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Tag: Canada

Border Agents Searched More Phones in February Than All of 2015

cell-phone-app-fbiBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection officers have demanded that American citizens turn over their phones and passwords in 25 cases examined by NBC News. 

The phones are being seized at the border and airports.

A New York couple said it happened to them twice while returning from a trip to Canada. Akram Shibly and his wife Kelly McCormick said Shibly was assaulted by officers to get their phone.

In February, 5,000 phones were searched, which is more than all of the phones searched in 2015. Homeland Security data show that Border Patrol agents searched nearly 25,000 phones in 2016, a five-fold increase over 2015.

NBC wrote:

The travelers came from across the nation, and were both naturalized citizens and people born and raised on American soil. They traveled by plane and by car at different times through different states. Businessmen, couples, senior citizens, and families with young kids, questioned, searched, and detained for hours when they tried to enter or leave the U.S. None were on terror watchlists. One had a speeding ticket. Some were asked about their religion and their ethnic origins, and had the validity of their U.S. citizenship questioned.

What most of them have in common — 23 of the 25 — is that they are Muslim, like Shibly, whose parents are from Syria.

FBI Data: Terrorists Using Border with Canada to Gain Entry into U.S.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While President Trump focuses on security at the U.S.-Mexico border, he may want to shift his focus to the northern border with Canada.

The Daily Beast reports that “far more suspected terrorists try to enter the country from the northern border with Canada than from the south.”

The media outlet analyzed monthly domestic encounter reports from the FBI Terrorist Screening Center, which details encounters with terrorists.

“We are looking the wrong direction,” said a senior DHS official familiar with the data. “Not to say that Mexico isn’t a problem, but the real bad guys aren’t coming from there—at least not yet.”

President Trump has claimed that jihadis are “pouring” into the country, but White House press secretary Sean Spicer declined to disclose any evidence.

FBI data shows there is more urgency at the northern border with Canada.

“We often hear about security concerns on the Southern border, but bad actors intent on entering our country will always seek the path of least resistance, so we must have the necessary tools and resources to secure both the northern and southern borders,” Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) said in a statement to The Daily Beast.

Weekend Series on Crime: The Canadian Mafia

FBI Announces the Latest Crackdown on Child Sex Trafficking

FBI photo

FBI photo

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

San Diego — Trying to keep a focus on the plague of child sex trafficking,  FBI Director James Comey on Monday announced that 82 minors were rescued and 239 traffickers and their associates were arrested in a nationwide crackdown titled Operation Cross Country X that ran from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16 and involved members of state, local and federal law enforcement.

“Operation Cross Country aims to shine a spotlight into the darkest corners of our society that seeks to prey on the most vulnerable of our population,” Comey said at the International Association of Police Chiefs in San Diego.  “As part of this effort, we are not only looking to root out those who engage in the trafficking of minors, but through our Office for Victim Assistance, we offer a lifeline to minors to help them escape from a virtual prison no person ever deserves.”

For the first time, Comey said, the program, in its 10th year, included foreign countries: Cambodia, Canada, the Philippines, and Thailand.  In Canada, authorities recovered 16 children, while in Cambodia, Thailand, and the Philippines, authorities recovered 25 children, including a 2-year-old girl.

Comey said while some are relieved when law enforcement intervenes, not all are grateful, and may require counseling and other assistance to essentially be deprogramed.

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
ticklethewire.com

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.

Homeland Security Releases List of Countries with Visitors Who Overstayed Their Visas

visasBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security released an estimate of foreign visitors who overstay their permits to be in the U.S., Pew Research reports. 

About 416,500 people remained in the U.S. this year after their visas expired in fiscal 2015. That’s out of 45 million people whose visas expired during that period .

Canada led the list of overstays with an estimated 93,035 still in the U.S. Mexico was second with 42,114, followed by Brazil with 35,707.

Homeland Security released the data under pressure tom Congress.

But the information is incomplete because it’s difficult to track how many people have remained in the U.S.

Residents, Local Law Enforcement Concerned about Homeland Security Helicopter Flying Over Michigan City

Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 8.44.02 AMBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Residents and local law enforcement have raised serious questions about why a Homeland Security helicopter was spotted flying over the area of Bad Axe, Michigan, WWJ reports.

Hoping to find out more about the helicopter and the reason it was flying over the area, Huron County Sheriff Kelly J. Hanson called the Aviation Unit in Detroit.

“I wasn’t satisfied with their answer to say the least, but I was told [the helicopter] was taking photos,” he explained. “I made them well aware that people are concerned, especially with what’s going on in the media.”

An email obtained by the Huron Daily Tribune suggested the helicopter was on a routine mission along the U.S.-Canada border.

“The Great Lakes Air and Marine Branch is responsible for more than 1,000 miles of international border with Canada, which is patrolled by both aircraft and vessels,” U.S. Customs and Border Protection Public Affairs Officer Kris Grogan said in the email.

Prosecutor: Border Patrol Agent Justified in Fatal Shooting

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A Border Patrol agent was justified when he fatally shot a 20-year-old Canadian who crossed the border illegally in March and sprayed the agent with bear spray, the Associated Press reports. 

Whatcom County Prosecutor Dave McEachran said the agent did everything he could to avoid a fatal encounter with Jamison Edward Childress, retreating and warning the man that he would be shot if he deployed the beer spray.

Canadian police were looking for the man from Prince George, British Columbia, because he was wanted on murder charges.

When confronted at a border near Sumas, Washington, he reportedly screamed, “Kill me!” at officers.

A responding agent retreated but had run out of places to go, according to the report.

“The officer was sprayed before he fired,” McEachran said. “The officers could see this huge cloud sprayed. It was coming right at his face, he shot his gun at that point, then was overcome by the spray.”

Two shots were fired. One bullet was recovered in the autopsy.