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Tag: CBP

Trump’s Pledge to Hire More Border Patrol Agents Is Met with Resistance, Logistical Snags

ICE agents, via ICE.

ICE agents, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s pledge to quickly hire 15,000 new border security agents and immigration officers has hit logistical snags.

Just days after entering office, Trump signed an executive order to add 5,000 more Border Patrol agents and 10,000 more immigration officers for ICE.

Since then, Homeland Security’s watchdog has expressed skepticism about the ability to hire that many new employees. Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General also issued a report in late July that questions  need for 15,000 new agents and officers, CBS News reports. 

“Neither CBP nor ICE could provide complete data to support the operational need or deployment strategies for the additional 15,000 additional agents and officers they were directed to hire,” the report found.

Neither agency knows exactly how many employees it needs.

Tony Payan, director of the Mexico Center at the Baker Institute at Rice University, suggested the Trump administration provided an “arbitrary number” of employees to hire.

“So what is the optimum number for the border patrol?” Payan said. “We don’t really have a baseline right now. I think saying that we need 25 percent more, or we need to double ICE, at this point in time it sounds to me more like … sort of an arbitrary number.”

Border Patrol Barred from Speaking to Congressional Members, Lawyers During Travel Ban

Protest at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Photo by Steve Neavling.

Protest at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

When President Trump’s travel ban went into effect in late January, Custom and Border Protection employees directed personnel at airports to ignore members of Congress and treat lawyers with suspicion, according to a new report.

Ahead of the ban, Homeland Security officials ordered airport staff to treat lawyers as through they were “protesters” and to ignore members of Congress, documents obtained by the Daily Beast and the James Madison Project show. 

Congressional members expressed shock.

“I’m extremely troubled that CBP [Customs and Border Protection] employees would be instructed by superiors to ignore Congressional representatives trying to do their job, especially under such circumstances,” said Sen. Cory Booker, a New Jersey Democrat. “We suspected as much at the time, but it’s jarring to see it in black and white. I’ll be seeking more information from CBP on this matter.”

In a Jan. 28 email, a CBP officials forbid employees from interacting with members of Congress. 

“As stated on the call earlier today, you and your staff are NOT to engage with the media or Congressional representatives at this time,” emailed Todd Owen, the executive assistant commissioner of CBP’s Office of Field Operations, on Jan. 28. “Please make sure your subordinate Port Directors are following this direction. Please report any such requests to acting AC[REDACTED] from Congressional Affairs. Thank you.”

During protests at airport, CBP refused to answer questions from Congress about how many people were detained.

There are also questions whether all those detained at the airport had access to immigration lawyers.

Border Patrol Union: Significant Decline in Illegal Crossings ‘Nothing Short of Miraculous’

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The significant decline in illegal border crossings between the U.S. and Mexico is “nothing short of miraculous,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said on C-SPAN Monday.

“As far as the Trump administration’s efforts on immigration, this is something they campaigned heavily on,” he said. “At six months, where we are on meeting those promises, we are seeing nothing short of miraculous. If you look at the rhetoric that President Trump has given, it has caused a number of illegal border crossings to go down. We have never seen such a drop that we currently have.”

CBP reported a 53% decline in southwest border apprehension since last year, the Washington Examiner reports. The drop in apprehension is believed to be an indicator that fewer people are trying to illegally cross the border. 

Judd attributed the decline to two executive orders that allowed Border Patrol agents to fully enforce the law.

The Border Patrol union endorsed Trump for president.

Off-Duty Border Patrol Agent Severely Beaten in New Mexico

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A motorist found an off-duty Border Patrol agent on the side of the road in New Mexico on Friday night, severely beaten and left for dead.

The agent, who was assigned to the Deming Border Patrol Station in New Mexico, sustained serious injuries to his head, chest and hands, according to a CBP news release. He was found about 11 p.m. in Dona Ana County, west of Las Cruces.

The agent, whose name has not been released, was rushed to a nearby hospital and was in stable condition.

The FBI, Dona Ana County Sheriff’s Office and the El Paso Police Department are helping investigate.

Another off-duty Border Patrol agent was stabbed in the eye in the El Paso Sector on May 20.

“CBP has informed its workforce of this report and has reminded its law enforcement personnel to be alert and aware of their surroundings and potential threats related to their service,” CBP said in the news release.

Man Dies After Border Patrol Shooting at Las Cruces, N.M., Checkpoint

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A man who authorities initially believed was shot by Border Patrol agents at a Las Cruces checkpoint in New Mexico last month has died. 

CBP officials originally said agents shot the man after he pointed a gun at them on April 9. But now officials said the man shot himself, KFOX14 reports

Agents fired their weapons at the man after they heard a gunshot.

No agents were injured.

The man’s identity has not been released by CBP.

Homeland Security Gets Bombarded with Proposals to Build Drones for the Border

drone-1142182_960_720By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Homeland Security shouldn’t worry about finding sophisticated drones for the border.

The agency received so many bids to provide compact drones that the federal government ended the submission process two months early, NBC News reports

“As this was a pilot program, we were hoping to see a robust response from industry, but did not have a specific target [number of bids] in mind,” said Ari Shuler, director of U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s Commercial Technology Innovation Program. “Our team’s expectations were exceeded as we received more than three dozen proposals.”

These aren’t just any drones. They are designed to identify people from the air using facial recognition technology, and the drones are capable of tracking people for at least 3 miles.

Border Patrol has used drones since 2005, but the technology is nowhere near as sophisticated as it is today.

Border Patrol Agent Shoots Suspect at Las Cruces Checkpoint

police tapeBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent shot a man accused of pointing a gun at agents at the Las Cruces Immigration Checkpoint on I-25 in New Mexico on Sunday.

CBP is investigating the shooting, which happened around 6:15 p.m., the Deming Headlight reports. 

The incident happened after the suspect was undergoing a secondary inspection. Authorities said the man, who has not yet been identified, brandished a handgun and then fired once in the direction of agents.

Agents returned fire, striking the suspect at least once.

The suspect was air lifted to a local hospital in an unknown condition.

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.