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Tag: Border

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.

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.

Border Patrol Chief: Agents Are ‘Most Assaulted Law Enforcement Personnel’ in U.S.

border patrol 3By Steve Neavling

Mark Morgan, the Border Patrol’s new chief, said his agents are “the most assaulted law enforcement personnel in the country.”

“I’ve learned that the United States Border Patrol agents are among the most assaulted law enforcement personnel in the country,” Mark Morgan, the new chief of the Border Patrol, told a House Homeland Security subcommittee panel on Tuesday, the Washington Examiner reports. “There have been 7,542 assaults against agents since 2006 and 30 agents have died in the line of duty since 2003.” 

Morgan also said agents are distracted from their mission to keep the country safe because of unaccompanied minors crossing the border.

“What we’re being asked to do right now, I think you could phrase it a little bit, is a humanitarian mission,” Morgan said.

Immigrants, Cartels Circumvent Border Walls by Digging Tunnels

Cross-border tunnel discovered by authorities this year.

Cross-border tunnel discovered by authorities this year.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents have found dozens of tunnels near the border of Mexico.

When agents locate the taste underground networks used by Mexican drug cartels, they dump concrete to seal the passageway and stamp them with a date, the New York Times reports. 

“The clock is ticking as soon as they complete a tunnel,” said Kevin Hecht, a Border Patrol tunneling expert. “They know that we will eventually find them. But if even one load gets through before we find it, they consider it a success.”

Many of the tunnels are used to circumvent large walls – like the one supported by Donald Trump.

“The Border Patrol has done an incredible job, given its resources,” said Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the White House drug policy director in the Clinton administration. “But it would be a stretch to say that the border and border communities are secure when the agency lacks a high-confidence ability to detect cross-border tunnels. No wall is going to fix that.”

Trump has pledged to use sensor to  “find and dislocate tunnels and keep out criminal cartels,” but no such technology has proven successful.

Homeland Security Searches for Drones Capable of Facial Recognition

FBI-facial-recognitionBy Steve Neavling

Homeland Security is looking to Silicon Valley for specially designed drones.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that officials met last week with technology entrepreneurs in search of small, light-weight drones that are easy to fly and can cover vast stretches of desert.

The drones also need to be able to provide images good enough to scan faces against a database for prior criminal history.

“There can be questions about how accurate that is and legitimate questions about how someone’s picture got into a database,” said John Simpson, director of Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project.

Border Patrol currently uses drones, but the technology isn’t up to snuff, officials said.

Border Patrol Agents Find $600,000 Worth of Liquid Meth in Texas

These containers were filled with liquid meth.

These containers were filled with liquid meth.

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents seized more than $600,000 worth of liquid methamphetamine in Eagle Pass, Texas, while conducting checkpoint operations.

San Angelo Live reports that canines alerted agents to possible narcotics in the vehicle.

“The profit from these narcotics are more important to the criminal organizations than the negative impact they have on communities,” said Acting Del Rio Sector Chief Matthew Hudak. “I commend our agents for their hard work and dedication in removing these drugs from our streets.”

The liquid meth was found in shampoo bottles.

The driver was arrested and turned over to the DEA.