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Tag: Border Patrol

First Outsider to Head Border Patrol Is Facing Complex Challenges

New Border Patrol chief, Mark Morgan

New Border Patrol chief, Mark Morgan

By Steve Neavling

As the first outsider to head the Border Patrol in its 92 years, Mark Morgan is facing a broad array of issues, from corruption in the ranks to the increase in children and families pouring across the border.

Morgan, who is a former U.S. Marine, LAPD officer and FBI agent, also has been criticized for shedding his dark business suit to wear the Border Patrol uniform, the Los Angels Times reports. 

The appointment of Morgan, 51, has been opposed by Border Patrol’s most powerful union because he didn’t climb up through the ranks and never experienced the arduous task of being an agent.

“The really tricky part is to make sure he has buy-in from the rank and file and the boots on the ground who will be following his leadership,” said Michelle Brané, an immigrant rights advocate at the New York-based Women’s Refugee Commission, who met with Morgan last month.

Residents, Border Patrol Weigh in on Trump’s Proposal to Build a Wall

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling

Donald Trump’s proposal to build a wall at the border between the U.S. and Mexico has drawn strong criticism and support.

To longtime border resident Pamela Taylor, a wall would be ineffective, KENS 5 reports. She lives next to a wall that had been built about 10 years ago.

“I don’t care what it’s called. It’s useless,” Taylor said, adding that “the fence is not working at all and those millions of illegal aliens would not be in America today if that fence were working.”

Others support the wall, including Chris Cabrera, the local 3307 vice president of the National Border Patrol Council.

“With the exception of Mr. Trump, nobody in the presidential campaign has ever spoken about national security. Many have spoken about immigration reform but none have spoken to secure the actual border,” Cabrera said.

Cabrera said the existing wall is effective because it creates bottleneck traffic.

But he said the wall is only one part of cracking down on illegal immigration.

“The simple solution right off the bat is enforce the laws that are on the books. We’re releasing about 80 percent of the people coming across,” he said. “So with that, people are going to continue to cross.”

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Agents Discover 30 Illegal Immigrants inside Tractor-Trailer

Tractor-trailer where 30 illegal immigrants were found, via Border Patrol.

Tractor-trailer where 30 illegal immigrants were found, via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents made a surprising discovery inside a tractor-trailer at a checkpoint in Salton City, Calif., on Monday.

Thirty illegal immigrants were hidden inside at the Highway 86 checkpoint, NBC7 San Diego reports. 

The immigrants were locked inside the trailer from the outside, posing a significant danger to the 30 people, all of whom are Mexican citizens.

Earlier this month, Border Patrol agents found 19 illegal immigrants inside a tractor-trailer on the same highway. All but one was a Mexican citizen. They also were locked from the outside.

Homeland Security: It Will Take More Than a Wall to Stop Illegal Immigrants

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

By Steve Neavling

Donald Trump’s continued rhetoric about building a wall at the U.S.-Mexican border is far from enough to stop the increasing number of illegal immigrants from reaching America, said Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.

“Border security alone cannot overcome the powerful push factors of poverty and violence that exist in Central America,” Johnson said in a statement. “Walls alone cannot prevent illegal migration. Ultimately, the solution is long-term investment in Central America to address the underlying push factors in the region.”

Johnson is urging Congress and the next administration to enact immigration reform and handle the root causes of migration.

Johnson said 77,000 more immigrants were captured at the border this fiscal year compared to the previous one.

More than 400,000 people apprehended at the border in the 2016 fiscal year, which ended in September.

“Fewer Mexicans and single adults are attempting to cross the border without authorization, but more families and unaccompanied children are fleeing poverty and violence in Central America,” Johnson said. “In 2014, Central Americans apprehended on the southern border outnumbered Mexicans for the first time. In 2016, it happened again.”

U.S.-Canada Border Gets Little Attention But Remains Vulnerable to Illegal Crossings

Sign welcomes drivers coming from Canada to U.S. near British Columbia. Photo via Wikipedia.

Sign welcomes drivers coming from Canada to U.S. near British Columbia. Photo via Wikipedia.

By Steve Neavling

The U.S. border with Mexico has become a central issue in the presidential campaign.

But while the 2,000-mile border attracts more attention, the Northern border with Canada is 5,500 miles and is easier to cross illegally.

Without enough agents at the Northern border, officials said it’s difficult to say how much criminal activity actually occurs.

“The problem is that we don’t know what the threats and risk are because so much attention is given to the Southwest border,” said Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., according to a report by the New York Times.

NYT wrote:

This area is a haven for smugglers and cross-border criminal organizations. Each year, Border Patrol agents catch hundreds of drug smugglers and human traffickers who use the sparsely populated and heavily wooded areas along the Vermont-Canada border to bypass the agents, cameras, sensors and other electronic devices that the Department of Homeland Security has installed to make up for the lack of personnel.

The expanse and remoteness of much of the Northern border, which includes Alaska, make the task of law enforcement daunting, said Norman M. Lague, who leads the Border Patrol station in Champlain, New York, one of the eight stations in the Swanton region that oversee border security operations in Vermont, upstate New York and New Hampshire. “We do the best that we can with the resources we have,” he said.

Officials worry that the lack of attention to the Northern border makes it vulnerable to terrorists and criminal enterprises.

Supreme Court to Decide Whether Border Patrol Agent Can Be Sued for Killing Mexican Teen

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling

Can a Border Patrol agent be sued for shooting and killing a Mexican teenager?

The Supreme Court decided Tuesday it will take up the case of a Border Patrol agent who shot and killed a Mexican teenager who was playing with friends, the Los Angeles Times reports. 

The victim of the 2010 shooting was an unarmed 15-year-old named Sergio Hernandez.

The central question: Does the 4th Amendment extend beyond the U.S. border patrolled by Border Patrol agents?

Lawyers for the parents of the teenager argue that the 4th Amendment’s ban on unreasonable seizures and the unjustified use of deadly force extends beyond the border where agents patrol.

Hernandez “was killed in a culvert the U.S. officials patrol and effectively control,” the lawyers wrote in their appeal to the high court.

New Details Emerge of Border Patrol Agent Accused of Helping Mexican Cartel

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

Border Patrol Agent Joel Luna

By Steve Neavling

When authorities found a headless body floating near South Padre island in Texas, the investigation led them to a Border Patrol agent accused of helping a Mexican cartel smuggle drugs and weapons across the border.

Agent John Luna is accused of helping his brothers.

New details have emerged, including that investigators said they have found a “treasure trove” of evidence at Luna’s mother-in-law’s house, the Associated Press reports. 

Discovered in a safe at the home were nearly $90,000 in cash and a kilo of cocaine.

Luna, a 31-year-old Iraq War veteran, is accused of capital murder in the death of a mean that was considered a possible snitch.

His attorney, Carlos A. Garcia, claims Luna had nothing to do with the scheme.

“This is a clear-cut case of guilt by association,” Garcia said.

Prosecutors declined to discuss details of the case, but said the safe contained Luna’s Border Patrol badge.

“Drug use and abuse in America is fueling the Mexican cartels, and because of the money and the weapons that go south, we get all the violence,” Garza said. “This case represents that.”

Other Stories of Interest

Nearly Half of Illegal Immigrants Who Enter U.S. from Mexico Elude Capture

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

Border Fence along Mexico and the U.S.

By Steve Neavling

When it comes to catching to immigrants who illegally entered the U.S. from Mexico last year, only about half were caught, according to a Homeland Security report.

Homeland Security previously said about 81% of the people who entered the U.S. illegally were captured, Tribune news services report.  

But during the 2015 fiscal year, that number was 54%.

The 98-page report from May was not publicly released by Homeland Security, but the Associated Press obtained a copy.

The report found that 170,000 snuck in without being captured, compared to 210,000 in 2014 and 1.7 million in 2005.

The decline in illegal entries comes as the U.S. increased border security spending, which is now $14 billion a year.

“This is the first solid evidence we have that the border buildup of the last 20 years has indeed made some significant difference in deterring and reducing illegal entries across the southern border,” said Edward Alden, senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.