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.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Catholic charity probed for helping illegal immigrant teen get abortion

By DIONNE WALKER, Associated Press Writer

Friday, June 20, 2008

(06-20) 13:32 PDT Richmond, Va. (AP) --

Authorities are investigating whether a Catholic charity violated state and federal law by helping a 16-year-old illegal immigrant who was in the organization's care get an abortion.

Workers with Commonwealth Catholic Charities helped the girl travel to and from the procedure in January and signed a consent form for the abortion, Joanne Nattrass, the charity's executive director, said in a statement Thursday. She declined further comment.

Four of the Richmond-based charity's workers were fired, according to a letter by David Siegel, head of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' refugee resettlement program.

The federal department is looking into the charity's actions and the role played by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. The conference receives $7.6 million a year in federal funds to place unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in foster care until they're reunited with relatives, sponsored, or returned to their homeland. The girl is from Guatemala but was living in Virginia when the abortion took place.

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Mexican police arrest 62 in organized-crime raid


June 23, 2008

TIJUANA: At least one municipal police officer was among dozens of people arrested Saturday night in an organized-crime sweep, Baja California police officials said yesterday.

Baja California officers raided a baptism intending to arrest people connected to the Arellano Félix drug cartel. Sixty-two people, including 10 who have ties to the cartel, were arrested, said Agustín Pérez, a spokesman for the state prevention police.

Police said they were tipped off that members of organized crime would be at the baptism at the banquet hall, El Pequeño Travieso in the colonia Herrera, about 9 p.m. They stormed the celebration and found about 90 people at the hall. Some were armed, officials said.

Among the items seized were two black sport utility vehicles, handguns, police radios, Tijuana Municipal Police uniform patches and 460 grams of methamphetamine.

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Returning immigrants report beatings by Tijuana police


June 23, 2008

TIJUANA – Nearly 200 illegal immigrants sent back to Mexico from the United States were falsely arrested by Tijuana municipal police who beat or robbed some of them, according to a study that a human rights group released last week.

Victor Clark Alfaro, head of the Binational Center for Human Rights and a longtime observer of Tijuana crime trends, called on the municipal government to rein back the police and respect the rights of the returning immigrants.

Clark, who is also a lecturer at San Diego State University, and a group of students interviewed hundreds of immigrants between August and April. They found 188 of them were arrested for not carrying proper identification and taken before a judge, who many times ordered them jailed for up to 36 hours. Some of those immigrants said police beat or robbed them.

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Returning migrants remaking Mexico through politics

Migrants are coming home from U.S. with dollars, ideas and little patience for the old way of doing things.

By Jeremy Schwartz
Sunday, June 22, 2008

LUVIANOS, Mexico — Seir Benítez left this remote town high in the Sierra Madre mountains 12 years ago in hopes of escaping a harsh life in its dusty fields.

He traded dramatic mountain views and grinding poverty for an apartment in Austin and a job in a tool factory. He spent eight years in the United States, venturing as far as Florida and Nebraska, before returning home with enough money to build a house.

Benítez, 28, also came back filled with new ideas of how Luvianos, in the state of Mexico, should be governed. He is considering a run for mayor, joining a wave of politically active migrants who many in Mexico believe have the potential to reshape the countryside.

"I want to create jobs so that other young people don't have to migrate," said Benítez, who works for Luvianos' city government and peppers his conversation with references to Austin's flea markets and Riverside Drive restaurants.

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Gunmen kill official in Mexican border city

Thu Jun 19, 2008 5:40 AM BST

By Ignacio Alvarado

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) - Gunmen have killed the police administrative director in the violent Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, the latest high-profile killing in Mexico's drug war, police said on Wednesday.

Silvia Molina was shot outside her house on Monday night by suspected drug hitmen, the first public official in Ciudad Juarez's city police force to be targeted.

"She was shot 10 times as she was parking her car," a police spokesman said. Molina's body was found with a message signed by suspected drug hitmen who said they were working for Mexico's most wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman.

Molina's administrative team and the director of the city police academy resigned on Tuesday in protest at her murder, temporarily leaving the city police force without officials to pay salaries and deal with accounting issues.

About 460 people have been killed in Ciudad Juarez this year -- the greatest concentration of drug killings in the country. Guzman's drug gangs from northwestern Sinaloa state are battling the local Juarez cartel for control of smuggling routes to the United States. Ciudad Juarez is across the border from El Paso, Texas.

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Soldiers raid Tijuana cartel party

The Associated Press

June 22, 2008

Mexican soldiers captured at least 10 suspected members of a Tijuana-based drug cartel in a raid on a child's baptism party in this border city, officials said Sunday.

A total of 61 people were arrested in the sweep late Saturday, including the band hired to play the party and three city police officers, Baja California state police spokesman Agustin Perez told The Associated Press.

Authorities had been tracking the movements of suspected members of the Arellano Felix drug cartel for days and acted 'at a moment when they were vulnerable,' the spokesman said.

Perez denied initial Mexican military reports that alleged cartel cell leader Filiberto Parra Ramos could be among those arrested.

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Ex-policewoman in Mexico reaches goal in Border Patrol

Associated Press

for Blanca Angelica Parra, a police officer in Ciudad Juarez until the summer of 1995.

"In Juarez when you arrested someone they would threaten you, they were going to kill you and your family," Parra said of life as a police officer in the hardscrabble city across the Rio Grande from El Paso. "But normally that didn't happen."

Parra believed the violence between drug cartels and police would only worsen, so she quit her job and moved with her daughter to the United States.

She was right. In the intervening 13 years, police have become routine targets of drug traffickers and now Parra's back in a position to help them as a U.S. Border Patrol agent.

"I always wanted to be a law enforcement officer," Parra said. "When I came over here, I said 'one day I'm going to be a Border Patrol agent.'"

From the relative safety of the northern side of the border, Parra has heard of numerous police officers, include several former colleagues, being gunned down. Most recently, the No. 2 cop in the sprawling city was killed in a hail of bullets sprayed at his car outside his house.

"I'm glad that I'm here, in the Border Patrol," Parra said.

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Drop-house unit found 40 in six months, DPS says


PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Public Safety says a specialized unit has discovered 40 drop houses in the past six months, arresting 99 people suspected of human smuggling and nearly 500 possible illegal immigrants in the process.

The Illegal Immigration Prevention and Apprehension Co-op Team's chief mission is to target violent crimes associated with human smuggling and to dismantle the syndicates or rings behind those crimes.

Sgt. Chuck Herrera, a detective on the team, said smuggling suspects who are caught often are also held on suspicion of kidnapping, rape, extortion, assault and other serious crimes.

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RICO used against rentals to illegal entrants


PLAINFIELD, N.J. — A federal lawsuit using a novel method to challenge a landlord's right to rent to illegal immigrants is stoking tensions that have been rising for years in this diverse city of 50,000 south of Newark.

A prominent group that opposes illegal immigration sued a Plainfield property management company this month, seeking to set a legal precedent by using anti-racketeering legislation to crack down on landlords who rent to illegal immigrants.

The suit alleges the company has so many undocumented tenants in its buildings that it constitutes unlawful harboring and should be considered by the courts as a criminal enterprise that encourages illegal immigration.

The suit was brought by the Immigration Reform Law Institute — the legal arm of the Federation for American Immigration Reform — against Connolly Properties on behalf of a former Connolly employee and two tenants who are U.S. citizens.

The tenants allege that they were steered into buildings occupied by illegal immigrants who were too afraid about their legal status to complain about decrepit conditions, according to Mike Hethmon, a lawyer for the group that filed the suit.

Flor Gonzalez, head of the Plainfield-based Latin American Coalition, worries that her city may become the latest battleground in the nationwide debate over immigration. The suit comes as tensions over the city's large immigrant population are rising to a boil, she said, with police ticketing day laborers, a recent spate of beatings and robberies of immigrants, and raids by federal immigration officials.

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Feds plan 57 towers in AZ to watch for migrants

Controversial project targets 81 border miles near Tucson

By Brady McCombs


The Department of Homeland Security is planning to put up 45 surveillance towers and upgrade 12 existing ones to create a virtual fence targeting 81 miles of Arizona's U.S.-Mexican border.

Plans revealed in a draft environmental assessment for the "Tucson West" project — the next phase of the Boeing Co.-led SBInet — shows 57 proposed tower sites throughout Southern Arizona with most, 47, in the border region between Sasabe and Sierra Vista.

The 10 other proposed locations are scattered farther north near Ajo, Phoenix, Casa Grande and Tucson. The map shows one existing tower in Tucson and another in the Catalina Mountains that would be upgraded.

The towers will stand 80 to 200 feet high.

The largest cluster of towers totals 27 proposed sites along 40 miles of border from Sasabe to Nogales within about 12 miles north of the border.

At a community meeting in Arivaca Thursday, Border Patrol officials said they are expecting work to begin in the fall, said Peter Ragan, an Arivaca construction worker and writer who attended.

Officials in the Border Patrol's Tucson Sector deferred questions about the project's timeline to headquarters in Washington, D.C., and officials there weren't able to respond immediately.

Supporters applauded the plan as another tool to help Border Patrol agents slow illegal immigration and drug smuggling in the Southwest border's busiest stretch.

"Anytime you can deter traffic and make it easier for the Border Patrol to do their jobs, I encourage that kind of project," said Al Garza, executive director of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. "This is what the fight is all about."

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World Court opens hearings on Mexican appeal on executions

The Associated Press

Published: 06.19.2008

THE HAGUE, Netherlands - Mexico made an emergency appeal to the U.N.'s highest court Thursday to block the execution of its citizens on death row in the United States.

Lawyers for the U.S. cautioned, however, that the court's interference could complicate Washington's efforts to save the lives of Mexican convicts condemned to death by state courts.

Mexico contends the United States is defying a 2004 order by the International Court of Justice to review the cases of 51 condemned Mexican prisoners.

That ruling said the inmates had been denied the right to help from their consulate after their arrests. It said the death row prisoners were entitled to a reconsideration of their trials and sentences to determine whether the violation affected their cases.

Informally known as the World Court, the tribunal is the U.N.'s judicial arm for resolving disputes among nations. Its decisions are binding and final, but it has no enforcement powers.

Mexico's chief advocate Juan Manuel Gomez-Robledo told the court the cases had not been systematically reviewed, and the U.S. was "in breach of its international obligations."

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Border governors worried about National Guard pullout


Published: 06.20.2008

McALLEN, Texas — The thousands of National Guardsmen sent to reinforce the U.S.-Mexican border two years ago have almost completely withdrawn, despite pleas from border-state governors once skeptical of using soldiers to catch illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.

When the Guard was posted along the southern frontier in 2006 to help the strapped Border Patrol, critics warned that sending soldiers would be an insult to Mexico and that innocents could get shot by troops trained for combat, not law enforcement.

But none of that happened, and now those worries have given way to fears that a bloody drug-cartel war on the Mexican side will spill into the U.S. and overwhelm the Border Patrol.

The four border-state governors who contributed the bulk of the troops have tried in vain to persuade Congress and the White House to extend the Guard's presence, which will end as scheduled on July 15.

"Until Border Patrol has all its new boots on the ground, there's going to be a vulnerability," said Pahl Shipley, spokesman for New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.

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Arizona, Sonora to sign deal to help fight gunrunning

Published: 06.21.2008

Associated Press

PHOENIX - The governors of Arizona and the northern Mexican state of Sonora are expected to sign a deal Saturday aimed at combatting gunrunning and sharing databases of fugitive felons on both sides of the border.

The deal to be signed by Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano and Sonora Gov. Eduardo Bours Castelo will make Sonora the first Mexican state to trace illegal weapons.

The states also will promise to work on improving border entry points and share more information to combat drug smuggling. Other terms call for bolstering responses to border-spanning disasters and the development of digital maps to improve responses to emergencies.

Until now, only Mexican federal agents have had access to the data from tracing seized weapons. Under the new agreement, Sonora state police will have the same access, just as police throughout the United States.

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Waits may be keeping legal crossers out


Published: 06.21.2008

Waits will get longer and Mexican visitors will arrive in fewer numbers until the U.S. improves its seven ports of entry along the Arizona-Mexico border.

That's what a University of Arizona study released Friday by the Arizona-Mexico Commission concluded as it showed a drop in the number of people crossing into the U.S. Wait times average 45 minutes and regularly extend to two hours.

The commission tackles cross-border issues and operates out of Gov. Janet Napolitano's office and includes Mexican officials and citizens.

The report attributes the delays primarily to increased security at U.S. entry ports since 9/11 and to old, inadequate port facilities. Fixing the state's seven ports of entry would cost about $500 million and would move people through more quickly, the study said.

Vehicular traffic dropped 20 percent from 2002 to 2007, with 4 million fewer people driving across the border, the commission found.

However, 2 million more people walked across.

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17 people found dehydrated in desert near Gila Bend

by Senta Scarborough - Jun. 22, 2008 06:30 PM

The Arizona Republic

Seventeen people, including four suffering severe dehydration, have been taken to local hospitals after they flagged down motorists for help along Arizona 85 near Gila Bend Sunday afternoon, U.S. Border Patrol officials said.

A 26-year-old woman and her two children were among the group, said Rob Daniels, a Border Patrol spokesman.

Border Patrol officials are still investigating the incident, but preliminary information leads them to believe the people were undocumented immigrants who crossed the border illegally just west of Lukeville.

A resident reported that people were trying to get assistance from passing motorists around noon at mile marker No. 9, Border Patrol spokesman Mario Escalante said.

The Border Patrol responded to the area and found 17 people suffering from dehydration. The high in Gila Bend on Sunday was 115.

"Most of the people were in pretty bad shape," Escalante said. "At this time, their safety and well-being is our first priority."

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Twice-deported Mexican national is sentenced to 46 months for illegal reentry

Subject was convicted in Rhode Island of child abuse

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - A Mexican national was sentenced today for illegally reentering the U.S., after an investigation by agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in Rhode Island.

A federal judge today sentenced Gustavo Granados, a citizen of Mexico, to 46 months in federal prison for illegally reentering the United States after being deported. Granados, 39, was convicted in 1992 in Rhode Island Family Court of second-degree child abuse, and was deported twice. His illegal status was discovered in January after a vehicle stop in East Providence.

United States Attorney Robert Clark Corrente and Bruce M. Foucart, special agent-in-charge of ICE's Office of Investigation in Boston, announced the sentence, which Senior U.S. District Court Judge Ernest C. Torres imposed in U.S. District Court, Providence. After his term in prison, Granados will again be subject to deportation.

"This case truly highlights the success of law enforcement coordination," said ICE Special Agent-in-Charge Foucart. "Thanks to the proactive efforts of the East Providence Police Department, a criminal illegal alien, who has abused a child, has been brought to justice. It is ICE's mission to protect national security and public safety, and the most effective way to do that is to assist and work with our local law enforcement partners."

Granados pleaded guilty in March to illegal reentry. At the plea hearing, Assistant U.S. Attorney Sandra R. Beckner said the government could prove that Granados was deported as an aggravated felon in May 1995. After illegally reentering the country, he was deported again in October 1999, and illegally reentered again near Nogales, Ariz., in July 2005.

Granados was most recently living in an apartment on Mowry Street, Central Falls. In January, East Providence Police made a routine traffic stop of a car that Granados was driving and subsequently contacted ICE for an immigration check. ICE agents took custody of Granados on Jan. 15 and brought the case to the United States Attorney's Office for prosecution.

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Border Patrol Agents Arrest Smuggler and Seize Marijuana

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Yuma, Ariz. – Rapid response and teamwork helped U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma Station apprehend one individual and seize two backpacks containing 62 pounds of marijuana.

About 3:30 a.m., agents working near the San Luis, Ariz., area encountered three individuals, two of which were carrying large backpacks, running north from the international boundary fence. As agents responded to the area, the subjects dropped the backpacks and ran south towards the international boundary fence. Several agents responded to the area, and one agent was assaulted with rocks by other individuals perched atop the international fence. The agent was struck once on the shoulder, but was still able to arrest one of the individuals. The other two individuals fled into Mexico, and Mexican authorities were notified.

The arrested subject, who is a citizen of Mexico in possession of a valid Border Crosser Card, and marijuana were turned over to the San Luis Arizona Police department.

Since October 1, 2007 Yuma Sector Border Patrol agents have seized more than 25,000 pounds of marijuana.

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Border Patrol Agents in New Mexico Targeted as Border Violence Increases

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Deming, N.M. – On Saturday, El Paso Sector Border Patrol agents discovered that they may have been the target of more acts of violence after discovering an apparent booby trap made of wire on a remote border road near Deming.

On June 14, agents assigned to the Deming Border Patrol Station received a call from a local rancher who informed them of a discovery she made of some wires stretched across a patch of dirt roadway. The wires had been pulled tight and set to a height that could have had dire consequences for agents or anyone riding on an all-terrain vehicle. The road is commonly used by narcotics traffickers as well as Border Patrol agents operating on ATV’s, horse patrol officers and agents in service vehicles. The two thin wires were set across the road and fastened to a border fence post, then wrapped around a mesquite bush in an attempt to conceal it.

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Feds to Begin Prosecuting Illegal Immigrants

Under a new action called 'Operation Streamline,' those who are arrested for illegal entry will be arrested, booked, tried, and sentenced.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

By Jim Forsyth

(WOAI-San Antonio) - For decades, people who entered Texas illegally from Mexico and other countries have been caught, and deported. But starting Thursday, those who are unlucky enough to try to sneak in over a four mile stretch of the Rio Grande near Brownsville, the policy will change drastically, 1200 WOAI news has learned.

Under a new action called 'Operation Streamline,' those who are arrested for the federal crime of illegal entry will be arrested, fingerprinted, booked, tried, and sentenced to up to six months in jail. After they are released, they will be deported.

"Operation streamline is a zero tolerance prosecution initiative for any person arrested for illegally entering the United States," said Ricardo Rosas of the U.S. Border Patrol in the Rio Grande Valley sector. "Those individuals who we apprehend will be formally prosecuted."

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ICE investigation leads to 15-year sentence for Arizona drug smuggler

TUCSON, Ariz. - An Arizona man who previously pleaded guilty to drug smuggling and firearms charges was sentenced to 15 years in prison yesterday for his involvement in a conspiracy to distribute more than 2,200 pounds of marijuana.

Oscar Perez, 39, of Arivaca, Ariz., appeared before U.S. District Judge Cindy K. Jorgenson. Perez' conviction followed a long-term investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), with assistance from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Border Patrol.

Court documents show that Perez was the ringleader of a drug trafficking organization that brought marijuana into the United States from Mexico, using backpackers or horses. The marijuana was then taken to property owned by the Perez family for further distribution within the United States. When agents executed search warrants at those properties, they seized numerous firearms.

"Oscar Perez was an established drug smuggler who showed no compunction about involving his family in these illicit activities," said Richard Crocker, deputy special agent in charge of the ICE office of investigations in Tucson. "ICE is committed to targeting, investigating and dismantling the criminal organizations responsible for smuggling narcotics into the United States."

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ICE and Mexican officials announce plans to identify and disrupt trans-border weapons smuggling networks

Armas Cruzadas is a bi-lateral law enforcement and intelligence-sharing operation to thwart export of arms from U.S. into Mexico

HOUSTON - Julie L. Myers, Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Juan Jose Bravo Moises, Director for Mexico Customs, announced today at the first ever Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) Conference, Operation Armas Cruzadas, a major effort to identify and disrupt trans-border weapons smuggling networks between the two countries' borders through the Homeland Security Information Network (HSN) virtual weapons task force.

The ICE-led effort, in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is supported by Senator Charles Grassley, Congressman Henry Cuellar and Congressman Mark Souder, who all attended the opening of the BEST Conference today.

"Armas Cruzadas partners U.S. and Mexican law enforcement agencies to share information and intelligence in an effort to comprehensively attack the growing gun violence in Mexico," said Assistant Secretary Myers. "Faced with an explosive, high-caliber threat, we knew we needed an equally effective, high-caliber response to thwart the illegal export of weapons into Mexico."

U.S. and Mexican agencies will synchronize key law enforcement and intelligence elements to successfully accomplish Armas Cruzadas. Through coordinated operations based on developed intelligence of arms trafficking networks in North America, the operation aims to stop the illegal export of weapons from the U.S. and into the hands of drug cartel organizations inside Mexico. This effort will help strengthen interagency cooperation between U.S. and Mexican federal, state and local law enforcement agencies and promote the exchange of intelligence through multiple points of contact.

"The bilateral strategic plan between ICE and Mexico Customs has proven to be a success and the number of joint seizures speak for themselves," said Juan Jose Bravo Moises, Director General Mexican Customs Administration.

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Laredo Border Patrol Agents Rescue 23 Undocumented Aliens

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Border Patrol agents from the Laredo North station rescued 23 undocumented aliens from a smuggling attempt Tuesday.

Early Tuesday morning agents manning the checkpoint located on Interstate 35 north of Laredo conducted an immigration inspection of the driver of a tractor trailer. A service canine alerted agents to the trailer and indicated to the presence of people or contraband.

Agents opened the trailer and found 23 people inside. All of the people were determined to be illegal aliens.

The driver was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

To report suspicious activity such as drug and/or alien smuggling, contact the Laredo Sector Border Patrol toll free telephone number at 1-800-343-1994.

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Laredo Border Patrol Agents Rescue 24 Undocumented Aliens

Monday, June 16, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Border Patrol agents from the Laredo North station rescued 24 undocumented aliens from a smuggling attempt over the weekend.

On Saturday, June 14, agents manning the checkpoint located on Interstate 35 north of Laredo conducted an immigration inspection of the driver of a tractor trailer. A service canine alerted agents to the trailer and indicated to the presence of people or contraband.

Agents opened the trailer and found 24 people inside. All of the people were determined to be illegal aliens.

The driver was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Border Patrol Agents Seize More than 1,000 Pounds of Marijuana

Monday, June 16, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Border Patrol agents from the Hebbronville Station seized more than 1,000 pounds of marijuana from a tractor-trailer this week.

On Saturday, June 14, agents manning the checkpoint located on Farm to Market Road 1017 conducted an immigration inspection of the driver of a 2000 Kenworth truck. A service canine alerted agents to the trailer and indicated to the presence of people or contraband.

Agents opened the trailer and found several tall foam boxes. Inside the boxes agents discovered a total of 41 cellophane-wrapped bundles containing marijuana with a total weight of 1,054.8 pounds and an estimated street value of $843,840.

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CBP Discovers Seven Tons of Marijuana Concealed in Shipment of Plastic Articles

Monday, June 16, 2008

Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico East port of entry cargo facility seized more than seven tons of marijuana found commingled with boxes of plastic articles in a tractor-trailer that entered the port at about 7:40 p.m. on Friday, June 13, officials announced today.

CBP officers found 735 wrapped packages of the narcotic weighing 14,519 pounds and valued at almost $6 million hidden with numerous boxes of plastic articles inside the trailer, officials said.

CBP officers ordered the tractor-trailer to the port’s gamma-ray facility for an intensive examination which revealed anomalies in the shipment. The tractor-trailer was then referred to the dock for off-loading of the merchandise.

Prior to the off-loading, a narcotics detector dog was also utilized to screen the shipment. The canine immediately alerted to the shipment and, upon closer examination, CBP officers discovered a green leafy substance concealed within boxes that field tested positive for marijuana.

The driver, a 32-year-old Mexican male and resident of Mexicali, was arrested by special agents of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and subsequently transported to the Imperial County Jail to await arraignment. The tractor-trailer and narcotics were seized by CBP.

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CBP Officers Foil Three Major Narcotic Seizures at California Port

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Calexico, Calif. - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico downtown port of entry intercepted three significant narcotic smuggling attempts during one morning last week, preventing 110 pounds of cocaine, 135 pounds of marijuana, three pounds of liquid hash, and six pounds of marijuana seeds from entering the United States.

The most recent interception occurred at about 10:10 a.m. on Thursday, when a 31-year-old Mexican citizen driving a 1997 white Toyota 4-Runner was referred to the secondary inspection area for an intensive examination.

An inspection of the vehicle and utilization of a canine alerted officers to the ceiling area of the vehicle. Closer inspection of the area revealed a metal plate that concealed 22 packages of cocaine wrapped in aluminum foil, brown postal tape and cellophane weighing a total of 58 pounds.

The male driver, a Tecate, Mexico resident, was placed under arrest and turned over to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents for further disposition.

The second smuggling attempt occurred earlier that day at about 8:35 a.m. when a 27-year-old male U.S. citizen driving a 2000 white Toyota Tacoma was referred by officers to the secondary area for an inspection.

During the secondary inspection, utilization of a canine and a tool to measure density alerted officers to the vehicle’s spare tire. Further examination revealed 20 wrapped packages of cocaine concealed within the tire with a total weight of 52 pounds.

The driver, a San Diego resident, was arrested by ICE agents and transported to the Imperial County jail to await arraignment for the alleged importation of narcotics.

The third smuggling attempt occurred at about 6 a.m. when a 31-year-old Mexican male and his female passenger were referred to the secondary inspection area for an examination.

While in the vehicle secondary inspection area, CBP officers utilizing a canine were alerted to different areas of the vehicle. Further inspection of the vehicle revealed packages concealed in the front bumper, front side door, quarter panels, rear passenger seats, and rear cargo door.

A total of 60 cellophane-wrapped packages were seized. One package tested positive for hash, four smaller packages held marijuana seeds, and 55 packages contained marijuana. The total weight of the contraband was 144 pounds.

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Tractor-Trailer Containing Marijuana Seized at Arizona Checkpoint

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Tucson, Ariz. - Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents, aided by a Border Patrol K-9, seized a tractor-trailer and arrested a suspected drug smuggler at a Sonoita, Ariz. checkpoint.

A 46-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from El Salvador approached the inspection area today of an Arizona checkpoint in a 1995 Freightliner XL tractor pulling a trailer. While in the inspection area, a Border Patrol K-9 alerted to the possibility of humans or other contraband hidden within the trailer. The tractor and trailer were referred to the secondary inspection area for further investigation.

While inspecting the contents of the trailer, Border Patrol agents discovered several bundles of marijuana covered in laundry soap and concealed among cardboard bails. The bundles weighed approximately 1,780 pounds with an estimated value of $712,000.

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Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mexico asks World Court to stay executions in U.S.

By Arthur Max


1:03 p.m. June 5, 2008

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands – Mexico appealed to the U.N.'s highest court Thursday to block the executions of Mexicans in the United States, arguing U.S. officials have failed to comply with a judgment ordering a review of their trials.

The International Court of Justice said Mexico asked the court for an “interpretation” of an earlier ruling to clarify its meaning when it asked the U.S. to “review and reconsider” the cases of the condemned prisoners.

Until that can be done, Mexico said the United States “must take any and all steps necessary” to ensure that none of its citizens is executed, and asked the court to take urgent measures to intercede.

The court, informally known as the World Court, ruled in 2004 that the convictions of some 50 Mexicans on death row around the United States violated the 1963 Vienna Convention, which provides that people arrested abroad can have access to their home country's consular officials.

The court, which sits in The Hague, said the Mexicans should have new hearings in U.S. courts to determine whether the violation affected their cases.

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U.S. House gives boost to aid for Mexico drug war

By Suzanne Gamboa


2:32 p.m. June 10, 2008

WASHINGTON – The House on Tuesday authorized spending $1.6 billion over the next three years to help Mexico and other countries counter growing drug violence and the cartels behind it. But the money isn't assured.

The bill, approved 311-106, would not provide any money to Mexico. That could come separately in pending bills funding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and future appropriations bills.

The House and Senate are negotiating with the administration on the war spending bills to avoid a threatened veto by President Bush.

In addition, the Mexican government is opposing the anti-drug trafficking aid in the war bills because of requirements in it that Mexico says interfere with its sovereignty. A delegation of congressional members met with Mexico officials over the weekend to discuss Mexico's concerns.

In the bill passed Tuesday, the House authorized about $1.1 billion for Mexico between 2008-2010; $405 million for Central America and Caribbean countries and $74 million for the Justice Department to stem the flow of U.S. guns into Mexico.

The bill includes some human rights conditions and monitoring of how equipment and training have been used “to make sure U.S. taxpayer dollars are going to support practices consistent with our values,” said Lynne Weil, a spokeswoman for Rep. Howard Berman, who chairs the Foreign Affairs Committee.

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Task force to monitor crime along the border


7:37 a.m. June 5, 2008

EL CENTRO: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is launching a task force targeting criminal organizations involved in cross-border crime in the Imperial Valley.

The group will be added to Border Enforcement Security Task Force operations established earlier along the U.S.-Mexico border. Task forces are in place in San Diego; Phoenix and Yuma, Ariz.; and Laredo, El Paso and Harlingen, Texas.

The new force will be made up of officers from federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement agencies, including U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Border Patrol, Drug Enforcement Administration, the FBI, the Bureau of Land Management and Mexico's Secretariat of Public Safety.

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Violence returns to Tijuana after lull in May

Ten killed brings total to 232 this year

By Jose Luis Jiménez


June 10, 2008

TIJUANA – After a brief calm, the violence that has battered Tijuana returned this weekend when seven people were killed over a 36-hour period, pushing the number of homicides to 232 for the year, authorities said.

An additional three bodies were found near Rosarito Beach, bringing the number of people killed over the weekend to 10.

Among the victims were a Tijuana police officer, two women and the three men found on the outskirts of Rosarito Beach, at least one of whom showed signs that he was burned.

Mexican officials say that after a comparative lull in May, in which 21 homicides occurred in Tijuana, the record-setting pace returned in June. With nearly three weeks left in the month, there have already been 15 slayings.

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Mexican “Family Values” Won’t Improve America?

Memo From Mexico, By Allan Wall

Old stereotypes die hard. How many times have we heard that Mexican and Hispanic immigration is good for the U.S., because Mexican and other Hispanic immigrants (including illegal aliens) have "family values"?

Our own president is particularly fond of this argument. For example, at a National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in 2006, Bush proclaimed (to applause) that

"The daily example of our Hispanic communities reminds us that strong faith and strong families can build a better future for all. We are more—we're a more hopeful society because men and women of Hispanic descent have put their faith and values into action."

Some go so far as to say that Hispanics are just better people than Americans and are going to improve the moral fiber of our country.

In fact, as long ago as 1993, Francis "End of History" Fukuyama said that

“But it would also seem a priori likely that third-world immigrants should have stronger family values than white, middle-class, suburban Americans, while their work ethic and willingness to defer to traditional sources of authority should be greater as well.” [Immigrants and Family Values, Commentary, May 1993]

In 2003, former Mexican political operative Fredo Arias-King described interviewing pro-immigration social conservative U.S. congressmen on behalf of the PAN Party and Vicente Fox. Here's his impression of why they supported immigration:

"Congressmen in this group mentioned that the immigrants ‘bring family values’ that compensate for the perceived deterioration in the morality of Americans. Their preoccupation seemed to be a return to an America they feel is slipping away."

That argument is downright un-patriotic, I don't care who makes it.

If you believe that the moral fiber of American society has declined, and I do, then the solution is to work to improve it, not to replace Americans with foreigners.

Any social conservative who wants to replace Americans with foreigners is an unpatriotic social conservative.

But, as it turns out, the argument is bogus even on its own terms. Mass immigration is definitely not improving the moral fiber of American society.

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Report faults FBI over problems in ID-check system

By Robert Schmidt


Thousands of immigrants must wait years to win U.S. citizenship or legal residency, and possible criminals may escape detection because of an FBI security-check system that is riddled with problems, a U.S. Justice Department report found.

The audit by Inspector General Glenn Fine said the FBI's National Name Check Program relies on outdated and inefficient technology, poorly trained personnel, overburdened supervisors and inadequate quality controls.

Some name checks have been delayed for as long as three years, with 327,000 such requests pending as of March, the report found.

"The FBI's name-check process needs significant improvement," Fine said in a statement. "While the FBI is taking steps to address these deficiencies, the name-check process can result in lengthy delays and the risk of inaccurate information. The FBI should make the improvement of this process a priority."

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has been under intense criticism from lawmakers and immigration-rights groups for its role in slowing the processing of immigration applications.

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Bush orders contractors to check legal status of employees

The Associated Press

Published: 06.09.2008

WASHINGTON - President Bush has signed an executive order requiring contractors and others who do business with the federal government to make sure their employees can legally work in the U.S.

Bush signed the order Friday and the White House announced it Monday.

The federal government has had some embarrassing moments when illegal workers have been discovered to be working for contractors they've hired, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said in a news conference. For that reason it's trying to get its own house in order, Chertoff said.

"The federal government should lead by example and not merely by exhortation," he said.

The order says federal departments and agencies must require contractors to use an electronic system to verify that the workers are eligible to work in the U.S.

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8 suspected illegal immigrants face fraud charges after raid

The Associated Press

PHOENIX — Sheriff's deputies say they've arrested eight suspected illegal immigrants on fraud charges for allegedly using forged documents or stolen identities to get jobs at two amusement parks in metropolitan Phoenix.

Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio says the fraud bust might lead to a case under the state's employer sanctions law if deputies can prove the amusement parks operators knew they were hiring illegal immigrants.

Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas says authorities didn't yet have a sanctions case resulting from the raid Tuesday morning at Golfland Entertainment locations in Mesa and north Phoenix.

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McCain defends NAFTA, tax cuts

by William Douglas and Margaret Talev - Jun. 10, 2008 05:00 PM

McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON - Presumptive Republican Presidential candidate John McCain blasted Democratic rival Barack Obama's economic policies on Tuesday, calling them bad for small business and American families.

While outlining his own economic plans to the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small businesses, McCain criticized Obama for vowing to renegotiate provisions of the North America Free Trade Agreement, proposing a tax increase for Americans making over $250,000 and for advocating a greater government role in the nation's health care system.

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1 in 3 children in state has an immigrant parent

by Daniel González - Jun. 10, 2008 12:00 AM

The Arizona Republic

The number of Arizona children who come from immigrant households is soaring.

At least one in three Arizona children now has at least one immigrant parent, up from about one in four 10 years ago, said Nancy Welch,a researcher at the Morrison Institute for Public Policy at Arizona State University.

She co-authored a new report that concluded at least 471,000 children living in Arizona are from immigrant households - or more than the entire population of Mesa.

The report is based on 2006 census data.

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Customs officers seize 800 pounds of pot at San Luis port


June 9, 2008 - 6:46PM

Customs and Border Protection officers seized 872 pounds of marijuana in recent days as they stopped four separate attempts to smuggle pot through the U.S. Port of Entry at San Luis, Ariz.

The marijuana had a total street value of $1.4 million, CBP said in a news release.

In what CBP is calling the most creative of the four smuggling attempts, 187 packages of marijuana were encased in cement picnic table tops and benches that a 44-year-old U.S. citizen was bringing across in a vehicle on Saturday.

Officers became suspicious of the unidentified man and referred the vehicle to a secondary inspection area, where use of an X-ray system enabled agents to locate the pot weighing a total of 534 pounds, CBP said in the release. The man was arrested.

In a separate incident Thursday, officers arrested a 32-year-old unidentified man
from Mexico and seized more than 105 pounds of marijuana that had been hidden throughout the vehicle he drove up to the port, CBP said.

The pot, contained in 61 packages, was seized after a narcotics detector dog alerted officers to the presence of drugs.

Two other seizures came May 31, CBP said.

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Gas Prices Cheaper in Mexico

Desert Southwest Residents Taking Advantage of Lower Prices

Gas prices in the Imperial Valley are inching their way closer to $4.50 a gallon.

With prices soaring so high some drivers are heading south not only to visit family and friends, but to fill their tanks.

Brenda Velasquez drives an suv. She says she gets more bang for her buck at this Pemex gas station in Mexicali.

"Before i would pay $60 and it would fill up over there. Now i put $60 and it doesn't even fill up half a tank. Here with 600 pesos i fill my tank," she said.

Gas prices at a Pemex station near the border are about $3.25 a gallon for premium and $2.85 a gallon for the equivalent of regular unleaded.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Mexico: the danger of 'drug ballads'

In the past two years, 15 mexican musicians have been murdered. Their crime: to fall foul of the country's drug barons. Ioan Grillo reports

It was three in the morning and the Mexican group Banda Guasavena were driving back from a concert at a cockfighting festival, just over the border from Texas. The audience had been even more rapturous than usual and Fausto Castro-Elizalde, the band's horn player, recalls them chatting happily about the evening.

Then Kalashnikov bullets started flying through the window. 'The whole moment was unreal,' he says. 'One second we were all happy after the show. The next we being cut up by bullets.'

Castro-Elizalde, 34, was hit by seven 'caps' in his arm and legs but miraculously remained conscious. His cousin and the band's 27-year old singer, Valentin Elizalde, was not so lucky. 'He died instantly. He fell into my arms and I kissed him,' says Castro-Elizalde.

Elizalde's murder is not an isolated incident. In the past two years, assassins have shot, burnt or suffocated at least 15 Mexican musicians. The latest victim was sprayed with 20 bullets as he sang alongside his band, Brisas del Mar, at a dance near the Acapulco resort in March. In December, three entertainers were killed in a week: one singer was kidnapped, throttled and dumped on a road, a trumpeter was found with a bag on his head and a diva was shot dead in her hospital bed.

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