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Tag: Border Patrol

U.S. Supreme Court to Decide Whether Mexican Nationals Can Sue Over Border Patrol Shootings

Border PatrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments today in a case involving a Border Patrol agent who fatally shot an unarmed 15-year-old across the border with Mexico.

The big legal question: Can the family of the teenager sue an agent for damages in the U.S.?

The shooting occurred between El Paso and Juarez. There have been 42 cross-border shootings between 2005 and 2013, marking a big increase over previous time periods, NPR reports. 

NPR wrote:

In June 2010, Sergio Hernández and his friends were playing chicken, daring each other to run up the incline on the U.S. side and touch the fence, according briefs filed by lawyers for the Hernández family.

At some point U.S. border agent Jesus Mesa, patrolling the culvert, arrived on a bicycle, grabbed one of the kids at the fence on the U.S. side, and the others scampered away. Fifteen-year-old Sergio ran past Mesa and hid behind a pillar beneath the bridge on the Mexican side.

As the boy peeked out, Agent Mesa, 60 feet or so away on the U.S. side, drew his gun, aimed it at the boy, and fired three times, the last shot hitting the boy in the head.

Although agents quickly swarmed the scene, they are forbidden to cross the border. They did not offer medical aid, and soon left on their bikes, according to lawyers for the family.

Border Patrol Agents Discover Catapult Used to Smuggle Drugs

A catapult found at the Mexico-Arizona border, via CBP.

A catapult found at the Mexico-Arizona border, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents found a catapult that smugglers were using to throw bundles of marijuana over the Mexican border in Arizona.

Agents on patrol near the Douglas Port Entry discovered the device on Feb. 10, The Arizona Republic reports. 

Several people who were seen near the catapult fled upon seeing the agents.

Agents found two bundles of marijuana that weighed nearly 50 pounds.

Mexican authorities seized the catapult.

Federal Authorities Detain, Search Phone of NASA Scientist at Airport

nasaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sidd Bikkannavar, who works at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab and is a natural-born U.S. citizen, was detained while trying to reenter the United States just as the President Trump’s controversial immigration ban took effect.

But it didn’t stop there. He said Border Patrol agents confiscated his NASA-issued phone, which could include sensitive information, Gizmodo reports. 

Bikkannavar posted about the incident on Facebook:

Sorry for the absence. On my way home to the US last weekend, I was detained by Homeland Security and held with others who were stranded under the Muslim ban. CBP officers seized my phone and wouldn’t release me until I gave my access PIN for them to copy the data. I initially refused, since it’s a JPL-issued phone (Jet Propulsion Lab property) and I must protect access. Just to be clear – I’m a US-born citizen and NASA engineer, traveling with a valid US passport. Once they took both my phone and the access PIN, they returned me to the holding area with the cots and other sleeping detainees until they finished copying my data.

I’m back home, and JPL has been running forensics on the phone to determine what CBP/Homeland Security might have taken, or whether they installed anything on the device. I’ve also been working with JPL legal counsel. I removed my Facebook page until I was sure this account wasn’t also compromised by the intrusion into my phone and connected apps. I hope no one was worried. JPL issued me a new phone and new phone number, which I’ll give out soon.

Bikkannavar had landed at George Bush Intercontinental Airport in Houston, Texas, on Jan. 30, when he was detained and told that the Border Patrol was going to search his phone.

Bikkannavar told authorities that he was no allowed to hand over his phone because he’s required to protect it.

Drug Trafficker Busted with Marijuana Stuffed in Bundles Resembling Limes

Marijuana was found stuffed inside bundles that resembled limes.

Marijuana was found stuffed inside bundles that resembled limes.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol officials found nearly 4,000 pounds of marijuana hidden in what looked like a large shipment of limes.

The Jan. 30 raid near McAllen revealed nearly 35,000 lime-shaped bundles inside a tractor-trailer at the Pharr International Bridge, CBP said in a press release Tuesday .

The value of the marijuana was about $789,000.

Federal authorities continue to investigate.

Trump’s New Border Patrol Leader Compared the President to Dennis the Menace

znypzbwhahywqpgplg6yBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s new head of the Border Patrol, Ronald Vietello, attacked the Republican last year on Twitter.

The March 2016 tweet shows a photo of Donald Trump and an illustration of Dennis the Menace, Gizmodo reports.  The tweet compares Trump to the obnoxious cartoon child.

The tweet reads, “This I can tell you! 100%.”

Trump has shown that he has no tolerance for Twitter users attacking him. What’s unclear is whether Trump even knows about the Tweet.

Border Patrol Agents Say Trump Has Boosted Morale

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Among the biggest supporters of Donald Trump during the presidential election were Border Patrol agents because of the Republicans pledges to crack down on illegal immigration.

Agents have long complained that the border is too porous and doesn’t have enough federal protection.

Now agents are hoping President Trump will change that.

“When Trump was elected, there was an increase in optimism among the agents, but nothing like what we’ve seen in the past few days,” Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, told Fox News

Trump has already pledged to hire 5,000 more federal agents, build a wall and suspend “catch and release.”

Agents said morale had plummeted under President Obama, but hopes are now high.

New Border Patrol Chief Appointed Under President Trump’s Administration

Border Patrol chief Ron Vitiello.

Border Patrol chief Ron Vitiello.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol has a new leader under President Trump’s administration.

Acting Commissioner Kevin McAleenan named his replacement, Ron Vitiello, according to the agency’s Twitter account on Tuesday.

“I am pleased to announce the appointment of Ron Vitiello as U.S. Border Patrol Chief,” McAleenan wrote.

The National Border Patrol Council – the agents’ union – supported the appointment of Vitiello, who had endorsed Trump during the election.

Vitiello joined Border Patrol more than 30 years ago and most recently served as CBP’s executive assistance commissioner for operations support.

Vitiello briefly served as acting Border Patrol chief and also had the role of deputy chief in the Obama administration.

No Senate confirmation is required.

Mark Morgan resigned as Border Patrol chief less than a week ago.

Other Stories of Interest

Border Agents Defy Judges’ Orders on Trump’s Travel Ban

Protesters at Detroit Metro Airport rally against Trump’s executive order. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Patrol agents ignored the orders of federal judges who said Donald Trump’s travel bans are unenforceable, members of congress and civil rights attorneys said.

Muslims from the seven countries on the travel-ban list were still being detained Sunday, two days after three judges ordered a temporary halt to the deportation of people who had arrived with valid visas in the U.S., the Guardian reports. 

On Sunday, four Democratic members of the House of Representatives visited Dulles airport in Virginia after it was discovered that people had been detained and weren’t allowed to see lawyers.

“We have a constitutional crisis today,” representative Don Beyer wrote on Twitter. “Four members of Congress asked CBP officials to enforce a federal court order and were turned away.”

Representative Jamie Raskin also tweeted, “As far as I know no attorney has been allowed to see any arriving passenger subject to Trumps exec order at Dulles today.”

He added: “CBP appears to be saying people in their custody not ‘detained’ technically & Dulles international arrivals areas not in the United States.”

Homeland Security has declined to comment.

Protests were launched across the country to protest the ban on travel from the seven Muslim-majority countries.

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