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.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Border Patrol agents sentenced to prison

11-12 years for shooting drug-smuggling suspect in buttocks as he fled across frontier
Posted: October 20, 2006 5:00 p.m. Eastern
© 2006

Two U.S. Border Patrol agents were sentenced to prison terms of 11 years and 12 years for shooting a drug-smuggling suspect in the buttocks as he fled across the U.S.-Mexico border.

U.S. District Court Judge Kathleen Cardone in El Paso, Texas, sentenced Jose Alonso Compean to 12 years in prison and Ignacio Ramos to 11 years and one day despite a plea by their attorney for a new trial after three jurors said they were coerced into voting guilty in the case, the Washington Times reported.

As WorldNetDaily reported, a federal jury convicted Compean, 28, and Ramos, 37, in March after a two-week trial on charges of causing serious bodily injury, assault with a deadly weapon, discharge of a firearm in relation to a crime of violence and a civil rights violation.

Ramos is an eight-year veteran of the U.S. Naval Reserve and a former nominee for Border Patrol Agent of the Year.

In a move that still confuses Ramos and Compean, the U.S. government filed charges against them after giving full immunity to Aldrete-Davila and paying for his medical treatment at an El Paso hospital.

At trial, Assistant U.S. Attorney Debra Kanof told the court that the agents had violated an unarmed Aldrete-Davila's civil rights.

"The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled it is a violation of someone's Fourth Amendment rights to shoot them in the back while fleeing if you don't know who they are and/or if you don't know they have a weapon," said Kanof.


Rules of engagement
What's your reaction to the sentencing of 2 Border Patrol agents who wounded smuggler?

Mexico arrests former police commander in 1974 disappearances of 6 alleged guerrilla members


4:57 p.m. October 20, 2006

MEXICO CITY – Special prosecutors have arrested a former commander of Mexico's now-disbanded secret police in connection with the 1974 disappearance of six alleged guerrilla members, officials said Friday.

Jorge Bustos, a commander with the defunct Federal Security Directorate, was arrested Thursday in Mexico City and sent to a local jail where he's awaiting charges, said Jose Luis Contreras, a spokesman for a federal special prosecutor investigating past crimes.

Contreras said Bustos arrested six members of the Brigada Lacandona, a 1970s guerrilla faction, who disappeared after Hidalgo state authorities turned them over to the federal intelligence agency. The fate of the men remains unknown.

Throughout the 1960s and '70s, small bands of Marxist guerrillas attacked the army and agents of the Federal Security Directorate. The government responded with a so-called “dirty war” to weed out suspected rebels and activists accused of supporting them.

The National Human Rights Commission has documented the disappearance of at least 275 suspected rebels.

Activists block government buildings, continue hunger strike to oust Mexican governor

By Rebeca Romero
1:40 p.m.
October 17, 2006

OAXACA, Mexico – Leftist activists blockaded government offices across the southern state of Oaxaca on Tuesday to pressure federal senators to remove the state's embattled governor.

A Senate committee was meeting in Mexico City discussing whether to send a bill to remove Gov. Ulises Ruiz, on the grounds that he has lost control of his state.

Tuesday's blockades were carried out by hundreds of activists from the Oaxaca People's Assembly, a mix of trade unionists and leftists. The assembly accuses Gov. Ulises Ruiz of rigging the 2004 election to win office and sending groups of thugs against opponents.

More than 2,000 of the assembly's members have blocked Oaxaca's colonial state capital for months, building barricades, burning buses and taking over radio stations. The police have effectively been run out of town.

Some Oaxaca activists have camped out in Mexico City to support their demands and on Monday about 20 of them began a hunger strike.

The senate is divided along party lines over the issue.

Leaders debate plan to legalize drugs in Mexico

By Sandra Dibble

TIJUANA – A former governor's proposal that drugs be legalized in Mexico has set off a sharp debate in this region plagued by drug-related violence.

In the days since Ernesto Ruffo Appel brought up the subject at a business forum in Mexicali, it has drawn the attention of political, civic and religious leaders across the state.

“If someone wants to prick their veins, let them do so,” Ruffo, a member of the National Action Party, or PAN, said on Friday. “But they should no longer be allowed to drag down governments.”

The issue of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs has come amid a growing outcry against violence in Baja California, much of it related to drug trafficking. On Saturday, the Citizens Front for Security is expected to begin a 16-day march through the state to bring attention to the region's crime problems.

Mastermind of international alien smuggling organization sentenced to 9 years

Socorro, Texas, man conspired with other ‘coyotes’ to smuggle more than 1,500 illegal aliens.

EL PASO, Texas - A U.S. district judge on Friday sentenced the leader and organizer of a major alien smuggling network to nine years in federal prison and three years' supervised released for his role in a criminal enterprise that smuggled and transported more than 1,500 illegal aliens into the United States. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) conducted the two-year investigation.

Samuel Walter Jarvis, 54, of Socorro, Texas, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Frank Montalvo, to 108 months in federal prison. Judge Montalvo also ordered that Jarvis pay a $5,000 fine. ICE special agents arrested Jarvis and 14 other members of two alien smuggling organizations in January. They were all charged with conspiracy to smuggle aliens.

On Aug. 7, Jarvis pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to smuggle aliens. Jarvis admitted that from March 2003 to December 2005, he led a ring that was responsible for smuggling aliens into the United States and transporting them from El Paso to the Dallas area.

“ICE will continue to seek the prosecution of unscrupulous smugglers who operate ruthlessly with no regard for the human beings whose lives they endanger,” said David F. Fry, acting special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in El Paso.

New Jersey operation nets 111 fugitive alien and other immigration status violators

NEWARK, N.J. – U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers fanned out across New Jersey targeting dozens of known fugitive aliens in an intensive seven-day operation that resulted in the arrest of 111 fugitives and illegal aliens. Dozens of ICE officers participated in Return to Sender, a national operation that targets, locates and apprehends immigration fugitives.

Sixty-five of those arrested were targets of the operation that have outstanding warrants of removal. Another 46 individuals were apprehended because they are illegally in the United States. Of the 111 people arrested 34 have criminal records.

Beginning on the morning of October 12, teams of ICE officers in New Jersey targeted fugitive aliens: those who have been ordered deported by immigration judges but who chose to defy the court’s order. Those arrested during the ICE operation come from 22 different countries, including: Mexico, Brazil, Columbia, Egypt, Guatemala, Ecuador, Syria, India, and Peru.

Gang Beheadings Common in Central Mexico

Oct 21, 11:38 AM EDT

Associated Press Writer

VILLA MADERO, Mexico (AP) -- The drug lords at war in central Mexico are no longer content with simply killing their enemies. They are putting their severed heads on public display.

In Michoacan, the home state of President-elect Felipe Calderon, 17 heads have turned up this year, many with bloodstained notes like the one found in the highlands town of Tepalcatepec in August: "See. Hear. Shut Up. If you want to stay alive."

Many in Michoacan's mountains and colonial cities are doing just that: They are tightlipped, their newspapers are censoring themselves and in one town, 18 out of 32 police officers quit saying they had received death threats from drug smugglers.

In the most gruesome case, gunmen burst into a nightclub and rolled five heads onto the dance floor. In another, a pair of heads were planted in front of a car dealership in Zitacuaro, a town best known until now as a nesting ground for monarch butterflies.

By a highway outside Tepalcatepec, suspected drug smuggler Hector Eduardo Bautista's tortured body was dumped on July 10. Near a black metal cross put up by his family at the spot, killers apparently avenging his death have been leaving severed heads - five so far - each with a threatening message.

On-the-run sex offender is nabbed crossing border


After spending three years on the run, a Tucson man who pleaded guilty to attempted sexual conduct with a minor was apprehended on Sunday as he entered the United States from Mexico, an official said Wednesday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Douglas port of entry, about 100 miles southeast of Tucson, encountered Francisco Castro Bustamante, 64, during the routine screening of those applying for admission into the country, said Brian Levin, a spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection field operations office.

Levin said Bustamante is a Mexican citizen with legal permanent residency in the United States, which means he has permission to live and work in this country.

While checking his name for connections to terrorist organizations, immigration violations or warrants, officers discovered he was wanted in Pima County, according to a press release from Customs and Border Protection. Bustamante failed to appear for sentencing after pleading guilty in 2003 to attempted sexual conduct with a minor in the second degree and preparatory dangerous crimes against children, according to the release.

Guard's hands-off approach tightens border security

By Brady McCombs
Photo by james gregg / Arizona Daily Star

Perched on a hilltop near the border in the rolling hills east of Nogales, National Guard Tech. Sgt. Nick Livingston and his crew scan the horizon from east to west looking for illegal border crossers.

With rifles at their sides, binoculars around their necks and bulletproof vests underneath their camouflage fatigues, Livingston, 33, of Cincinnati, and three other Guardsmen form one of the entrance identification teams that stand post next to army-green tents along the Mexican border.

They aren't allowed to apprehend illegal entrants or leave their post. Their mission is to be extra eyes and ears for the Border Patrol. They did that well, said Border Patrol officials who credit the Guard with playing an integral role in slowing illegal entrant traffic across the Arizona border this summer.

"As soon as they got here, we noticed a big drop in apprehensions and entries," said Gustavo Soto, Border Patrol spokesman.

Border Patrol officials point to decreases in apprehensions, which they use to gauge illegal-entrant traffic, and border deaths as evidence of the Guard's impact. A heavy monsoon and increases in agents and fencing also played a part in the decreases, said agency officials and experts.

Latin Americans send $60B home

Chances U.S.-generated cash will spur growth there called limited
The Associated Press
Published: 10.19.2006

Latin Americans working outside their countries will send $60 billion home this year, a 12 percent increase over 2005, the Inter-American Development Bank said Wednesday.

Bank officials who have studied the flow of money since 2000 said the potential for the money fueling development south of the border is limited.

The estimated 30 million families receiving the money across Latin America usually have limited access to banks and other means of saving, and they mostly use the cash for necessities such as groceries.

To aid that effort, the Mexican government last week announced a renewed push to offer loans for immigrants in the United States to build houses in their native Mexico, in hopes of persuading them to return home eventually and meanwhile to create jobs in Mexico.

The bank reported that Latin Americans sent $53.6 billion home in 2005, with Mexico receiving the biggest chunk, $20 billion, followed by Brazil with $6.4 billion.

KCMT DJ expected to be sent back to Mexico

Said to be in U.S. illegally

The Associated Press
Published: 10.21.2006

A Mexican national working at a Spanish-language radio station in Tucson as a disc jockey and program manager was detained by immigration authorities and is expected to be deported because he was in the country illegally, authorities said Friday.

Jose Abel Castro-Lopez, 44, was detained Thursday at his home shortly before his KCMT radio show was to begin, said Lauren Mack, a spokeswoman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Video Sheds Light on Mexican Pledge Controversy

After parents in Freeport expressed outrage over a Velasco Elementary School assembly last month, KTRH News has obtained a video that answers some questions about what really happened.

By Scott Braddock

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The video shows children waving small Mexican flags [SEE VIDEO] and a volunteer reciting the pledge. [SEE VIDEO].

Whether students also recited the Mexican pledge remains a point of contention.

Several parents have told KTRH News that students were saying the pledge, while Brazosport Independent School District officials say that did not happen.

The assembly was meant to teach children about Mexican Independence Day, school district officials said. The holiday is celebrated Sept. 16 to mark the day Mexico won independence from Spain.

Sam Williams, the school's longtime principal, has said, in hindsight, he would have done things “differently.” He has also apologized to anyone who may have been offended.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Apologies to all!

Sorry for not posting over the last several weeks.

We have been on the road, traveling the east coast from Pennsylvania to Maryland, on down to South Carolina and Florida.

This is the first opportunity that I have had to post.

Thanks for your patience and keep checking back! - mm

City officials say length of time to cross border is hurting local economies

Oct 15, 2006

Wait times to cross the border at the U.S. Port of Entry at San Luis, Ariz., are too long and it's hurting the local economy, community leaders near the border have stressed recently.

San Luis City Administrator Lee Maness said a week ago that the daily border report on 100.9 FM radio listed wait times at 1-1/2 to 2 hours by car and on occasion, the wait was two hours on foot.

Relief would help, he said.

Michael Freeman, a spokesman for the San Luis port of entry, said the facility is operating at full capacity, and it's the best that can be done to balance adequate traffic flow and tight security.

"We have all the lanes open," Freeman said. "The facility we have is 25 years old. This really shows we have a port of entry that can't handle all the traffic."

Freeman said average wait times are not more than two hours. While the port is looking to expand pedestrian checkpoints from two booths to six, nothing can be done about the vehicle lanes for now. An expansion from six to 12 lanes is planned, but work won't start until the new commercial port of entry at San Luis is completed in 2009, Freeman said.

Five pulled from pipe used as border tunnel

By Anna Cearley

October 11, 2006

The cross-border passageway discovered yesterday near the Otay Mesa port of entry started in a Mexican drainage system and then tapped into a concrete pipe that had once been used to deliver liquefied oxygen into the United States.

Border Patrol agents said smugglers often try to tap into pipes to avoid the cost of building a tunnel, but it usually isn't big news – unless, as in this case, someone gets stuck.

“It has always been a strategy to try and find a chink in the armor,” said James Jacques, a Border Patrol spokesman.

Seven people in or near the passageway were captured while trying to make the crossing, including a man who got jammed inside and had to be freed by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Seven others are believed to have slipped back to Mexico.

In Mexico, wall not expected to stop migrants, just force them to change crossing patterns

By Olga R. Rodriguez


10:34 a.m. October 7, 2006

TIJUANA, Mexico – Rising from the Pacific surf and zig-zagging along the border for 14 miles, Tijuana's border fence has done little but push illegal migrants into the Arizona desert and feed the smuggling industry since it went up in 1994.

Today, as the U.S. prepares to build a high-tech barrier with 700 miles of extra fencing, motion detectors and remote controlled devices, smugglers are already figuring out how to beat the new security.

Even before President Bush signed the $1.2 billion funding bill Wednesday to strengthen busy crossing points, border patrol figures indicated that smugglers have been hiding more migrants in vehicles, or diverting them across one of the most inhospitable sections of the border – a mountainous stretch of searing desert near Yuma, Ariz.

Some experts predict smugglers could turn to boats and tunnels, two methods popular with drug smugglers but seldom used by migrant traffickers.

Bush reaffirms vow to build border fence

By Finlay Lewis

WASHINGTON – Seeking to reassure anxious conservatives, President Bush vowed yesterday to fence off the most vulnerable portions of the U.S.-Mexican border with a 700-mile barrier that would consist of physical and electronic “virtual” components.

The president's remarks during a news conference in the Rose Garden came on the heels of growing doubts among many fellow Republicans about the administration's commitment to erecting a Congress-approved physical barrier to block the routes most favored by smugglers sneaking illegal immigrants across the nearly 2,000-mile border.

Those concerns have been stoked by reports that Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff favors a high-tech solution utilizing motion detectors and other kinds of sensors, cameras, ground-based radars and a variety of computer-driven devices to help police the border.

From the CBP News Room

CBP Air Disrupts Drug Smuggling Attempt and Border Patrol Canine Sniffs Out “Fishy” Load

CBP Border Patrol Agents Seize 2,100 Pounds of Marijuana

Border Patrol Agents Rescue 17 People Sealed in U-HAUL Truck

CBP Border Patrol Agents Seize More Than 1,800 Pounds of Marijuana

Recall of notorious migrant sweep lingers


MESA — Arizona's debate over illegal immigration and a state lawmaker's recent comments about a 1950s mass deportation program have caused some memories of a 1997 immigration roundup in Chandler to resurface.

The Chandler roundup, conducted by local authorities in conjunction with the U.S. Border Patrol, led to the apprehensions of about 430 immigrants. Among the biggest complaints against law enforcement during the roundup was that some Hispanic Americans and legal residents were stopped by police.

Arizona's border woes have taken center stage in state politics as some state and local officials have rejected the long-held notion that cracking down on illegal immigration is the sole province of the federal government.

Republican state Rep. Russell Pearce of Mesa drew criticism last month by saying in a a radio interview that he supports reinstating a 1950s federal deportation program known as "Operation Wetback." He has refused to apologize for using the pejorative term "wetback."

Pearce has since backed away from his statements on the radio and claims he was never calling for the deportation program to be reinstated, the East Valley Tribune reported Sunday.

While some Hispanic residents don't know about Pearce and haven't heard his comments, the political atmosphere has aroused fears of another roundup.

Strip of refuge closed by border battles

Buenos Aires seeks to keep hikers from being caught in crossfire of 'criminal activity'


First came the illegal immigrants. Then came the U.S. Border Patrol to chase them. Then came the National Guard to back up the Border Patrol agents who were chasing the illegal immigrants.

All of it has proved too much.

Administrators of Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge have decided they need to close the heavily trafficked southern strip of the refuge to protect the public.

"You've got well-armed bad guys and well-armed good guys, and we don't want the public down there in the middle of all that," said refuge manager Mitch Ellis.

The closure will affect around 3,500 acres of semidesert grass land of rolling hills and mesquite trees that border Mexico. It is the first closure in the park's history due to illegal immigration, Ellis said.

Illegal traffic in southern Arizona has decreased for the first time since 2000 and Ellis attributed the decline to the U.S. Border Patrol and National Guard troops.

He praised their efforts, but he said he no longer felt safe letting the public in the heavily patrolled area.

New ICE agent must deal with smuggling, politics

Daniel González

The Arizona Republic
Oct. 16, 2006 12:00 AM

SAN ANTONIO - The new head of immigration enforcement for Arizona has his work cut out for him.

Alonzo Peña, whose first day on the job is Tuesday, is parachuting into the middle of the nation's busiest human smuggling corridor and into a political tempest.

As special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Arizona, it will be his job to battle highly sophisticated smuggling networks that warehouse thousands of undocumented immigrants a day and violent gangs that kidnap immigrants and hold them for ransom.

That's not all. In Arizona, the nation's main gateway for illegal immigration and a major destination point for undocumented immigrants, Peña will be responsible for carrying out the government's new effort to crack down on employers who knowingly hire workers who are here illegally.

But his most pressing challenge will be rebuilding bridges and mending sore feelings. Peña is inheriting the job from Roberto Medina, the beleaguered former head of ICE investigations in Arizona.