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.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Illegals off the hook?

ICE tells aliens 'Deport yourself'

Posted: July 30, 2008 11:00 pm Eastern

Now illegal aliens can get a free ticket home by turning themselves in to Immigration and Customs Enforcement rather than spend time in prisons.

The newest government plan to cut back on an ever-increasing population of illegals will be unveiled next week, the San Antonio Express-News reports.

ICE director announced the idea to a Spanish television network Sunday.

"The program basically gives an opportunity to those seeking an organized way to self-deport," Myers told Univisión anchor Jorge Ramos.

"Operation Scheduled Departure" will give illegal aliens who don't have criminal histories a chance to turn themselves in and avoid detention.

Myers said the plan was hatched in response to illegal alien complaints. Many detainees said they would rather go home than spend time in immigration prisons.

The illegals can now walk into ICE, schedule departure, have several weeks to pack their belongings and fly or bus out of the country without facing arrest. She said the program helps illegals dodge home and work raids, but it doesn't offer incentives for self-deportation.

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49 people found hiding in water truck

Border agent spots unlicensed tanker

By Tom Mallory


July 26, 2008

SAN DIEGO – Forty-nine people being smuggled into the United States were found yesterday packed inside the metal tank of a water truck that a Border Patrol agent noticed near the notorious Smuggler's Gulch.

The truck was coming out of a construction area, its driver apparently trying to blend in, when the agent saw that it didn't have a license plate, said Border Patrol Agent Jason Rodgers.

Rodgers said the agent followed the truck from Monument Road and Hollister Road in an under-the-speed-limit pursuit that ended nearby with the arrest of the driver and a passenger and the discovery of the people crammed inside.

“For someone to actually stuff 49 people inside a tanker like this, even though these criminals are breaking the law anyway, shows a complete disregard for human life,” Rodgers said.

He said most of the 49 people agents found inside the truck's cylindrical water tank were in the first stage of dehydration. Three of the women were pregnant – one eight months, and the others three and five months.

Another woman inside the tank had a dislocated ankle, Rodgers said.

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Deportation linked to higher risk of HIV infection in male injection drug users

Medicine & Health / HIV & AIDS

Male injection drug users deported from the United States to Tijuana have four-fold higher odds of HIV infection compared to those living in Tijuana who were not deported there, according to a study to be presented at the International AIDS Conference on August 5, 2008 in Mexico City. The study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), will be published in the July 30 issue of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) One.

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Salmonella linked with Mexican farm's irrigation water

July 30, 2008 12:15 PM

Updated: July 30, 2008 12:26 PM

WASHINGTON (KRQE) - The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday said it has linked the recent Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak with irrigation water at a Mexican farm.

The outbreak has sickened more than 1,300 people nationwide since April, including more than 100 in New Mexico.

The FDA also linked salmonella to a Serrano pepper at the farm in Nuevo León, Mexico.

Previously, the FDA had traced a contaminated jalapeño to a farm in another part of Mexico.

FDA food safety chief Dr. David Acheson called the finding a key breakthrough in the case.

The outbreak was originally linked with tomatoes, but officials say it's quite possible that it was caused by several different kinds of contaminated produce.

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Mexican cop killed by colleague working as hit man

Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:28 AM BST

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (Reuters) - A Mexican police officer working as a hit man for drug gangs killed one of his police colleagues on Wednesday in the violent border city of Ciudad Juarez, police said.

Francisco Ventura was shot and killed by gunmen in two sport utility vehicles as he drove home early on Wednesday in Ciudad Juarez across from El Paso, Texas. Federal police arrested three men following the shootout, including the police officer accused of leading the gunmen.

City police declined to give more details, but Ciudad Juarez Mayor Jose Reyes said the discovery of a police officer working as a hit man showed the urgent need for a "total cleansing" of the city's police force.

"We know there are officers who are in the pay of organized crime and that is why we need to flush out bad police," Reyes told reporters.

Despite the deployment of 3,000 troops and federal police in Ciudad Juarez this year, more than 550 people have been killed in drug violence in the city, Mexico's most lethal front in a drug war that has killed 1,900 people nationwide in 2008.

Daylight gun battles have erupted on city streets and buildings set on fire as Mexico's most-wanted man, Joaquin "Shorty" Guzman, fights drug baron Vicente Carrillo Fuentes, boss of the Juarez cartel, for control of Ciudad Juarez and its lucrative smuggling corridor into the United States.

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Alien smugglers indicted for hostage taking

MIAMI - A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) investigation resulted in two alien smugglers indicted for hostage taking. On June 25, 2008, a federal Grand Jury sitting in Miami indicted two Miami Dade residents Niovel Chirino-Alvarez, 33, and Lazaro Martinez-Padron, 21, with charges related to hostage taking and alien smuggling for the purpose of commercial advantage and private financial gain. If convicted, Chirino-Alverez and Martinez-Padron face up to life imprisonment.

According to the allegations in the Indictment and documents filed with the Court, Chrino-Alvarez and Martinez-Padron conspired with others to encourage and induce aliens to come to, enter, and reside in the United States without the alien having received prior authorization to come to, enter, and reside in the United States and with holding the aliens hostage. More specifically, Chirino-Alvarez and Martinez-Padron encouraged and induced eight Cuban nationals to enter the United States, charging each adult an estimated $10,000. Chirino-Alvarez and Martinez-Padron then held the Cuban nationals against their will until their ransoms were paid.

"Targeting smugglers who prey on human beings is a top priority for ICE," said Anthony Mangione, special agent in charge of the ICE Office of Investigations in Miami. "Alien smugglers have a callous disregard for the value of human life and whose only motivation is greed as demonstrated by these two individuals. Their only goal is to profit at the expense of others. We will continue to aggressively investigate those involved in this illicit and dangerous activity."

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Three charged in ICE probe that nets large stash of methamphetamine

Street value of drugs found at Orange County apartment estimated at $1m

SANTA ANA, Calif. - Three men were indicted by a federal grand jury Wednesday, on narcotics charges, following an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) that resulted in the recovery of approximately 8.6 kilograms of methamphetamine at a Garden Grove apartment.

Armando Cerpas Gutierrez, 27, and Eladio Bucio Fajardo, 29, both of Guaracha-Michoacan, Mexico, and Jose Luis Escamilla, 48, of National City, California, are charged with possession of a controlled substance with intent to distribute, a violation that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison. The case is being prosecuted by the United States Attorney for the Central District of California.

The three defendants were arrested by ICE agents July 8, following the execution of a controlled delivery of the 8.6 kilograms of methamphetamine from the Otay Mesa Port of Entry to the Garden Grove apartment where Escamilla resided. Court documents reveal that the defendants conspired to transport the methamphetamine from Mexico to Gutierrez's residence in Garden Grove, where they unloaded it and repackaged it for sale.

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Juárez officer, 5 others charged

By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 07/30/2008 12:19:50 AM MDT

EL PASO - A Juárez police officer is accused of leading a gang of kidnappers and killers that was captured after a vehicle chase by federal police in Juárez, officials said.

Federal police Tuesday arrested municipal police officer Juan Gallegos Acosta and five other men, seized four AR-15 and nine AK-47 rifles and three vehicles, including a 2002 GMC Yukon and a 2007 Toyota Solara, both reported stolen in Texas.

"Unfortunately, he is a member of the department," said Javier Torres, police force spokesman. "We are working on purging the department. Bad police officers will be sanctioned."

Federal officials said a chase began when federal police saw the sand-colored Yukon speeding on Zaragoza Avenue while carrying a group of men with assault rifles and bulletproof vests. The chase ended in the Oasis area.

The men and seized items were turned over to a federal organized crime unit in Mexico City. No charges were announced.

The federal agents were part of Joint Operation Chihuahua, the anti-crime offensive sent to Juárez to curb a flood of homicides, which have reached about 650 so far this year party because of a war among drug cartels.

At least seven people were slain Tuesday, including a triple homicide in the southern part of the city.

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El Pasoan's lawsuit altered how immigration judges chosen

By Ramon Bracamontes / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 07/30/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

A national report that points to illegal appointments by the U.S. attorney general's office was influenced significantly by a lawsuit filed in 2005 by an El Paso woman who claims she was passed over because she was not politically connected.

Guadalupe Gonzalez, an El Paso lawyer and the chief counsel for the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in El Paso, filed a discrimination lawsuit against the federal government three years ago alleging that immigration judges were being appointed based on their political ties and not on merit.

As a result of her lawsuit, in 2007 the federal government changed the way it filled immigration judge positions. And on Monday, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General issued a report reaffirming that the way judges had been seated was illegal.

"I am glad that the public record is now clear that it was my lawsuit that forced the changes in the hiring practices," Gonzalez said Tuesday. "While I am glad that my lawsuit settled nicely, I wanted to make sure that we had done something to change the system. In some ways, it was an act of patriotism and I'm pleased that other lawyers can now apply and compete for the jobs."

According to the U.S. Department of Justice report, the system of hiring immigration judges was frozen after the lawsuit was filed. The freeze was lifted after Gonzalez's lawsuit was settled.

The Department of Justice report states, "With regard to immigration judges, as a result of the civil litigation over the unsuccessful candidacy of an immigration judge applicant, in April 2007, former Attorney General (Alberto) Gonzales approved a new process to fill immigration judge positions.

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11-year-old El Paso boy slain in Mexico

By Daniel Borunda / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 07/31/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

EL PASO -- An 11-year-old El Paso boy was killed Monday during a highway robbery on the Durango-Mazatlan road in Mexico.

The boy, Rico Armando Bañuelas, was on a family trip to Mazatlan when robbers tried to stop the Volkswagen Jetta he was riding in near a section of mountain road known as "El Espinazo del Diablo," (the devil's spine), El Siglo De Durango newspaper reported on its Web site.

The robbers opened fire, killing Rico, when the Jetta sped past a roadblock the bandits had set up and used to rob bus passengers and another vehicle. The suspects were captured.

Bañuelas was a student at St. Pius X School and is the nephew of Monsignor Arturo Bañuelas, pastor of St. Pius X Catholic Community.

"It's a real tragedy," church Deacon Jim Szostek said. "Rico was kind of unique. Like the Spanish word 'travieso' (mischievious). He was a whole lot of fun. ... We are family here, that's why it's so difficult."

The Jetta's driver, Rey del Valle, and Rico's mother, Norma Patricia Chairez, were wounded.


Mexico ties flooding in Nogales to U.S. Border Patrol-built wall

By Brady McCombs


Mexican officials say a concrete barrier constructed by the U.S. Border Patrol in a storm-water tunnel beneath Nogales appears to be on Mexican soil and was the main cause of serious flooding July 12 in Nogales, Sonora.

The flooding caused about $8 million in damage in Nogales, Sonora, the officials say.

The 5-foot-high wall on the floor of the tunnel in front of a gate was put in without notifying the International Boundary and Water Commission, said Sally Spener, spokeswoman for the U.S. section of the commission. The commission requests that any agency doing work on the border that could affect storm drainage send it plans.

"We do have concerns about structures that are placed on the international boundary that could affect storm-water flow," Spener said.

The U.S. side of the commission hasn't yet determined if the barrier caused the flooding, Spener said. It's important to remember the Mexican side of the tunnel was old and in poor condition, she said.

A delegation from the commission, including Commissioner Carlos Marin, was en route to Nogales on Tuesday.

While in Arizona, the delegation will be analyzing whether the structure is in Mexico, what role it played in the flood and what should be done to remedy the situation, she said.

Officials with the Mexican section of the commission say the barrier reduced the flow of storm water through the tunnel by 40 percent, said Jesús Quintanar, a representative in Nogales of the Mexican side of the commission. The barrier was put up in January by the Border Patrol without letting anyone else know, he said.

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Report: Illegal immigration drops markedly this summer

Center for Immigration Studies analysis


Published: 07.31.2008

A report by the nonprofit Center for Immigration Studies in Washington, D.C., indicates that illegal immigration is down in the United States this summer by 11 percent compared with the same time last summer.

If the trend continues and the decline is sustained, "it would reduce the illegal population by one half in five years," the report concluded.

The report is based on an analysis of census and other data. It was released Wednesday.

Steven Camarota, the author of the study, said in an interview with the Tucson Citizen on Monday that although Arizona figures are not explicitly discussed in the study, he found the rate of illegal immigrant population in Arizona declined 18 percent in the last year. He compared data from April with data from the previous summer.

The study looked at U.S. census figures for foreign-born people ages 18 to 40 who had not graduated from high school or who did graduate from high school but had no additional education.

"Those are the attributes" of individuals counted by the census or by the Census Bureau's American Community Surveys that indicate illegal citizen status, Camarota said.

The CIS study concluded that increased federal enforcement efforts, immigration reform efforts and the declining economy are the key reasons illegal immigration is falling in the United States.


Mexico sees decline in migrant remittances

The Associated Press

Published: 07.30.2008

MEXICO CITY - Half-year figures are expected to show the first sustained decline on record in remittances sent home by Mexicans working abroad, officials said.

The downturn in U.S. housing construction and stepped-up immigration raids have made it tougher for migrants to find jobs, and less able to send money home. Mexico's Central Bank is scheduled to release figures on the remittance flow on Wednesday.

Jesus Cervantes, director of economic measurement for Mexico's central bank, said remittances are expected to decline 1.5 percent to 2 percent for 2008 as a whole over the previous year.

Cervantes said that would be the first such sustained drop since a reliable tally has been kept.

Annual remittances nearly tripled from about US$9 billion in 2001 to almost US$24 billion in 2007, amid improved reporting methods and swelling immigration.

Businesses in many Mexican towns that came to rely on the cash flow are now being forced to scale back — also in part because of the decline of the U.S. dollar, which has lost almost 8 percent of its value against the Mexican peso this year.

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Border Patrol agent pelted by rocks near Douglas

The Associated Press

Published: 07.28.2008

DOUGLAS — A U.S. Border Patrol agent required medical treatment after he was pelted with rocks while trying to arrest five illegal immigrants near Douglas.

The Border Patrol says as the agent sustained a 5-inch cut on his head Sunday night when he was showered with rocks thrown over the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The illegal immigrants he was trying to arrest, says the patrol, fled back into Mexico.

The agent was airlifted to a Tucson hospital, where he was treated and released.

The Border Patrol's Tucson Sector says there have been 201 assaults on its agents since Oct. 1, the start of the agency's budget year.

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Mexican military losing drug war support

The Associated Press

Published: 07.25.2008

OJINAGA, Mexico - This hardscrabble Mexican border town welcomed 400 soldiers when they arrived four months ago to stop a wave of drug violence that brought daytime gunbattles to its main street.

But then the soldiers themselves turned violent, townspeople say, ransacking homes and even torturing people.

The frustration boiled over this week. More than 1,000 people marched through the streets carrying signs begging President Felipe Calderon for protection from his own troops.

Ojinaga, across the Rio Grande from Presidio, Texas, is not alone. People in cities on the front lines of Mexico's battle against trafficking say they are increasingly frustrated with military tactics — a shift in opinion that threatens to undermine Calderon's nationwide crackdown.

Mexico's National Human Rights Commission says it has documented more than 600 cases of abuse since Calderon sent 20,000 soldiers across the nation to take back territory controlled by drug lords.

Mexico's attorney general argues the cases are isolated incidents. The army says it investigates all allegations and punishes those found to have to violated the law.

But many people say the soldiers have become part of the problem.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Border Patrol, DEA Make Large Marijuana Seizure

Monday, July 28, 2008

Alamogordo, N.M. – As a result of a cooperative effort by agents from the Alamogordo Border Patrol Station and the Drug Enforcement Administration, more than 380 pounds of marijuana was seized at a traffic checkpoint on U.S. Highway 54 over the weekend.

The incident unfolded when Border Patrol agents received information from DEA about a possible smuggling load that may be coming through the Highway 54 checkpoint over the weekend. The suspect vehicle was described as a late model Dodge pickup. At approximately 12:15 p.m., a 2006 Dodge Ram pulling a horse trailer pulled into the checkpoint.

The agent at the primary inspection area noticed the vehicle had no license plate. Upon further questioning, the agent became suspicious of the mannerisms being displayed by the driver, a 35-year-old U.S. Citizen from Oklahoma. Agents were given consent to look inside the trailer and tack room, as well as conduct a search with a Border Patrol canine. The canine inspection of the truck and trailer led agents to a hidden compartment located behind an aftermarket wall inside the horse trailer. Using a fiber optic scope to look inside the wall, agents then located a cardboard box concealed inside the compartment. Further inspection led to eight duffle bags and a box containing plastic wrapped bundles of marijuana. A total of 328 bundles were discovered with a total weight of 383.22 pounds.

Agents arrested the driver of the Dodge Ram and turned him over to the Drug Enforcement Administration along with the contraband.

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Border Patrol Canine Alerts to $5.7 Million Worth of Dope in California

Calexico, Calif. – Border Patrol agents from the El Centro Station recovered several bundles of marijuana from a Budget rental truck parked in a lot near Calexico, Calif., early Saturday morning.

At approximately 2 a.m., Border Patrol agents received information from a concerned citizen that the truck was being used for illegal activity. Agents were granted permission to enter the premises. Shortly thereafter, a canine detection team alerted to a strong odor of marijuana emitting from the back of the vehicle. When agents opened the rear door, a large number of wrapped bundles were discovered in the cargo area which, later tested positive as marijuana.

A total of 309 bundles of marijuana were removed from the truck, totaling 7,160 pounds. The seized narcotics have an estimated value of over $5.7 million. An extensive search of the area was made, but no subjects were located in connection with the marijuana.

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CBP Officers in Calif. Discover 5 Tons of Marijuana on Cargo Truck

Friday, July 25, 2008

Calexico, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico east port of entry cargo facility seized more than five tons of marijuana found in a tractor-trailer rig that entered the port at about 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 22, officials announced today.

CBP officers found 469 wrapped packages of the narcotic weighing 10,224 pounds and valued at $4.6 million hidden in numerous boxes manifested as tools, instruments and parts, officials said.

CBP officers ordered the tractor-trailer rig to the port’s gamma-ray facility for an intensive examination after the truck entered the U.S. from Mexico. The intensive examination revealed anomalies in the shipment so it was referred to the dock for off-loading of the merchandise.

CBP officers discovered a green leafy substance concealed within boxes that field tested positive for marijuana.

The driver, a 22-year-old Mexican male, 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 at San Ysidro Port Discover Three Migrant Smuggling Attempts

Thursday, July 24, 2008

San Ysidro, Calif. - Three drivers and a passenger were arrested and charged with alien smuggling early Wednesday morning after U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the San Ysidro port of entry discovered undocumented Mexican citizens concealed within compartments on their vehicles, officials announced today.

The three cross-border drivers, two U.S. citizens and a Mexican national, and a U.S. citizen passenger in one car face prosecution in federal court for the alleged smuggling attempts. The five undocumented aliens ultimately will be returned to Mexico.

The first attempt occurred about 12:20 a.m. when CBP officers inspecting a white 1993 Chevrolet Lumina bearing California plates discovered a compartment in the undercarriage of the car. Once it was opened, officers found a 23-year-old Mexican male and his 18-year-old sister hidden inside the compartment.

The driver, a 44-year-old female U.S. citizen, and her passenger, a 47-year-old male U.S. citizen, both Oceanside residents, were arrested by CBP officers. The vehicle was seized by CBP.

A half hour later, officers discovered another hidden undercarriage compartment on a 1990 Pontiac Transport that concealed two Mexican women, ages 27 and 33. Officers inspected the vehicle because the driver appeared very nervous.

The female driver, a U.S. citizen who resides in Chula Vista, was arrested and the vehicle was seized.

The third smuggling attempt was discovered at about 3:15 a.m. when CBP officers discovered a 49-year-old Mexican female hidden inside the dashboard of a 1993 Mercury Villager.

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Border Patrol Agents Seize Significant Loads of Cocaine and Marijuana Cocaine Load Valued at $7.7 Million; Marijuana Weighing More than 1,500 Pounds

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Border Patrol agents from the Laredo Sector made two significant drug seizures in the past 24 hours.

"These cases are the result of the agents’ deft application of resources, technology and experience to detect and stop illegal activity that threatens our nation," said Laredo Sector Border Patrol Chief Patrol Agent Carlos X. Carrillo.

The first case occurred on Tuesday night when agents from the Laredo North station working at the Interstate Highway 35 checkpoint north of Laredo intercepted a shipment of cocaine worth approximately $7.7 million.

The case unfolded when agents conducted an immigration inspection on the driver of a tractor trailer. During the inspection, a Border Patrol canine alerted toward the trailer, indicating the presence of hidden contraband or people. The vehicle was referred for secondary inspection and examined by the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System which uses gamma rays to produce an image similar to an x-ray. The machine detected an anomaly in cargo being hauled in the trailer. Agents searched the trailer and found several duffel bags that contained a total of 70 cellophane-wrapped bundles.

The bundles contained 240.2 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of $7.7 million. The drugs, the driver and the vehicle were turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Mesa police find 22 at suspected drop house

by Senta Scarborough and Jourdan Rassas - Jul. 29, 2008 02:25 PM
The Arizona Republic

Neighbors were surprised to see a parade of police cars and black Suburban's roll down the quiet streets of their west Mesa neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.

Mesa police discovered at least 22 people in a suspected illegal immigrant drop house near Dobson Road and Eight Street, near the Mesa Riverview retail complex.

Police received a 911 call that led officers to the home in the 500 block of South Visalia, said Detective Diana Tapia, a police spokeswoman Police notified the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

There was a line of suspected undocumented immigrants handcuffed and on their knees in the shade of house as police took them individually to the side of the house for questioning.

Neighbors, who didn’t want to be identified, said they never suspected the home was used as a drop house. They said the neighborhood is quiet and all the neighbors watch out for one another.

Earlier Tuesday, ICE detained 49 suspected undocumented immigrants and one suspected smuggler in Phoenix after police responded to a call notifying them of a possible drop house.

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Gordon asks media to watch Arpaio's immigration sweeps

by Jerry Kammer - Jul. 30, 2008 12:00 AM
Republic Washington Bureau

Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon escalated his feud with Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio on Tuesday, calling on the national media to come to the Valley and observe the sheriff's crackdown on illegal immigration.

Criticizing the sweeps as heavy-handed and abusive, Gordon said he'd like to see a media mobilization comparable to the effort of the dozens of reporters who streamed to Arizona from around the country following the 1976 murder of Arizona Republic investigative reporter Don Bolles.

Their effort, which became known as the Arizona Project, produced extensive reporting on organized crime in the state.

"Come like you did for Don Bolles; come to Phoenix and stop this madness," said Gordon, who has asked the U.S. Department of Justice to launch a civil-rights investigation. "Let's turn the eyes of the nation on this."

Gordon wants to focus attention on the department's sweeps, in which deputies check vehicles and pedestrians in a search for illegal immigrants. The measures have been widely criticized as a form of racial profiling.

Arpaio fired back in a telephone interview from Phoenix.

"He doesn't have to call (on the media), because they're here every day," Arpaio said. "I've been on 3,000 national shows as sheriff. I had two different Dutch reporters yesterday. They come all the time. ... I don't need him to be my press agent."

The Gordon-Arpaio feud is a particularly volatile example of the tensions dividing communities across the country that are frustrated by the inability of Congress to pass immigration reform.

In the absence of a new federal policy, state and local jurisdictions are fashioning their own approaches to enforce immigration law.

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Sheriff's report dismisses profiling

by JJ Hensley - Jul. 30, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

The Maricopa County Sheriff's Office apparently looked into and dismissed racial-profiling allegations from an employee in Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon's office months before the incident mushroomed into a political spat and a federal lawsuit.

According to a report released by the Sheriff's Office Tuesday afternoon, supervisors concluded that a deputy broke no department policies and did not racially profile David and Jessica Rodriguez during a traffic stop near Bartlett Lake. David, whose wife works for Gordon, was issued a $120 citation when he drove around a "road closed" sign after heavy rains had washed out the roads in the area.

The report effectively ended the department's internal investigation into Gordon's accusations that Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies were unlawfully targeting Hispanic residents.

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Agents nab sex offender near border


Border Patrol agents assigned to the Yuma Sector Station arrested a convicted rapist early Monday afternoon near the Andrade port of entry.

Agent Ben Vik, Yuma Sector spokesman, said that at about 1:30 p.m., Border Patrol agents working west of the Andrade port observed a lone male individual walking approximately three miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.

Upon making contact with the subject, it was determined that he was in the United States illegally. The subject was arrested without incident and transported to Yuma Border Patrol Station.

"That area is particularly notorious for illegal entry," Vik saidf. "It's basically a short walk and a slightly longer swim to get into the country in that area."

Vik explained that the All American Canal is about 200 feet from the international border in that area.

A records check back at the Yuma station using the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Information System later revealed the subject had been arrested, charged and convicted of rape by force and sentenced to 18 years in prison.

He also had been arrested for theft and possession of a loaded firearm. In addition, the man has been previously removed from the United States for immigration violations four previous times.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mexican border states aim to revive tourism

TIJUANA: Badly hit by declining tourism revenues, Mexico's northern border states are joining forces with Mexico's federal government in a plan to revive the region.

Baja California Gov. José Guadalupe Osuna Millán hosted a meeting yesterday at a coastal development in Tijuana attended by Mexican tourism secretary Rodolfo Elizondo Torres and the governors of Sonora, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas. The governors of Chihuahua and Coahuila sent representatives.

Over the next two months, the states agreed to develop a plan outlining measures to reverse the tourism decline.

While tourism across Mexico is up more than 8 percent since last year, border states have seen declining numbers of U.S. tourists, due to congested border crossings, reports of crime and other factors.

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5 South Koreans kidnapped in Mexican border city

Tuesday, 22 July 2008
Kwang-Tae Kim - The Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea-- Five South Koreans were abducted in a Mexican border city, officials said Tuesday.

Gunmen who seized the four men and one woman demanded a $30,000 ransom in return for their freedom, according to an official from the National Intelligence Service. The official did not give further details and asked not to be named, citing an internal policy.

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak instructed his top security adviser to "make utmost efforts for quick and safe return" of the kidnapped victims.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the five were kidnapped in the Mexico border city of Reynosa last Monday when they were traveling there to seek job information. The ministry said the five were confirmed to be alive.

Mexico has a large South Korean population, many of whom are active in the import industry and own assembly-for-export factories.

Reynosa police officer Mario Gomez said local authorities were investigating the reports, but could not release any information.

Kidnappings for ransom have become commonplace in Mexico, which has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world. Many are never reported to police, in part because of the fear that local officials may be involved or will bungle a possible rescue.


Kidnappers free 5 South Koreans held for ransom in Mexico by smugglers

7:32 p.m. July 22, 2008
REYNOSA, Mexico – Five South Koreans abducted in Mexico were set free unharmed on Tuesday, more than a week after they were kidnapped and held for ransom, officials said.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry announced the Koreans were in custody of Mexican police and would be handed over to the South Korean Embassy there.

In an interview with Radio Formula, Tamaulipas state attorney general Jose Herrera confirmed the five had been released Tuesday afternoon in Reynosa, and were meeting with embassy officials.

Mexican authorities said the South Koreans were kidnapped on July 14 while driving in Reynosa, across the border from McAllen, Texas, and their captors had demanded US$30,000.

Herrera said the four men and one woman were not in Mexico on business but instead were here looking to cross into the U.S. illegally.

“They were held so (their kidnappers) could profit for crossing them to the United States,” Herrera said.

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Mexico lifts criminal penalties for illegal immigrants caught within its borders

Associated Press - July 21, 2008 2:53 PM ET

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico will no longer jail illegal immigrants detained within its borders.

A measure that takes effect Tuesday eliminates jail times for illegal immigrants caught in Mexico. Most are crossing the country from Central America en route to the U.S.

Undocumented immigration will now be considered a minor offense, punishable by fines equal to US$100 to US$500. Illegal immigrants previously faced up to 10 years in prison, though most were simply deported.

Mexican legislators who backed the revision say Mexico's previous penalties complicated efforts to lobby for better treatment of Mexican immigrants in the U.S.

Activists want more to be done to protect migrants in Mexico, where many are robbed and abused on their way north.

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Calderón can't avoid Juárez violence in visit

By Diana Washington Valdez / El Paso Times

Article Launched: 07/23/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

EL PASO -- Three slayings occurred and a small group of protesters gathered Tuesday, the day Mexican President Felipe Calderón arrived for a visit in Juárez.

During his visit, Calderón praised maquiladoras and vowed to strengthen the nation's oil company and the city's security efforts.

Calderón helped inaugurate the second Electrolux assembly plant in the city, and also mentioned the recent maquiladora expansions announced by Ford and Foxconn, which may hire up to 20,000 to 30,000 border workers in the next four years.

"In 2007, Mexico captured nearly $24.7 billion dollars in direct foreign investment. Such investment, like that of Electrolux, generates employment and gives added value to our country," stated a transcript of his speech at the new Electrolux plant. "This is the largest direct foreign investment in the history of Mexico."

The president's entourage was accompanied by Chihuahua Gov. José Reyes Baeza Terrazas, Juárez Mayor José Reyes Ferriz and business leaders.

Calderón also touched on the federal government's role against organized crime, a theme on the minds of Juárez residents who have witnessed more than 600 slayings since January.

"The federal government responded to the community and Chihuahua state's plea for help with more than 4,000 soldiers and federal agents to fortify the citizenry,"

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Federal trial planned for volunteer who left water in desert

By Stephanie Innes

Arizona Daily Star

Tucson, Arizona | Published: 07.23.2008

Rather than pay a $175 fine, a local aid volunteer is set to go on trial this week for leaving water jugs in the desert for illegal immigrants.

Daniel Millis, 29, is expected to go on trial in federal court Friday morning to defend himself against charges that he littered in Buenos Aires National Wildlife Refuge in February.

The way he sees it, he was punished in the course of offering help.

He says he left 22 one-gallon water jugs in the desert as part of his work with the local faith-based immigrant-aid group No More Deaths.

"Littering is a crime, but humanitarian aid is not a crime," Millis said Tuesday.

Millis was cited as he and three other volunteers with No More Deaths were placing water jugs on a trail in the refuge, which is known to be heavily traveled by migrants who are illegally crossing into the United States from Mexico on foot.

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At Tijuana checkpoint, border crossers wait . . . and wait . . . and wait


Published: 07.23.2008

TIJUANA, Mexico - It looks like any Southern California traffic jam - except you can buy a cappuccino and a 4-foot statue of Jesus from your car while watching dogs sniff vehicles for drugs.

This is the U.S.-Mexico border's most congested crossing, where local residents say already epic lines into San Diego have grown even longer since January, when the U.S. began phasing out a long-standing practice of allowing people they believed to be American citizens to enter by simply stating their citizenship.

Border guards now require most crossers to present a U.S. passport or other proof of citizenship, such as a birth certificate — though they are still permitted to exercise their own judgment in order to keep lines moving. As always, Mexican citizens and other foreign nationals must show valid immigration documents to enter.

Still longer waits may be coming for people trying to get to jobs, homes, in-laws and weekend hangouts are scattered across both halves of the border's largest metropolis.

As of next June, all U.S. citizens will have to present a passport or security-enhanced card, much like an electronic toll tag, to cross - or risk being waved out of line for a rigorous security check.

More than half the 21 million cars crossing from Tijuana each year wait 90 minutes or more, with a fourth stuck for more than two hours, according to survey data collected before the January rule change and published this month by Tijuana's College of the Northern Frontier.

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Addiction rate soars in Mexico as cheap drugs proliferate

Drugs being kept out of U.S. end up in local hands


Published: 07.23.2008

AGUA PRIETA, Mexico - Carlos Antonio Lopez started using crack at age 11 to kill the pain of his mother's death.

"I started with marijuana, but after a while it didn't fill me up anymore," he says. "Then I started on crack. You get obsessed. You can't think about anything else."

Now 18, Lopez is in his sixth stint in rehab.

Not so long ago, stories like Lopez's were unusual in Mexico, where drug addiction had never been a widespread problem. These days, the country is dealing with an unprecedented epidemic of drug use that is partly a result of better U.S. border enforcement, experts say.

The new border fence and intensified patrols by both Mexican and U.S. federal agents have made it harder for Mexican cartels to get drugs into the U.S. As a result, more narcotics remain in Mexico where they are sold to local consumers, says Marcela Lopez Cabrera, director of the Monte Fenix clinic in Mexico City, which trains drug counselors.

The number of new patients at Mexican treatment centers has more than quadrupled since 2000. The health ministry has announced plans to build 300 new rehab centers, triple the current total, to deal with the overflow.

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AIDS among Hispanics is on the rise

Jul. 22, 2008 04:44 PM
Washington Post

SAN YSIDRO, Calif. - AIDS rates in the nation's Hispanic community are increasing and, with little notice, have reached what experts are calling a simmering public health crisis.

Though Hispanics comprise about 14 percent of the U.S. population, they represented 22 percent of new HIV and AIDS diagnoses tallied by federal officials in 2006. According to a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Hispanics in Washington D.C. have the highest rate of new AIDS cases in the country.

So far, the toll of AIDS in the nation's largest and fastest growing minority population has mostly been overshadowed by the epidemic among African Americans and gay white men. Yet in major U.S. cities, as many as 1 in 4 gay Hispanic men has HIV, a rate on par with sub-Saharan Africa.

Blacks still have the highest HIV rates in the country, but language difficulties, cultural barriers and, in many cases, issues of legal status make the threat in the Hispanic community unique. For those who arrived illegally, in particular, fear of arrest and deportation presents a daunting obstacle to seeking diagnosis and treatment.

"Officials need to stop downplaying or ignoring what's happening among Hispanics," said Oscar De La O, president of Bienestar, a Hispanic service organization. "We are at the center of the storm."

Even with the United States embroiled in a fierce debate over immigration policy, the problem of AIDS in Hispanics had received scant attention from political and public health officials. At the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, where only two of 17 approved HIV programs target Hispanic Americans, officials have added Spanish-language hotlines, confidential testing sites and other initiatives aimed at filling the gap.

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CBP officers make pot busts at San Luis port of entry

July 22, 2008 - 4:08PM


Officers at the San Luis, Ariz., port of entry seized more than 440 pounds of marijuana and arrested six people suspected of trying to smuggle the pot into the country in recent days.

The total value of the pot was estimated at $719,000, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

The names of those arrested were not immediately available.

The first of the drug interceptions was July 16 when CBP officers seized 135 pounds of marijuana hidden in compartments built into various areas of a 1997 Dodge pickup. The driver, a 35-year-old man from Mexico, was arrested, CBP said.

The next seizure of pot took place Friday afternoon when officers found 52 pounds of marijuana hidden in the dashboard of a 1999 Chevrolet Malibu, CBP said. The pot was discovered after a narcotics detector dog alerted officers to the odor of drugs, CBP said.

The driver, a 21-year-old man from California, was arrested.

Nearly 90 pounds of pot were found Saturday afternoon inside a 1994 Pontiac Bonneville after another CBP dog alerted officers to the presence of narcotics. A 41-year-old woman from Mexico who was driving the vehicle was arrested, CBP said.

Three more drug busts occurred at the port Sunday morning and in the afternoon.

In the first, at about 5 a.m., CBP officers seized 35 pounds of marijuana hidden inside a 2000 Cadillac Catera after a dog alerted officers to the odor of narcotics. The driver, a 22-year-old man from Mexico, was arrested.

Shortly before 1 p.m., officers seized more than 73 pounds of marijuana hidden inside a speaker box in the trunk 1994 Honda Accord. 16-year-old Arizona girl who was driving the car was arrested, CBP said.

At about 4 p.m. Sunday, officers seized 58 pounds of marijuana hidden in the gas tank of a Chevrolet pickup. The driver, a 24-year-old man from Mexico, was arrested.

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Border camera spots marijuana suspects

July 22, 2008 - 12:14PM


Surveillance cameras used along the Mexico border did their job for the U.S. Border Patrol on Tuesday morning, when the technology helped agents nab 93 pounds of marijuana and apprehend three illegal immigrants.

The two unrelated busts happened early Tuesday morning near the West Main and Salinity Canal bridges near San Luis, Ariz., according to a Border Patrol news statement.

Communications personnel operating a surveillance camera near the border saw two illegal immigrants crossing the Colorado River. Agents tried to stop the two people, who ultimately left their marijuana behind and absconded back across the border, according to the statement.

Camera operators then noticed three subjects crossing the border in the same area. Those people were apprehended shortly after they crossed into the U.S.

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Saturday, July 12, 2008

Asylum petitions increase along Mexico border

by Alicia A. Caldwell - Jul. 12, 2008 12:00 AM
Associated Press

EL PASO - Dozens of Mexicans - including police officers, businessmen, at least one prosecutor and a journalist - are asking for political asylum in the U.S. in a desperate and probably hopeless bid to escape an unprecedented wave of drug-related killings and kidnappings south of the border.

Under U.S. law, fear of crime is not, in itself, grounds for political asylum.

But the sharp spike in asylum applications from the areas wracked by drug-cartel violence - and the willingness of asylum-seekers to sit behind bars in the U.S. for months while they await a decision - are a measure of how bad things are in Mexico and how fearful people have become.

"It's hard. I've been doing this work for 25 years. I've been a reporter for 25 years," said newspaperman Emilio Gutierrez Soto, who is seeking asylum. "We had a life there, a house, my family. It's my country. But it's not safe for a journalist."

Between October and July, at least 63 people have sought political asylum at border crossings in New Mexico and western Texas, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. That is almost double the 33 claims made for the entire fiscal year that ended in October. Elsewhere in southern Texas, asylum applications are also up sharply.

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Mexico says U.S. tried to extradite Navarro too late

Man is suspected of killing Yuma Border Patrol agent

July 10, 2008 - 6:54PM


TUCSON - The United States did not ask Mexico to arrange for a suspect's extradition in the death of a Border Patrol agent until the man had been freed, a Mexican government spokesman said Thursday.

Ricardo Alday, spokesman for the Mexican Embassy in Washington, said U.S. officials presented Mexican authorities "with a provisional arrest request for extradition purposes'' for Jesus Navarro Montes in late June.

Alday said that request came more than a week after a Mexican judge cleared Navarro of an unrelated migrant smuggling charge and released him from a prison in Mexicali, Mexico.

Alday's announcement came hours after 39 U.S. congressmen wrote President Bush and Attorney General Michael Mukasey asking if the government had asked Mexico to extradite Navarro.

It also occurred shortly after Justice Department spokesman Peter Carr said the department would review the congressmen's letter and that it remains committed to investigating agent Luis Aguilar's death.

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Other protests planned along the border


A protest movement that led to a two-hour border blockade at San Luis, Ariz., Wednesday is planned to move to other ports of entry between Arizona and Mexico.

Alberto Becerril Garcia, activist leader of the Frente Civico SanLuisino (San Luis Civic Front), said the group will have a public meeting today (Friday) in Sonoyta, Son., at 5 p.m. in Plaza Cesar, located on the main street that heads toward Puerto Penasco. Sonoyta is about a 30-minute drive from San Luis Rio Colorado, Son..

There the group will discuss and plan its upcoming border blockades at Sonoyta, which faces Lukeville, Ariz., and at Nogales, Ariz.

About 300 protesters blocked the port of entry between San Luis, Ariz., and San Luis Rio Colorado from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday in efforts to pressure the Mexican government to lower summertime electricity rates for citizens of Sonora.

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Thursday, July 03, 2008

Western Union may fight feds' snooping on transfers

The Associated Press

Published: 07.03.2008

The Western Union Co. said Wednesday it is considering whether to appeal a court ruling on the authority of Arizona prosecutors to seize some money transfers to Mexico.

This comes after the Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday knocked down a lower-court decision forbidding Arizona law enforcement from seizing Western Union money transfers and data while investigating human-smuggling operations.

The ruling grants state investigators jurisdiction to sift through and seize certain electronic transactions from most U.S. states to Sonora.

It allows detectives to expand an Arizona investigation that resulted in the seizure of $17 million in what the state said was smugglers' fees.

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Remittances from Mexicans working abroad drop 2.6%

The Associated Press

Published: 07.01.2008

MEXICO CITY - Mexico's central bank says remittances from Mexicans working abroad fell 2.6 percent in the first five months of 2008.

The bank say remittances were US$9.5 million between January and May, compared to US$9.7 million during the same period last year. In May, they were US$2.2 million, a 3.4 percent drop from the same month last year.

The central bank has blamed the drop on the slowing U.S. economy and a crackdown on illegal immigration.

Remittances are Mexico's second largest source of foreign income, next to oil exports.

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Police 'torture' videos cause uproar in Mexico


Published: 07.01.2008

MEXICO CITY - Videos showing city police practicing torture techniques on a fellow officer, dragging another through vomit and jumping on a suspect created an uproar Tuesday in Mexico, which has struggled to eliminate torture by lawmen.

Two of the videos — broadcast by national television networks and displayed on newspaper Internet sites — showed what Leon city Police Chief Carlos Tornero described as training for an elite unit that must face "real life, high-stress situations."

But many Mexicans saw a sinister side, especially at a moment when other police and soldiers across the country are struggling with scandals over alleged abuses.

"They are teaching police ... to torture!" read the headline in the Mexico City newspaper Reforma.

The Guanajuato state human rights commission said it had opened an investigation.

One of the videos, first obtained by the newspaper El Heraldo de Leon, shows police appearing to squirt water up a man's nose - a technique once notorious among Mexican police. Then they dunk his head in a hole said to be full of excrement and rats. The man gasps for air and moans repeatedly.

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U.S. Hispanic population booms with birth rate


Published: 06.30.2008

Births, not immigration, now account for most of the growth in the nation's Hispanic population, a distinct reversal of trends of the past 30 years.

The Hispanic baby boom is transforming the demographics of small-town America in a dramatic way. Some rural counties where the population had been shrinking and aging are growing because of Hispanic immigration and births and now must provide services for the young.

"In all of the uproar over immigration, this is getting missed," said Kenneth Johnson, demographer at the University of New Hampshire's Carsey Institute. "All the focus is on immigration. At some point, it's not. It's natural increase."

This natural increase - more births than deaths - is accelerating among Hispanics here because they are younger than the U.S. population as a whole. Their median age is 27.4 compared with 37.9 overall, 40.8 for whites, 35.4 for Asians and 31.1 for blacks.

Because they are younger and likely to have more children, Hispanics are having an impact that far outlasts their initial entry into the country. From 2000 to 2007, the Hispanic population grew by 10.2 million - 58.6 percent from natural increase. The total U.S. population grew 20.2 million, about 60 percent from natural increase, in that period. In some established immigrant gateways such as Los Angeles and Chicago, all the Hispanic growth comes from natural increase, according to Johnson's research of data from the National Center for Health Statistics


4 decapitated bodies found on Mexican city street

The Associated Press

Published: 07.03.2008

MEXICO CITY - Four decapitated bodies were found on a street in the Mexican city of Culiacan, blocks away from their severed heads.

Three of the beheaded bodies were found inside black, plastic bags on Wednesday, while the fourth was wrapped in a blanket, according to the prosecutor's office in Sinaloa state, where Culiacan is located. Authorities said they believe the killings were drug gang-related.

Police found the heads inside separate white bags on a nearby street in Culiacan, a center for the powerful Sinaloa drug cartel.

"You're next Chapo. You ungrateful traitor," read a note found on a piece of cardboard nearby.

Joaquin "Chapo" Guzman is head of the Sinaloa cartel. He escaped from a Mexican prison in 2001 and is among the most wanted drug lords in the United States and Mexico.

Four gunmen were killed hours later, after opening fire on federal police patrolling Culiacan. Under attack, police shot back at the home where the gunmen were holed up, killing the four assailants and capturing two others. Police said they seized 16 assault rifles and ammunition in the house after the confrontation.

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ICE arrests more than 160 employees at a Houston rag-exporting company

HOUSTON - As part of its ongoing enforcement efforts to investigate worksites allegedly hiring illegal aliens, U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) executed a federal search warrant today at a Houston used clothing and rag-exporting company.

ICE arrested more than 160 Action Rags USA employees for administrative immigration violations. Action Rags USA is an international supplier of used clothing and rags. Today's enforcement action is part of a more than a year-long ongoing investigation

"ICE worksite enforcement investigations unfold in multiple stages. Our ICE agents will follow the evidence and information gathered from this operation to determine if there are other violations of the law," said Robert Rutt, special agent in charge for ICE's Office of Investigations in Houston.

The individuals arrested today are from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

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CBP Officers Deliver Baby at El Paso Border Crossing

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

El Paso, Texas — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers deliver a baby at the Bridge of the Americas international border crossing early Tuesday morning.

On July 1, at about 3 a.m. a 23-year-old female El Paso legal permanent resident arrived at the port of entry. While waiting for admissibility status, the female advised CBP officers that she was experiencing child labor. The CBP officers took immediate action and contacted EMS. While waiting for EMS, CBP officers comforted the woman by placing her on the ground on top of a blanket. CBP officers assisted in the delivery of the infant. The baby boy was placed next to her mother until EMS arrived.

“This is not a first, CBP officers have delivered numerous babies in the past,” said Chief CBP Officer Rick Lopez.

EMS arrived at the border crossing and took over treatment. The mother and newly born infant were transported to a local hospital in El Paso.

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Border Patrol Agents Seize Cocaine, Methamphetamines and Marijuana

Busy weekend in Laredo Sector nets tons of narcotics
Monday, June 30, 2008

Laredo, Texas – Border Patrol agents from the Laredo North station made several significant drug seizures at an Arizona checkpoint during the past weekend.

The first case occurred on Friday, June 27, when agents working at the checkpoint conducted an immigration inspection of the lone occupant of a 2000 Toyota Camry. As the agents spoke to the driver, a Border Patrol canine alerted toward the rear of the car, indicating the possible presence of hidden people or contraband.

Agents searched the car and found a false compartment built into the bottom of the trunk. Inside the compartment, agents discovered 15 cellophane-wrapped packages. The packages contained 35 pounds of cocaine with an estimated value of more than $1.1 million. The drugs, the driver and the vehicle were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The second case happened Saturday morning when agents at the checkpoint conducted an immigration inspection of the two occupants of a 1998 Buick Regal. A Border Patrol canine alerted toward the rear of the car, indicating the possible presence of hidden people or contraband.

Agents searched the car and found 23 cellophane-wrapped bundles hidden in the rear bumper. The bundles contained 55.6 pounds of crystal methamphetamine with an estimated value of $1,779,200. The drugs and the vehicle were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration. The subjects were processed for removal.

Agents working at the Arizona checkpoint made the third seizure on Saturday night. In that case, agents were conducting an immigration inspection on the driver of a tractor trailer when a Border Patrol canine alerted toward the trailer. The vehicle was referred for secondary inspection and examined by the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System which uses gamma rays to produce an image similar to an x-ray. The machine detected an anomaly in some of the cargo crates being transported in the trailer.

Agents examined the crates and found 190 bundles wrapped with grey duct tape. The bundles contained a total of 3,198 pounds of marijuana with an estimated value of $2,558,400. The drugs, the driver and the vehicle were turned over to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

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CBP Officers Nab ‘Persons of Interest’ Connected to Quadruple Murder Case

Monday, June 30, 2008

Douglas, Ariz. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Douglas, Ariz. port of entry played a pivotal role in finding two individuals wanted by the Los Angeles County sheriff in connection with a homicide involving multiple victims, including two children.

At around 4:45 on Saturday afternoon, CBP officers screening people wanting to enter the United States through the Douglas were approached by Mexican authorities, who were escorting two men to the port of entry. The officers’ suspicions were raised by the fact that the men were being escorted by Mexican immigration authorities and, since their mission is to discover and stop threats from entering the United States, they began working to determine the identity and admissibility of the two men.

During the inspection, suspicions were raised further when the two men refused to speak English or Spanish, prompting officers to find a CBP officer who spoke Korean to assist with questioning. As the officers identified the men through use of immigration and other databases, and through questioning, they discovered information leading them to believe the men were wanted as persons of interest in connection with the murder of several people, including two children, in Los Angeles County.

The men were turned over to the Douglas Police Department for further investigation and processing.

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Border Patrol Agents Seize 2,917 Pounds of Marijuana at Texas Checkpoint

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Laredo, Texas - Border Patrol agents from the Laredo North station seized 2,917 pounds of marijuana Wednesday night.

On June 25, agents manning the checkpoint located on Interstate 35 north of Laredo conducted an immigration inspection on the driver of a tractor trailer. While being inspected, a service canine alerted agents to the trailer, indicating the presence of people or contraband.

The vehicle was referred for secondary inspection and examined by the Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System which uses gamma rays to produce an image similar to an x-ray. The machine detected an anomaly inside the trailer.

Agents searched the trailer and found 25 cellophane wrapped bundles stacked among pallets of ceramic tiles. The bundles were determined to be marijuana with a total weight of 2,917.8 pounds and an estimated street value of $2,334,240.

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Cocaine Valued at $500,000 Seized at California Port of Entry

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Andrade, Calif. – U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Andrade port of entry seized approximately half a million dollars in cocaine on Monday and arrested one person in connection with the failed smuggled attempt.

The enforcement action occurred at about 8:45 p.m., when a 19-year-old Mexican male driving a 1999 Toyota Camry was referred to the secondary inspection area for examination by a CBP officer.

While in secondary, a drug sniffing dog alerted officers to the gas tank area of the vehicle. Further inspection of the area revealed a silicone substance and new screws on the sending unit leading to the gas tank. A search of the gas tank resulted in the discovery of 23 packages of cocaine weighing 55.79 pounds and with a street value of approximately $500,000.

The driver, a Bullhead City, Ariz. resident, was arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents and transported to the Imperial County Jail to await arraignment.

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High Temperatures Lead to Increased Rescues by the Border Patrol in Arizona

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Tucson, Ariz. — Within the past four days, Border Patrol agents assigned to Tucson Sector rescued over 70 individuals from the high temperatures and rugged terrain of Southern Arizona.

The largest of the rescues took place on Sunday afternoon. Agents from the Ajo Station responded to a citizen’s report of possible illegal aliens waiving down traffic on State Route 85. As agents arrived on scene it was apparent that all 17 individuals were severely dehydrated and in need of immediate medical attention.

Emergency medical personnel were contacted and all 17 individuals, ranging in age from 8 - 34, were transported to local hospitals. Four individuals needed to be air lifted due to the severity of their dehydration and exposure.

Yesterday evening, agents from the Casa Grande Station encountered a male subject in need of medical assistance near Sells, Ariz. The man was suffering from dehydration. EMS was notified and provided further medical treatment to the subject.

Also yesterday evening, agents from the Sonoita Station encountered a severely dehydrated woman west of Copper Canyon in the Huachuca Mountains. The woman’s medical situation went from bad to worse, as she passed out and remained unconscious. Agents contacted EMS and an air ambulance to respond to the scene, but due to the location and rugged terrain neither could assist. A CBP Air and Marine helicopter responded and deployed a BORSTAR agent nearby and with the help of another agent they stabilized the woman and carried her down the mountain to a waiting ambulance.

From October 1, 2007, to May 31, 2008, the Tucson Sector Border Patrol has rescued over 190 individuals from life or death situations. These rescues have attributed to a 16 percent decrease in the number of deceased individual found in the desert.

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Arrest of Notorious Tijuana Alien Smuggler Successful through Bi-National Enforcement Efforts

Border Patrol commends Mexican Government for significant apprehension
Monday, June 23, 2008

San Diego — Two-and-a-half years of cooperation, communication and intelligence sharing between the Border Patrol and Mexican law enforcement authorities led to the arrest of a well-known leader of a Tijuana alien smuggling organization earlier this month.

Jose Luis Naranjo-Ramirez, better known as “El Sorga,” was arrested and held in Tijuana by Mexican Federal law enforcement officials for organized crime and human trafficking charges on June 5.

Prior to the arrest, Naranjo was one of the most-wanted illegal alien smugglers on both sides of the border. He is the alleged leader of the highly-structured “Linea 13” smuggling organization, which operates primarily out of the Colonia Libertad area in Tijuana. “Linea 13” is notorious for using strong-arm smuggling tactics that have risked the lives of many illegal aliens since the early 1990s.

San Diego Sector Deputy Chief Patrol Agent Richard Barlow said, “This important arrest would not have taken place without exceptional bi-national cooperation and exchange of information. I would like to thank the Attorney General of Mexico and Mexican law enforcement authorities for their efforts to further alleviate all threats from entering our country.”

Since the beginning of fiscal year 2007 San Diego Sector Border Patrol agents have apprehended over 110,164 illegal aliens and seized more than 36,844 pounds of marijuana.

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Voters may have say on employer sanctions law

July 2, 2008 - 3:52PM


PHOENIX - Arizona voters are likely going to get a chance to do what lawmakers and federal judges have so far rejected: dilute the state's new employer sanctions law.

A business-financed group filed about 284,000 signatures this week for its own version of a statute that backers say provides "tough, enforceable, fair" laws. Only 153,365 of those need to be found valid to qualify for the Nov. 4 ballot.

The measure, dubbed Stop Illegal Hiring, contains the same penalties as the state law which took effect Jan. 1. It allows a judge to suspend all state licenses of any firm found to have knowingly hired an undocumented worker; a second violation within three years results in license revocation.

But this version requires prosecutors to prove that the owner or an officer of the company have "actual knowledge" that a worker is here illegally. The fact that an underling has deliberately hired the undocumented worker and the owner may have reason to believe the person is illegal would not be enough.

Potentially more significant, it provides absolute immunity to firms that either use the E-Verify system or simply comply with existing federal laws about checking the identity of new workers