
Republic Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - Millions of undocumented immigrants who came to the United States before 2004 could work legally under a new plan that the Senate will start debating next week. If passed, it would bring sweeping changes to border security and immigration laws.

The plan would set up a temporary-worker program, letting an unlimited number of foreigners work for three years, which could be extended for another three years if they paid a $500 fee and passed security and medical checks. Spouses and dependent children could come, too.

Employers would have to certify that no U.S. worker could be found for the job first. Temporary workers would have to leave after their six years expired and could not apply for a green card without going through channels, a provision similar to one in Kyl's proposal with Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, who also sits on the Judiciary Committee.

Undocumented immigrants who have been working in the United States since before Jan. 4, 2004, could pay the same fee and get legal permission to work without first leaving the country, as in the McCain-Kennedy plan. Yet unlike that bill, Specter would not allow a guaranteed path to a green card or citizenship. His plan would increase the number of green cards available through regular channels, but not by enough to cover the millions of undocumented immigrants here now.

But the bill includes no requirements to cut fraud in the Social Security system, as both Kyl's and McCain's bills do, nor does it establish a new, tamper-proof credential to prove identity for temporary workers.


3 weekend incidents near the border net 2,300 pounds of pot


Law enforcement authorities seized about 2,300 pounds of marijuana over the weekend in three separate incidents near the border.

At 6:30 a.m. Saturday on U.S. 191 north of Douglas, U.S. Border Patrol agents encountered two men driving a stolen Dodge pickup heading north, according to Johnny Bernal, spokes-man for Border Patrol's Tucson Sector.

When the agents attempted to stop the vehicle, the men turned around and headed back south. Agents temporarily lost sight of the pickup but found it again near Arizona 80 and Golf Course Road in east Douglas. There, the two men hit an impassable wash and ran from the pickup. Officers from the Douglas Police Department and Immigration and Customs Enforcement got involved and helped capture the men, who were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Agents found 659 pounds of marijuana in the truck, Bernal said.

Later that morning at 9:30 a.m., a 25-year-old woman drove a U-Haul truck through the Border Patrol's immigration checkpoint on Interstate 19 north of Rio Rico after agents asked to inspect the truck further, Bernal said. Border Patrol agents caught the woman on a frontage road near Carmen and discovered 1,329 pounds of marijuana packed in 68 duct-taped bundles in the truck, Bernal said.

Sunday morning on Arizona 82 just north of Patagonia, Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies found 364 pounds of marijuana in an abandoned 1998 Chevy van, said Sheriff Tony Estrada. He said the driver probably had car problems and abandoned the load.

The street value of the drugs seized is about $1.176 million.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bodies of two Yumans found in Mexico
By Blake Schmidt, Sun Staff Writer

SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. — The skeletal remains of two murder victims that were found buried on the outskirts of this Mexican border city last week have been identified as two men from Yuma, according to Crispin Castro, a state prosecutor at the local Ministerio Publico del Fuero Comun office in San Luis Rio Colorado.

The remains of Marcos Bracamontes, 18, and Carlos Alberto Aguilar Reyes, 21, were identified by family members on Friday, more than five months after the two were reported missing, Castro said.

According to the Mexican state police report, both bodies were found with adhesive tape around the ankles and mouths, and with bullet holes in their heads.

Reyes' skull had two bullet holes in it — one in the back , and one in the center front, the report said.

Bracamontes' skull had one bullet hole in the back.

"It appears to be an execution," Castro said.


Military, Border Patrol unite to secure border
By Blake Schmidt, Sun Staff Writer

SAN LUIS, Ariz. — On the U.S.-Mexican border just east of the U.S. Port of Entry at San Luis, Ariz., the U.S. Army, Marines and Border Patrol are coming together for a project to build not one, but three, walls between two nations.

Alongside an existing fence, they are erecting a two-mile-long, 15-foot-tall wall and an additional two-mile length of chain-link fencing, thus forcing illegal border crossers to scale three fences in order to gain entry to the United States.

The additional barriers will help agents to make apprehensions "more efficiently" in urban areas such as around San Luis, said Michael Gramley, spokesman for the Border Patrol's Yuma sector.


Mexican incursion confirmed
By Jeffrey Gautreaux, Sun Staff Writer

The U.S. Border Patrol has confirmed that a Mexican government helicopter crossed into the United States Tuesday evening.

The unmarked helicopter crossed into the U.S. near San Luis, Ariz., at 6:30 p.m. and traveled along the Colorado River for approximately a half a mile before returning to Mexico, according to a Customs and Border Protection release.

"After proper coordination and verifications with the government of Mexico, they confirmed that the helicopter belonged to the Mexican Attorney General's Office (PGR) and had mistakenly and unintentionally crossed into U.S. airspace," the release said.

PGR is the federal police force that investigates federal offenses, predominantly drug trafficking and organized crime.

Local border watcher Flash Sharrar, who saw the helicopter while on patrol near County 12th Street, remained steadfast that the helicopter was carrying Mexican soldiers, not federal agents. "That was Mexican military," he said. "You could see the uniforms."


129 illegals caught near Wellton
From Staff Reports

A group of 129 illegal aliens were apprehended by U.S. Border Patrol agents from the Wellton station around 11:30 a.m. Monday.

"It is very unusual for us to apprehend a group this size in the Yuma sector," said Michael Gramley, Border Patrol spokesman.

Gramley said a Customs and Border Patrol helicopter was tracking group and caught up with them on the east side of the Gila mountains, about 10 miles Southwest of Wellton.

The pilot of the helicopter radioed ground units from the Wellton station, guiding them to the location of the group, which was traveling on foot.

"This is obviously an organized smuggling attempt," Gramley said. "We are actively investigating in order to identify smugglers in the group."

Gramley said the aliens were transported to the Wellton station where they will be processed.


Illegal aliens robbed trying to cross into U.S.
From Staff Reports

Forty-four illegal aliens were robbed twice Tuesday morning, first on their way into the United States and again once they crossed the border.

The Yuma County Sheriff's Office responded at 8 a.m. to County 18-1/2 Street and the Colorado River near Gadsden for the group who had been apprehended by the Border Patrol. Those in the group said they had been robbed in Mexico and then robbed again after they crossed the border.

"I don't know of anything they could have had left," said YCSO Capt. Eben Bratcher.

YCSO said the second robbery occurred just across the border. The illegal aliens were lined up and searched at gunpoint by four unknown suspects. The suspects were looking for wallets and any other items of value, YCSO said.

"It was the same modus operandi (as previous robberies)," Bratcher said. "They wait for them, they rob them and then they run back across the border."


More illegal aliens robbed in U.S.
By Jeffrey Gautreaux, Sun Staff Writer

After 44 illegal aliens were robbed at gunpoint Tuesday morning near Gadsden, five more were robbed that evening in the same vicinity.

At 11 p.m., the group was robbed by at least four unknown suspects at County 18-1/2 Street and the Colorado River. The victims said the robbers were armed with a revolver, according to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office.

Unlike past illegal alien robberies, where the suspects flee back into Mexico after committing the crime, the four suspects may have stayed in the United States. The victims said they believed the suspects were from the San Luis area, said YCSO Capt. Eben Bratcher.


Sheriffs to go before D.C. panels
More leaders will testify about border violence
Michael D. Hernandez
El Paso Times

The chorus of border sheriffs asking for greater support from the federal government is expected to grow this week in Washington, D.C., during congressional hearings addressing violence in communities near Mexico.

The Texas Border Sheriffs' Coalition has tapped sheriffs Todd Garrison of Doña Ana County and Larry Dever of Cochise County in Arizona to help provide testimony during Thursday's House subcommittee hearing titled, "Outgunned and Outmanned: Enforcement Confronts Violence Along the Southern Border."

"Whatever Congress decides to improve our situation should also go for the entire Southwest," El Paso County Sheriff Leo Samaniego said about inviting his colleagues from New Mexico and Arizona. "We want to show solidarity and provide Congress with what the other sheriffs have experienced."


Binational accord targets sexual exploitation
By Anna Cearley
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

TIJUANABaja California's attorney general signed an agreement yesterday to work more closely with a binational group that is attempting to combat the sexual exploitation of children and women along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Under the accord, the Bilateral Safety Corridor Coalition will hold a series of workshops with the agency's police and staff on the special needs of sex crime victims.

“This formalizes what we have been doing for various years: Providing better attention to the victims of exploitation,” said state Attorney General Antonio Martínez Luna, before signing the document at his agency's Tijuana office.

Tijuana is considered a prime area for sexual exploitation due to its border location. Some young people come from other parts of Mexico because they can earn more money working as prostitutes for U.S. clients. Other U.S. citizens come to produce pornographic publications or Internet sites.


Immigration loophole leads to spread of fake-ID mills
By Leslie Berestein
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

In the pre-dawn hours one late-November morning, federal agents with search warrants raided the Oceanside and Riverside offices of Golden State Fence Co., carting out boxes filled with payroll documents.

It was the second time in a year and a half that the Riverside-based fencing company was busted for hiring undocumented workers. During that period, federal investigators auditing the company's payroll records had found that 157 of its employees – close to one-third of the workers at the Oceanside and Riverside locations – were in the country illegally.

To get those jobs, nearly all of them had presented phony identification: Investigators found counterfeit green cards, Social Security cards and California identification cards. A criminal investigation into the company's hiring practices continues.

As politicians and activists raise the pitch of their arguments to stop illegal immigration at the border, scant attention has been paid to the legal loopholes that make it easy for employers to hire undocumented immigrants, creating an irresistible economic pull that undermines border enforcement.


Troops-on-border debate heats up, widens

The Associated Press
PHOENIX - At one time, just the staunchest advocates for cracking down on illegal immigration backed the idea of putting National Guard troops along the Mexican border.

Now the idea has the blessings of Arizona's governor and has cleared half of the Republican-led Legislature.

The public's frustration with Arizona's role as the busiest illegal entry point has breathed new life into the idea, with a recent poll showing nearly two-thirds of voters favor it.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Taking some time off this week in Tahoe!

Posting will resume Monday, February 27th!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hearing is set for 6 accused of smuggling
By Onell R. Soto

Six men accused in a smuggling attempt that ended with a violent crash in Otay Mesa on Friday afternoon are scheduled to appear in federal court today for a judge to decide whether they may be held without bail while awaiting trial.

Border Patrol agents and witnesses identified three of the men as van drivers and the three others as foot guides who led more than 90 people across the border north of the Tijuana airport into an area west of the Otay Mesa border crossing.

Two of the men are felons who have been deported before, a Border Patrol agent said.


Mexico warns of long drug fight, more deaths ahead

MEXICO CITYMexico warned Tuesday of a long fight against drug traffickers and more deaths among security forces after two police chiefs were shot dead near Texas.

A spokesman for President Vicente Fox said the fatal shootings on Monday would not deter the government in its ”frontal attack against organized crime.”

More than 1,000 people died last year as gangs battled for control of lucrative smuggling routes to Texas from northeast Mexico, many in Nuevo Laredo across from Laredo, Texas.


Mexican media: Tape allegedly shows governor, businessman plotting to jail journalist
By E. Eduardo Castillo

MEXICO CITY – A Mexican governor and prominent businessman discussed plans to jail a journalist accused of libel, according to a tape of their alleged conversation that was released Monday in the Mexican media.

The tape, which arrived anonymously to La Jornada newspaper and W Radio, reportedly records Puebla Gov. Mario Marin and a businessman talking about their plans to jail Lydia Cacho, a Cancun journalist who published a book about networks of pedophiles and child pornographers.


Government: Police who are scared of drug gangs should not be in job
By Ioan Grillo

MEXICO CITY – The Mexican government warned Wednesday that officers who are scared of being attacked by drug gangs should not be in law enforcement, despite a wave of killings of top police officials.

Ruben Aguilar, spokesman for President Vicente Fox, said that the government “recognized the heroism” of all public officials killed in the line of duty, but said authorities will not stop fighting drug cartels until all the their members are in prison.

“It takes a lot of courage to confront organized crime. Those who are scared should not be there,” Aguilar said in a news conference.

On Monday, two police chiefs were shot and killed within hours of each other in the towns of Sabinas Hidalgo and San Pedro Garza Garcia in a northern Mexico, where drug gangs have been battling for control of smuggling routes into the Unites States.


Nearly $5M worth of drugs seized in and near Nogales

Federal officials seized nearly $5 million in drugs on the border this week at and near Nogales.

On Monday, Border Patrol agents reported intercepting two northbound pickups that had entered illegally west of Nogales. The pickups turned around and headed back toward Mexico.

One became stuck, prompting the occupants to abandon the trucks and run off. Inside the abandoned pickups, agents found 4,926 pounds of marijuana loaded in bundles, worth about $3.9 million on the street, according to a Border Patrol press release.

In two incidents Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found $910,000 worth of cocaine and methamphetamine. About 2:10 p.m., a drug-detection dog helped officers at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry find 47 packages of drugs inside a pickup, according to an agency press statement. Officers removed the packages and found more than 40 pounds of methamphetamine and 23 pounds of cocaine.

Officers arrested a 30-year-old man from Nogales, Sonora, and turned him over to the Santa Cruz County metro task force.


House committee OKs border wall

Barrier would be erected at selected spots along state's 375-mile border with Mexico.
The Associated Press
PHOENIX - A legislative committee wants state voters to approve building a border wall to keep illegal immigrants out.

There is no cost estimate for the wall.

A state House of Representatives committee approved it 8-1 yesterday.

It would be funded with a tax on electronic funds transfers.

If the proposal clears the Legislature and is approved by voters in November, the wall wouldn't stretch the full length of Arizona's 375-mile border with Mexico, but would be built in spots where radar and other sensor technology couldn't stop the flow of immigrants, said Republican Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa, sponsor of the proposal.

"Whatever it takes," said Pearce, the Legislature's staunchest advocate for reducing illegal immigration.

Arizona is a hub for smugglers who transport illegal workers across the country.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Border Patrol: El Salvadoran sex offender picked up
DEMING, N.M. (AP) - Border Patrol officers have arrested a registered sex offender from El Salvador who they say was trying to cross into the United States in southern New Mexico.

35 year-old Francisco Estanislaos-Mendoza was one of five people apprehended Saturday 15 miles west of Columbus during a routine patrol.

Mendoza had been deported from the United States in 1998. He's now being held in Luna County pending federal prosecution for re-entering the country.

The Border Patrol says Mendoza has eight previous arrests in California for charges ranging from rape to drug possession dating back to 1987.

Records show he was convicted in 1991 for burglary, in 1992 for assault to commit rape and 1997 for battery.


Attacks add urgency to DHS push for border technology
By Wilson P. Dizard III,
Contributing Staff Writer
The Homeland Security Department highlighted its determination to deploy advanced technology along U.S. borders to stem illegal immigration, drug smuggling and violence as part of a comprehensive program that will also use additional personnel, detention beds and fences.

The Bush administration’s Secure Border Initiative is gathering steam amid increasing violence at the border in the form of attacks on Border Patrol agents, officials said.

Yesterday, DHS secretary Michael Chertoff told reporters at a briefing that the department would continue with plans to field advanced technology via the program. “The department intends to build an integrated border security system,” Chertoff said.


New Mexican checkpoints find 5 illegal Iraqi immigrants

SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. — Five illegal aliens from Iraq carrying fake passports were among 736 illegal immigrants apprehended in San Luis Rio Colorado, Mexico in 2005, according to National Institute of Migration (INM) statistics, the arm of the Mexican government that regulates immigration.

Almost all of those apprehensions, including the five Iraqis, were made at checkpoints the agency set up in the last quarter of 2005 as part President Vincente Fox's Secure Mexico plan.

Primarily because of the checkpoints, the INM's apprehensions of illegal immigrants in San Luis Rio Colorado are 14 times what they were in 2004, according to the director of the San Luis Rio Colorado INM office Ismael Miranda Cruz.

Due to the success of the checkpoints, the INM has started up the most active checkpoint — located on Mexican Highway 2 East of San Luis Rio Colorado — again this year.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Rise in Assaults on Officers Worries Border Patrol
By Stephen Barr

Assaults against Border Patrol officers appear to be on the increase -- from gunshots fired to rocks thrown.

"Let me tell you, rockings are serious," said Michael Chertoff , secretary of homeland security. "You can get serious injuries when a rock . . . hits a Border Patrol agent."

According to David V. Aguilar , the Border Patrol chief, there were 374 assaults against officers in fiscal 2004 and 778 assaults in fiscal 2005. Since Oct. 1, the start of the fiscal year, there have been 192.

More than 80 of those assaults have been in the San Diego area. Officers also were shot at three days in a row in late January near Laredo, Tex. "Luckily, none of our officers were hit," Aguilar said.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

U.S. Cites Rise in Violence Along Border With Mexico

WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 — Mexican criminal syndicates are stepping up their attacks on American agents patrolling the border as officials of the Homeland Security Department intensify efforts to stem the flow of immigrants and drugs into the United States, American officials said this week.

In recent months, scores of Border Patrol agents have been fired upon or pelted with large stones as well as with cloth-covered stones that have been doused with flammable liquid and set ablaze. Since October, agents have been attacked in more than 190 cases, officials said on Thursday.

Most of the attacks have occurred along the Mexican border near San Diego, but shootings have also been reported along the border in Texas near the cities of Laredo and McAllen. In the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, there were 778 attacks on agents, up from 374 in the previous fiscal year, Homeland Security Department officials said.


A War in Mexico: Drug Runners Gun Down Journalists

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico, Feb. 8 — René Martínez had just sat down to edit a batch of articles at 7:50 Monday evening when he heard the heavy tread of military boots just outside the newsroom and then, suddenly, like a scream on a quiet night, blasts of machine-gun fire.

The newsroom of El Mañana descended into panic. Reporters dived to the floor and crawled under desks. Bullets from high-powered weapons tore through glass and walls. One of the two heavily armed gunmen screamed a threat. Then a grenade went off and the air filled with dust and smoke, Mr. Martínez recalled.

But the brazen attack on El Mañana, the biggest newspaper here, underscored an ugly truth: Mexico has become one of the most dangerous places to practice journalism, outside of Iraq. Drug dealers and corrupt police officers regularly kill those who write about them, leading most reporters to censor themselves, journalists say.

The Committee to Protect Journalists, a New York-based organization, says that at least four journalists have been killed in the last six years in direct reprisals for their reporting on drug dealers, and that one young investigative reporter from Hermosillo, Alfredo Jiménez Mota, is missing and presumed dead after writing about a drug gang called Los Numeros.


Phoenix treats cheating laborers as a criminal act
Daniel González
The Arizona Republic

Standing in a grimy north Phoenix parking lot one chilly morning last week, Nemecio Martinez had no idea whether he would get hired. All around him were dozens of men waiting for the next pickup truck to roll in looking for day laborers. In a good week, Martinez might get hired six days. In a bad week, only three.

Martinez said unsteady work is part of life for day laborers. What is harder to swallow, he said, is getting ripped off by unscrupulous employers who hire workers and then don't pay. "These kinds of employers are thieves," said Martinez, 37, who lost $560 in wages after being stiffed twice this year.

A byproduct of overwhelming waves of undocumented immigration and a demanding growth market, wage theft is rampant among low-wage workers. Especially for day laborers like Martinez who form an integral part of the Valley's workforce and get paid under the table.


Man in fleeing truck shot, killed at border
By Alexis Huicochea

A man was shot to death Thursday night at the Douglas port of entry as he attempted to run down at least two Customs and Border Protection officers, an official said Friday.

The incident occurred around 9:10 p.m. when the Douglas Police Department was trying to pull a vehicle over for speeding, said Sgt. Mark Wilkinson, a department spokesman.

As the officer was trying to catch up to the driver, the truck ran a red light, at which time the officer radioed in to warn the port of entry that the vehicle was heading toward them, Wilkinson said.

The man, whose name has not been released, was trying to drive into Mexico but was unable to get through the port because there were vehicles in the lanes, said Brian Levin, a Customs and Border Protection spokesman.

He then drove the truck, which was stolen, at high speed into the inspection area of the port of entry where several officers were standing, Levin said.

Two officers who were in the vehicle's direct path each fired one shot at him, he said.


Girl left at Cruces store is reunited with mother
Dolores M. Bernal
Las Cruces Sun-News

LAS CRUCES -- A 2-year-old girl found abandoned early Wednesday morning at a Pic Quik convenience store in Las Cruces has been returned to Mexico.

The child, Carmen Aguilar Luna, was placed under the care of Mexico's Family Development Institute in Chihuahua, said Socorro Cordova, a spokeswoman for the Mexican Consulate in El Paso.

New Mexico's Children Youth and Families Department contacted the consulate after the child was identified as being from Mexico, Cordova said.

The consulate's office arranged the child's trip back to the Mexican state of Chihuahua, where she is from.

The girl's mother, Janete Luna, 21, was arrested early Wednesday by Las Cruces police when she and nine other people tried to illegally enter the United States, Border Patrol spokesman Doug Mosier said.


21 injured in van crash on 905
Vehicle carrying 28 tried to elude Border Patrol
By Tanya Sierra
and Joe Hughes

OTAY MESA – Twenty-one illegal immigrants were injured yesterday when one of three vans being chased by the U.S. Border Patrol overturned on state Route 905, plummeting down a 30-foot embankment and scattering passengers over a wide area.

Eight of the more seriously injured were quickly taken to four hospitals, although none of the injuries was life-threatening. Thirteen others were treated at a triage center set up on the roadway before being taken to hospitals.


Border sheriffs seek reinforcements

"There is no way to sugarcoat this: There is a culture of corruption in Mexico," Mr. Bonner said, demanding that the U.S. government insist "in clear and unambiguous terms" that the incursions cease.

Texas border sheriffs pleaded Tuesday for more federal help to confront Mexican drug trafficking cartels that are arming themselves with more powerful weaponry and deploying tactics that pose an ever-greater danger to U.S. law enforcement.

Appearing before a congressional panel examining border incursions allegedly by Mexican soldiers protecting drug shipments, the sheriffs of El Paso and Hudspeth counties detailed deteriorating conditions in a region where rival cartels are locked in deadly competition.

Just a week after federal authorities confiscated caches of explosives and high-powered weapons in Laredo, Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West predicted that cartels will soon rig their drug loads to detonate if seized by law enforcement.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Agents rescue four illegals lost in desert

Four illegal aliens who had wandered in the desert for three days were found by the U.S. Border Patrol after nearly five hours of searching Wednesday in east Yuma County.

Around 5 p.m., the group called 911 from a cellular phone and said they were lost somewhere southeast of Yuma. They said they had crossed the border three days earlier, had been without water for a full day and that two people could no longer walk, according to a Border Patrol release.


Six illegal aliens injured in desert crossing

Six of 25 illegal aliens packed into a pickup that illegally crossed the border were hurt Wednesday night during the bumpy trip across the desert. The Border Patrol apprehended the entire group and provided aid to the injured.

"One was unconscious, and several complained of neck and back injuries," said Yuma sector Border Patrol spokesman Michael Gramley. "Another had a friction burn from being repeatedly thrown against the side of the vehicle."


Armed assailants rob illegal aliens near Gadsden

Three illegal aliens were robbed by armed assailants Wednesday night near Gadsden after crossing into the United States — the latest in a string of border robberies.

The victims told U.S. Border Patrol agents that four men were hiding on the U.S. side of the border and waiting for them as they crossed. The four men held them at gunpoint, took $200 and then fled to Mexico, according to the Yuma County Sheriff's Office.


"Threat is real"
Perry announces plan to boost border law enforcement

Brandi Grissom
Austin Bureau

AUSTIN -- Gov. Rick Perry announced "Operation Rio Grande" on Thursday, another effort to increase security along the Texas-Mexico border that includes rapid response teams, undercover surveillance, investigative units and regional SWAT teams.

"There is not only great concern that the drug trade is becoming more aggressive, but that terrorist organizations are seeking to exploit our porous border," Perry said.

Through Operation Rio Grande, Perry said, the state response to border incidents would be streamlined and more law enforcement officials would be available to respond to and investigate crimes. While local law enforcement officers applauded the program, others worried it might deter legitimate border crossings and said Mexican officials should be included in security plans.


Border agents discover shallow, incomplete tunnel
Latest find is just inches below road
By Onell R. Soto

An incomplete cross-border tunnel was discovered yesterday in about the same area west of the San Ysidro border crossing where two similar tunnels have been found since January.

The tunnel, the kind that agents sometimes call “gopher holes,” extended from just south of the border fence to a point about 23 feet into the United States, ending at a concrete levee, said Border Patrol spokesman Richard Kite.

A Border Patrol agent noticed a distortion in the road running along the border fence overnight, Kite said, and agents digging in the area found the tunnel several hours later.


Mexico won't back down in support of war crimes tribunal, despite U.S. military cuts
By Ioan Grillo

MEXICO CITYMexico said Thursday it will stand firm in pushing for the right of an international war tribunal to prosecute U.S. soldiers, despite the fact that the decision will cost it more than US$1 million in U.S. military funding to fight drug gangs.

The U.S. government opposes the court, arguing that it could be used for frivolous or politically motivated prosecutions of American troops.

Mexico has been overwhelmed by drug-related violence, which has left more than 1,000 dead across the country in 2005, many in towns along the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Tony Garza has repeatedly urged the Mexican government to do more to stop the drug smuggling cartels.


Cops: 7 rings making fake IDs shut
The Associated Press

PHOENIX - Seven fraudulent document rings were shut down yesterday when 16 people were arrested and accused of helping make or sell the type of fake IDs and other records used by illegal immigrants, authorities said.

The operations sold a package of drivers licenses, Social Security cards and "green cards" and could produce "three packs" of the documents within 40 minutes of an order, said Leesa Berens Morrison, leader of a task force of police focusing on fraudulent IDs.


Yuma's border arrests up, Tucson's down this fiscal year
The Associated Press

TUCSON - Arrests of illegal immigrants in western Arizona have increased about 10 percent but slowed by the same percentage across the rest of the state's border with Mexico this fiscal year, Border Patrol spokesmen said Friday.

Officials believe the shift is a reflection of more control being asserted on the agency's Tucson sector, the nation's busiest location for illegal crossings. That's causing smugglers to relocate their operations west or east in response.

"I think what's happening is that as they're gaining more operational control of their border, it's a push-and-pull," said Claudia Delgado, a spokeswoman in the Border Patrol's Yuma sector.

"What we're dealing with is a displacement of the illegal alien traffic to the east and west," said Luis Garza, spokesman for the agency's Tucson sector - which covers most of Arizona's border with Mexico.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Dope-fighting deputies told to back off from border
Mariano Castillo
Express-News Border Bureau

LAREDO — Unidentified men thought to be drug cartel operatives threatened the safety of the Hudspeth County deputies who thwarted a smuggling operation east of El Paso on Jan. 23, along with their families.

Hudspeth County Chief Deputy Mike Doyal said three men inside a black and red Ford Bronco approached the wife of one of the deputies last Thursday and made a threat before driving across the Rio Grande into Mexico.

"They told her that her husband and the other officers needed to stay off the river down there," Doyal said.

On Friday, a Hudspeth deputy in the Fort Hancock area received information a cartel was talking about putting together a "death squad" to target the deputies, Doyal said.

Alien smuggling suspect shoots at Ariz. Border Patrol officers
Associated Press

U.S. Border Patrol agents were fired on by a suspected immigrant smuggler west of Yuma Tuesday night, officials said.

The gunfire came at the end of a 20-mile chase of a motorhome packed with illegal immigrants, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael Gramley said.

The incident began about 10 p.m. Tuesday when a citizen called in a tip about a large group of apparent immigrants who were seen getting in the motor home several miles west of Yuma. Agents tried to stop the motor home as it drove west on Interstate 8 near Andrade, Calif., but the driver wouldn't stop until the tires were flattened by a spike strip after about 20 miles.

As the vehicle stopped, the driver reportedly fired one shot from a pistol at the agents, striking the rear tail light of a Border Patrol vehicle. The driver and 22 illegal immigrants got out of the motor home and began running. All were captured.

The agents apparently didn't realize they had been fired upon until some of the immigrants warned them.

"As they began apprehending several people fleeing from the vehicle, several of them stated that someone in the vehicle had a gun and had fired a shot,' Gramley said.

The driver was a 26-year-old U.S. citizen from San Diego who wasn't identified. The Border Patrol turned him over to the FBI and will seek unspecified charges.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Border Patrol Union Says Needs US Military

By Sher Zieve – Speaking before a Congressional Homeland Security committee on Tuesday, the president of the National Border Council TJ Bonner said that it needs US military personnel to take up strategic positions along the US-Mexico border. The National Border Council represents 10,500 Border Patrol Agents.

Bonner told the House Homeland Security subcommittee on Investigations: "If the Mexican military is coming into the United States, our law enforcement agents do not have the training to deal with that.” Although Mexico continues to deny that the Mexican military has engaged in incursions into the US and has said they are drug smugglers posing as the Mexican military, the Daily Bulletin reports that Texas officials believe that it may be both.

Three Convicted in Immigrant-Smuggling Case

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

HOUSTON — A jury Wednesday convicted three people in the nation's deadliest human smuggling attempt, in which 19 people died after being left inside an airtight truck trailer.

The defendants, all U.S. citizens, were convicted of conspiracy to harbor and transport illegal immigrants, as well as other counts, and all face life in prison.

They were accused of hiding and transporting some of the immigrants before the group was packed into the trailer in South Texas. The jury had to decide whether each defendant was responsible for the smuggling of each immigrant involved.

Victor Sanchez Rodriguez, 58, was found guilty of eight counts of harboring and nine counts of transporting illegal immigrants. His wife, Emma Sapata Rodriguez, 59, was found guilty of eight counts of harboring and six counts of transporting; and her half-sister, Rosa Sarrata Gonzalez, was convicted of one count of harboring. Each was acquitted of other counts.

More than 70 illegal immigrants had crowded into the back of the tractor-trailer rig to be hauled from South Texas to Houston in May 2003. As they traveled, they began to succumb to the rising heat inside the airtight trailer.

- Note that although they are all U.S. Citizens, the defendants are all latino. Why would they do this to their own? -mm

Border Patrol, sheriffs take differing views on border incursion
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The chief of the Border Patrol urged U.S. House members Tuesday not to lose sight of the daily dangers faced by federal agents as the lawmakers respond to a recent confrontation between law enforcement and military-uniformed drug smugglers along the Rio Grande.

Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar said agents regularly encounter individuals hurling rocks at them from across the Mexican border, ramming their vehicles and sometimes firing at them.

"I do not want in any way to minimize the seriousness of each and every one of these incursions. I also do not want leave the impression our borders are under siege by the government of Mexico entities or people attempting to pass themselves off" as being with the Mexican government, Aguilar said.


Mexican army burns seized pot, cocaine
By Blake Schmidt, Sun Staff Writer
Photo By Jacob Lopez/The Sun

SAN LUIS RIO COLORADO, Son. — Two billowing black plumes of smoke reached into the sky at the Mexican army's 22nd Regiment Base Tuesday as soldiers set ablaze more than 4 tons of marijuana and 20.5 kilograms of cocaine.

Law enforcement heads from Mexico and the United States gathered at the ceremony to celebrate a small victory in the war on drugs.

The burning bricks were from just two weeks of seizures the Mexican military has made at highway checkpoints on the outskirts of San Luis Rio Colorado, according to Gerardo Carranza, representative of the state attorney general's office in San Luis Rio Colorado.


Border plan swells budget
Bush wants billions more to secure crossing
Mike Madden
Republic Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON - The Bush administration wants billions of dollars for 1,500 more Border Patrol agents, 6,700 new beds in immigration detention facilities, increased prosecution of employers of undocumented workers and other border security measures.

Spending on the two main border and immigration agencies, Customs and Border Protection and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, would go up by $1.3 billion, an increase of nearly 14 percent.

That includes $317 million to hire, train and equip 1,500 new Border Patrol agents, as well as $41 million for about 200 new ICE agents to investigate employers who break laws against hiring undocumented workers.

The budget would devote almost $300 million to construction of 6,700 new detention beds, allowing officials to process 100,000 more immigrants caught entering the country illegally, and $94 million to return them to their home countries quickly.


Customs officers find pot stashed in load of squash

For the second time in less than a week, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have prevented an attempt to smuggle more than a half-ton of marijuana hidden in a tractor-trailer rig.

The latest incident occurred Monday when officers working at the Nogales port of entry found more than 1,400 pounds of marijuana hidden in a rig carrying squash, according to a news release from the agency.

"Snap," a drug-sniffing dog, alerted officers to the odor and as they unloaded the rig, they found 85 bales of marijuana, worth about $1.5 million, hidden among pallets of squash, the release said.

The driver of the rig, a 45-year-old man from Nogales, Sonora, was arrested and turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.


Mexican newspaper curtails gang coverage
Associated Press Writer

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico (AP) -- The owner of a Mexican newspaper in this violent border town said Tuesday there will be no more investigative coverage of drug gangs, a day after the paper's offices were sprayed with bullets and a reporter hospitalized with five gunshots.

Under the new policy, El Manana will only report the basic facts of drug-related killings and will avoid mentioning names or doing any follow-up reporting.

"Zero investigations into the narco," the paper's owner, Ramon Cantu, said Tuesday while more than 50 state and federal police guarded his offices. The wounded reporter, Jaime Orozco Tey, remained hospitalized Tuesday in serious condition.


Horn speech puts focus on border issues
Board chairman delivers State of County address
By Leslie Wolf Branscomb
Union-Tribune Staff Writer

Supervisor Bill Horn delivered an attention-grabbing State of the County address last night that assailed illegal immigration, border security, medical marijuana and gangs.

“The border has become a war zone,” Horn declared in the speech before an audience of about 400 at the California Center for the Arts, Escondido.

Horn decried the recent discovery of the longest cross-border tunnel ever, a half-mile passage linking Tijuana to Otay Mesa, which authorities say was used to smuggle drugs. He said it was a reminder that the area is vulnerable to the importation of chemical, biological and nuclear weapons.


Fresh calls for probe in Mexico after gunmen storm newspaper
By S. Lynne Walker
Copley News Service

ACAPULCO, Mexico – An attack on a newspaper in the violence-plagued border city of Nuevo Laredo brought renewed demands yesterday for investigations into the slayings and disappearances of Mexican journalists covering the country's escalating drug war.

Jaime Orozco Tey, a veteran reporter for the newspaper El Mañana, was critically injured after being shot five times by masked gunmen who burst into the offices of the fiercely independent paper Monday night and began firing on the reception area with assault rifles.

As Orozco lay in critical condition in a Nuevo Laredo hospital with a bullet lodged in his spine, President Vicente Fox ordered the federal preventive police to protect the newspaper, whose owner, Ramón Cantú, said his reporters no longer will investigate drug trafficking.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Mexican Soldiers Helped Smugglers Along Border, Lawmakers Told

Feb. 7 (Bloomberg) -- Mexican soldiers have illegally entered the U.S. and fired at Border Patrol agents, sometimes in support of drug-smuggling operations, a Texas law enforcement officer and a union official told a congressional panel today.

Armed soldiers have entered the U.S. on at least three occasions in recent years, the officials said, and last month soldiers in military vehicles helped drug smugglers flee back across the border after being chased by deputy sheriffs.

``We have a problem with a wide-open and unsecured border,'' Arvin West, sheriff of Hudspeth County, Texas, said in prepared testimony before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Investigations.

Immigration push aimed at employers, Napolitano
Associated Press Writer

PHOENIX (AP) -- Republican legislators mounted a broad assault on illegal immigration on Monday with measures to impose new sanctions against employers who hire illegal immigrants and to put Democratic Gov. Janet Napolitano on the spot for calling for sending more National Guard troops to the border.

Other immigration-related bills approved by the House Committee on Federal Mandates and Property Rights included one that attacked illegal immigration through multiple approaches on a situation that has seen Arizona become the busiest crossing point for illegal border crossers.


Bush wants $42 million for new port

Ambitious plans to build a new commercial port five miles east of the existing U.S. Port of Entry in San Luis, Ariz., are another step closer to becoming a reality.

The Bush Administration is asking Congress to approve $42 million for the design and construction of San Luis II, a proposed four-lane commercial port. The money for the port is in the $2.77 trillion fiscal year 2007 budget President Bush is asking Congress to approve.

"I'm just happy we received the attention we needed. This is an asset for the country and for the region. We need a better port and I think everyone recognizes that fact," said Greater Yuma Port Authority Board President Gary Magrino.


Alleged pot smuggler faces 2 felonies

A felony complaint was filed Monday in Yuma Justice Court against a 39-year-old man suspected of smuggling more than 70 pounds of marijuana in the gas tank of his car.

Pablin Cruz-Marmolejo, whose address is listed as a post office box in San Luis, Ariz., was charged with transportation of marijuana for sale and possession of marijuana for sale in a brief arraignment before Justice of the Peace David Cooper.


Border Patrol agent fires at vehicle

A Yuma sector Border Patrol agent opened fire on a van that was accelerating at him while he was on foot Sunday morning near the U.S. Port of Entry at Andrade, Calif., according to Border Patrol spokesman Michael Gramley.

After having received a citizen call that a van loaded with illegal immigrants was headed northbound on Andrade Avenue, the agent had pulled over the van at about 7:15 a.m. Sunday morning just south of the All American Canal bridge, according to Gramley.

The van stopped in the middle of the road near the bridge, and the driver fled.

When the Border Patrol agent got out of his vehicle, he found 24 illegal aliens inside the van.


Ariz. border incursion under investigated
Incident near Arivaca involved copter
Susan Carroll
Tucson Bureau

After long downplaying the number of incursions along the Southwestern border, top Border Patrol officials now acknowledge such incidents are all too common. Over the past decade, the Department of Homeland Security has reported 231 incursions along the border, including 63 in Arizona. Homeland Security defines an incursion as an unauthorized crossing by Mexican military or police, or suspected drug or people smugglers dressed in uniforms.

Incursions gained international attention after the Sheriff's Office in Hudspeth County, Texas, reported on Jan. 23 that men dressed as members of the Mexican military provided cover for drug runners near the Rio Grande.


House bill funds Guard border duty
Puts $10M in budget for governor to send troops to stop illegal crossers
By Howard Fischer

PHOENIX — Unwilling to wait for federal help, a House panel voted unanimously Monday to use state tax money to deploy the National Guard along Arizona's southern border.

The proposal would put $10 million into the budget for Gov. Janet Napolitano to mobilize at least some of the state's 4,000 Guard troops.


'Creative' smugglers hide pot in canned food
By Djamila Grossman

Drug smugglers have proved very creative when shipping loads across the border, but hiding marijuana in cans of jalapeños and tomatoes is one of the more unusual cases, officials say.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers in Sasabe seized 34 pounds of marijuana Thursday, hidden in 10 food cans, said Brian Levin, an agency spokesman. Another part of the stash was found in the hollowed-out walls of a cooler filled with ice and sodas.

The driver, an 18-year-old man from Queen Creek, was arrested.

"For a while, that can is going to take the cake," Levin said. "This was one of the more elaborate attempts — it required creativity."

Smugglers have come up with many tricks to hide their drugs over the years, Levin said. Officers have found marijuana mixed in with cucumbers, drugs hidden in baby diapers and in children's backpacks, stuffed into body openings or strapped to the body, hidden in car tires, gas tanks or inside dashboards.

On Friday, officers in Nogales, Ariz., found 1,000 pounds of marijuana hidden between the outer and inner walls of a tractor-trailer rig carrying bricks, according to an agency press release.

"They have hidden it anywhere you can hide something," Levin said of drug smugglers.


Suspect in '94 slaying is returned to Mexico
Louie Gilot
El Paso Times

A man who allegedly robbed and killed a cab driver in 1994 in Mexico and fled to the United States was turned over to Mexican authorities at the Stanton Street bridge Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said.

Noe "El Gremlin" Tamayo Renteria, 30, an undocumented immigrant living in a trailer park in a Chicago suburb, was arrested last month, officials said. He and an accomplice are accused of shooting Jorge Gasca Luna in the head inside Luna's taxi in the Mexican state of Guanajuato.


Sheriffs to testify about problems on the border
Jake Rollow
El Paso Times

The sheriffs of El Paso and Hudspeth counties are expected to testify today before a congressional subcommittee in Washington, D.C., about the standoff last month near Sierra Blanca in which U.S. officers squared off with armed drug smugglers -- some of whom were dressed as Mexican soldiers.

Sheriff Leo Samaniego of El Paso and Sheriff Arvin West of Hudspeth County were invited to testify by Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, Chairman of the Homeland Security Committee's Subcommittee on Investigations, who initiated an investigation following the standoff.

Mexican officials have denied that the Mexican military was involved and have launched their own investigation.


State sues developer for alleged 'colonia' sales
Associated Press Writer

HARLINGEN, Texas (AP) -- The state is suing a Cameron County developer for selling residential land plots without water and sewage service in violation of laws meant to stop the spread of shanty towns known as colonias, Attorney General Greg Abbott said Monday.

Colonias proliferated during the 1980s when developers sold parcels of unimproved land outside city limits at easy terms - often to recent Mexican immigrants. There are now an estimated 2,300 colonias dotting the Texas-Mexico border.


Mexican man pleads not guilty in U.S. to dirty-bomb hoax
By Kelly Thornton

A Mexican man accused of fabricating a story about Chinese terrorists sneaking into the United States with a nuclear warhead was extradited to San Diego over the weekend.

José Ernesto Beltran Quinonez entered a plea of not guilty in federal court yesterday, more than a year after the hoax that prompted a massive investigation, federal warnings, discussions at President Bush's security briefing and a nationwide hunt for the group of Chinese supposedly plotting an attack.


Founder of civilian patrol hopes to lead a 'revolution' in immigration reform
By Gillian Flaccus

LAGUNA WOODS – Jim Gilchrist can speak nonstop for more than an hour about the flood of illegal immigration that he predicts will bring America to its knees. But he can also talk warmly about his Mexican son-in-law and his half-Mexican “grandbrat.”

The distinction is not a complicated one for Gilchrist: His son-in-law is legal, while the immigrants he targets with his all-volunteer civilian border patrol, the Minuteman Project, are not.


Gunmen fire assault rifles, grenade at newspaper office in Mexican border city, wounding reporter
By Jorge Vargas

NUEVO LAREDO, Mexico – At least four unidentified assailants fired a hail of bullets from assault rifles and tossed a grenade into a building housing a newspaper in the violence-wracked border city of Nuevo Laredo on Monday, wounding one reporter seriously.

Reporter Jaime Orozco Tey of the daily newspaper El Manana was wounded in the attack and was in serious condition at a local hospital.

Bullet holes were left in the walls of the office building and glass was shattered; Ramon Cantu, director of the El Manana and an afternoon newspaper, La Tarde, said the offices' reception area was practically destroyed.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Patrol agents seize half-ton of pot near Felicity, Calif.

El Centro sector U.S. Border Patrol agents seized more than a half ton of marijuana Saturday near the Border Patrol checkpoint on Interstate 8 near Felicity, Calif. The 1,042 pounds of drugs have a street value of $833,760, according to a Border Patrol release.

At 1:30 p.m., a Border Patrol agent at the checkpoint saw an Imperial County Sheriff’s deputy stop a white 1993 Ford truck just east of the checkpoint. The agent went to assist and had a drug-sniffing dog inspect the vehicle, the release said.

The dog alerted to the vehicle and investigation revealed 76 bundles of marijuana hidden in a false compartment in the cargo area of the truck, the release said.

A 32-year-old male U.S. citizen was the truck's driver. The driver, vehicle and marijuana were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

© Copyright,


Blacks sour on illegal immigrants
By Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a columnist for, an author and political analyst and an obvious liberal, but it is still an interesting turn of events -mm

Near the close of a recent spirited community forum in south Los Angeles on black and Latino relations, a young black man in the audience stood up and proudly, even defiantly, shouted that he was a member of the Minuteman Project. This is the fringe group that has waged a noisy, gun-toting, headline-grabbing campaign to shut down the U.S. border to illegal immigrants. GOP conservatives and immigration reformers denounce the group's borderline racist rants.

The rhetoric of the anti-immigration group didn't seem to faze the young man or many of the other black people in the audience who nodded in agreement as he launched into a finger-pointing tirade against illegal immigrants who he claimed stole jobs from black workers. He punctuated his harangue by loudly announcing that he had taken part in a Minuteman border patrol back in April.


Border Task Force Seizes Improvised Explosive Devices, Weapons Caches
Jim Kouri

Federal agents assigned to the Department of Homeland Security’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force or BEST, in Laredo, Texas, have seized materials for 33 Improvised Explosive Devices, grenade components, large quantities of assault weapons, rifles, silencers, machine gun assembly kits, bulletproof vests, police scanners, narcotics and cash.

On January 27, 2006, BEST task force officers from the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Laredo Police Department executed a search warrant at a location in Laredo. The search revealed two completed Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and materials for making approximately 33 more IEDs.

Agents also discovered 300 primers, 1,280 rounds of ammunition, 5 grenade shells, 9 pipes with end caps, 26 grenade triggers (14 with fuses and primers attached), 31 grenade spoons, 40 grenade pins, 19 black powder casings, as well as 65 firearm magazines, a silencer, and other firearms components.


Arizona politicians want police in immigration fight

PHOENIX (AP) - Lawmakers are considering an aggressive approach for trying to lessen Arizona's role as the busiest gateway for sneaking into the country: devoting squads of the state police to catch illegal immigrants who slip past federal border agents.

Over the years, many officials have resisted suggestions for local and state police agencies to confront illegal immigration, long considered the sole province of the federal government. But the notion is gaining political traction as the public's frustration with the state's porous border with Mexico grows.


Texas officials facing fight on two fronts Border watchers want issues heard
Sara A. Carter, Staff Writer

San Bernardino County Sun SIERRA BLANCA, Texas - Sheriff Arvin West sat behind his desk, winced and realized he was in one of the biggest battles of his life. He is heading to Washington next week to testify before the Subcommittee on Homeland Security far from his home on the Texas plains - far from the cotton fields, Rio Grande Valley and the small town that he holds dear.

West, sheriff of Hudspeth County, is considered a giant in his neck of the woods, and he'll need all his strength to battle the international incident that has landed at his front door.

"It's a two-way battle we're fighting between the drug wars, which includes Mexico's corruption," West said Saturday from the sheriff's office. "And we're also fighting the American government to get them to listen to us.

What used to be generations of American families living peacefully with their southern neighbors, mainly migrant farm workers crossing the desolate frontier, has now become a portal for drug cartels, human smuggling and international gang members who have discovered the United States' most vulnerable doorway.

Next week, members of the Texas Sheriffs Border Coalition will also be facing what they describe as Washington's apathy.


Illegals taking advantage of Tennessee's lax system

A couple of years ago in this space, we warned against a bill then pending before the Tennessee legislature that sought to allow illegal immigrants to obtain state driver's certificates.

Sponsors argued at the time that illegals were going to drive regardless, and that it was better to allow them to take a driver's test and receive a certificate of driving so they at least would be familiar with the rules of the road.

We argued the bill would encourage illegal immigration, fraud and other abuses. And that is exactly what has happened.

According to recent media reports, federal officials have uncovered sophisticated black-market shuttles carrying South American and Central American illegals from as far away as New Jersey to Tennessee licensing centers where they have obtained driving licenses and driving certificates on the strength of fake claims of residency.

There's no way to know how many illegals have abused the system in this way, but it's a matter of record that the state of Tennessee has issued more than 51,000 driving certificates since the state legislature approved them in 2004.


Home-buying program has cash, controversy

Undocumented residents being recruited for loans
By Janine Zúñiga

A major U.S. bank has funded its first home loans to undocumented Mexican immigrants in San Diego County in a move that targets a lucrative, wide-open market while providing new grist for the debate over illegal immigration.

The local program, which uses tax identification numbers instead of Social Security numbers, is similar to programs run by small lenders – and two state agencies – around the country that have distributed millions of dollars to undocumented immigrants over the past few years.


Many reasons Mexicans abroad didn't register to vote
By David Gaddis Smith

Many voters in Mexico are apathetic, so it is no surprise that many Mexicans living outside the country also are apathetic about elections, a Mexican scholar said last week, suggesting that is why only about 50,000 of the millions of Mexicans living abroad registered to vote by mail by last month's deadline.

Mexicans “also distrust the Mexican postal system,” Raul Rodríguez of CETYS university in Tijuana said at a Trans-Border Institute forum at the University of San Diego.

Absentee votes are not going to make much of a difference in Mexico's July 2 presidential election, said Todd Eisenstadt, a political scientist at American University. The vote of Mexicans living outside the country this year “will probably be a dress rehearsal for the vote abroad in 2012,” he said.

Mexico's federal Electoral Institute came under harsh criticism for all the rules and regulations it established for the vote. The forum participants said the barriers discouraged registration.