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Tag: CBP

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.

Border Patrol Prisoner Commits Suicide After Being Detained

jail2photo

Archive photo of a man in jail.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Mexican man who was arrested on an immigration charge hanged himself in the El Paso County Jail.

Norberto Santa Cruz, 42, of Juárez, was arrested on a warrant for an illegal reentry charge, a sheriff’s spokeswoman told the El Paso Times. 

Santa Cruz died Saturday, a week after he was on life support following the attempted suicide.

The motive is unclear because no note was found.

Santa Cruz was arrested on March 3 after climbing onto a train and illegally crossing the order.

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-Border Officials Question Trump’s Plan to Hire 5,000 More Officers

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s plans to add more than 5,000 border enforcement officers has caught criticism from former top officials at Customs and Border Patrol.

Three top officials at CBP told Reuters that the hiring presents logistical challenges and might be unnecessary.

Increasing employment won’t be easy and may involve relaxing screening protocols for recruits, which could invite corruption and questionable hires, the former officials said.

The officials also questioned the necessity of hiring more agents since apprehensions at the border have declined.

“Congress is going to be looking at this very carefully and looking for justification for this kind of money to make sure they don’t write a check that is not necessary,” said W. Ralph Basham who headed U.S. Customs and Border Protection during the George W. Bush administration. “The question will be do we need more agents or do we need money for technology and infrastructure,” he said.

Trump has called for a more aggressive crackdown on illegal immigration and called for the hiring of more than 5,000 border patrol agents and 10,000 ICE officers.

“At the end of the day, the goal is to get control of the border and enhance the security of the country,” said White House assistant press secretary Michael Short in an email.

Other Stories of Interest

Passengers on Domestic Flight Forced to Show ID to Border Officials

1024px-welcome_john_f-_kennedy_international_airport_sign

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Passengers of a domestic Delta flight were shocked when they were forced to show their identity documents to Customs and Border Protection agents after arriving at John F. Kennedy airport on Wednesday evening.

A CBP spokesman told Rolling Stone that it’s “nothing new” to request identification during a domestic flight, a legally questionable claim. 

“We were told we couldn’t disembark without showing our documents,” passenger Anne Garrett tweeted.

The Rolling Stone wrote:

In a statement to Rolling Stone, a spokesperson for CBP said the agency had been asked “to assist in locating an individual possibly aboard Delta flight 1583” who had been “ordered removed by an immigration judge.” The spokesman added that CBP agents “requested identification from those on the flight” but that ultimately “[t]he individual was determined not to be on the flight.”

Rolling Stone asked CBP to point to its statutory authority to stop and examine the identity documents of deplaning domestic passengers. The spokesman sent a link to a document titled CBP Search Authority. The document refers to CBP’s authority to inspect international arrivals. Specifically, it cites 19 C.F.R. 162.6, which states, “All persons, baggage and merchandise arriving in the Customs territory of the United States from places outside thereof are liable to inspection by a CBP officer.” The CBP document adds: “CBP has the authority to collect passenger name record information on all travelers entering or leaving the United States.”(Emphasis added.)

Asked to clarify CBP’s authority over domestic passengers, the spokesman replied that “at this time this is all I have.”

Other Stories of Interest

Ex-Customs And Border Protection Officer Charged in Shooting, Wearing Body Armor

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A former Customs and Border Protection officer was arrested after allegedly wearing body armor from his federal job while shooting a 34-year-old suburban Detroit man in the hand on Feb. 20.

Vincent Schroeder, 32, has been charged with discharging a firearm in a building, assault with intent to do great bodily harm assault with a deadly weapon, wearing body armor in commission of a violent crime, felony firearm and possession of ecstasy, the News Herald reports. 

Schroeder was lodged in the Wayne County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond.

Schroeder was arrested after neighbors called 911 to report gunshots and a man yelling for help.

The 34-year-old victim fled to a nearby gas station and was taken to Detroit Receiving hospital for treatment.

Police found Schroeder with a gun and wearing body armor.

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.

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.

Border Patrol Chief Steps Down After Trump Reveals Wall Plan

Border Patrol chief, Mark Morgan

Border Patrol chief, Mark Morgan

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Border Patrol chief stepped down Thursday after President Trump signed executive orders increasing border security.

It remains unclear whether Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan resigned voluntarily or under pressure, CNN reports. 

Morgan’s departure comes at a tense time as Trump looks to build a wall and increase boots on the ground near the border.

CBP Acting-Commissioner Kevin McAleenan thanked Morgan for his service in a written statement.

“I want to thank Mark Morgan for his unwavering dedication to our border security mission, and recognize his life-long career in service to the nation,” McAleenan said. “Mark Morgan’s career spans more than 31 years of faithful service to the nation, including service in the U.S. Marine Corps, as a local deputy sheriff and police officer, 20 years in the FBI, as Assistant Commissioner of CBP’s Office of Internal Affairs, and, finally, as Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol. I wish him every success in the future.”

Trump’s executive orders involving border protection must still be approved by Congress because of funding needs.

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