Tag Archives: Border

Migrants Illegally Rush the Border to Start the New Year | Jan 01 2019

150 migrants rush U.S. border, are met with tear gas from agents who say they were throwing rocks

|| U-T San Diego

“A group of about 150 migrants attempted to breach a San Diego border fence on New Year’s, and some began throwing rocks at responding U.S. border agents who deployed pepper spray and tear gas on the crowd, authorities said.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection said the group was attempting to climb over and under the San Diego border fence. When agents and officers responded, about 45 migrants turned back to Mexico, according to the agency.

Some migrants began throwing rocks over the fence at agents and officers, according to the agency.

“Several teenagers, wrapped in heavy jackets, blankets and rubber mats were put over the concertina wire. Border Patrol agents witnessed members of the group attempting to lift toddler-sized children up and over the concertina wire and (have) difficulty accomplishing the task in a safe manner,” a news release from U.S. authorities states.

The Customs and Border Protection release said agents and officers deployed smoke, pepper spray and CS gas to address the rock throwers, who they said were assaulting border agents and also risking the safety of migrants who had already made it onto the U.S. side.

The gases caused people to stop throwing rocks and flee, CBP said.

The agency apprehended 25 people, including two minors, the release said.

“I don’t like that type of violence of people throwing rocks,” said Silvio Sierra of Honduras, one of the migrants who approached the border and turned back amid the gas. “We don’t like that type of violence of throwing rocks. The majority of people came in peace. Our intent was to walk up peacefully.”

Regarding the tear gas, he said, “It was very strong. It was everywhere. People were crying. Women and children too. The gas was everywhere.”

Several migrants from the group that rushed the border said they have been growing frustrated in recent weeks waiting in El Barretal shelter with conflicting and shifting information about how the U.S. immigration process is supposed to work. They said the majority in the group planned to peacefully approach U.S. immigration authorities at the border and “throw themselves at their mercy.”

Such a rush of the border has been discussed for several days. Plans to make the effort on Christmas Eve did not materialize.

“The thing about it is, you don’t want to be illegal but you are already illegal,” Sierra said. “So they tell you to take a number. You ask for a number and wait in line for an opportunity. But there’s so many people in line, you aren’t getting through. If you walk up and ask for asylum, they say you are in the wrong place. You tell me what are we supposed to do?”

Jose Alexander of El Salvador said he headed to the border with his four-year-old son and witnessed the tear gas fired across the border. He said he didn’t see anyone throwing rocks, a sentiment echoed by many migrants interviewed on Tuesday.

“My son is still scared today,” Alexander said. “We were a little farther back in the group. As soon as I heard the first shot, I scooped him up and ran back. He was really scared.”

Authorities also used tear gas on Nov. 25 during a similar rush on the border. Although some women and children said they were affected by the gas, officials said it was only targeted at rock-throwers in that instance as well. President Donald Trump said at the time it was “a very minor form of the tear gas itself” that he assured was “very safe.”

The migrants from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have come to seek asylum from violence and other unrest in their native countries. They set out on foot in October, and eventually used buses and other means to arrive in Tijuana, awaiting U.S. processing. Their presence has been portrayed as an invasion by Trump and and a human rights crisis by others. They have been routed from one shelter to another, and many have decided to return to their homelands or stay in Mexico, where new President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is more welcoming than Trump.

U.S. authorities are not the only ones who have used tear gas on the Central America migrants. Two suspects tossed tear gas canisters into the El Barretal shelter as migrants were settling into bed on Dec. 18.

Late Tuesday, Department of Homeland Security spokeswoman Katie Waldman issued a statement on the incident.

“Once again we have had a violent mob of migrants attempt to enter the United States illegally by attacking our agents with projectiles,” the statement said. “As has happened before – in this and previous administrations – our personnel used the minimum force necessary to defend themselves, defend our border, and restore order. The agents involved should be applauded for handling the situation with no reported injuries to the attackers.”

Juan Carlos Caballero Jones said he participated in Tuesday’s rush on the border. He said he made it past the border fence and hid in the brush as agents searched nearby.

“When they passed me, I moved another inch or so, and then I stayed still,” he said. “They walked right past me but didn’t find me.”

He said he hid in silence holding his breath for 5 minutes.

Eventually, Caballero was discovered by the lights from an overhead helicopter, he said.

“I was just starting to think I was free.”

He said he was the only one caught in the spotlight of the helicopter and unsure if the agents were going to use some type of force to stop him.

“I was so nervous my whole body was shaking,” he said.

He said agents from the ground returned, and took him into custody and walked him back into the Mexico side.

“I was so close,” he sighed. “But I am going to try again on another day.”

….Read more @ U-T San Diego

Asylum Requests up 1700 per cent on the Southern Border | June 21 2018

The Fraudulent Parent Problem on the Border

| Townhall

“President Trump signed an executive order this week allowing adults who illegally enter the United States with children, claiming to be family units, to be detained together in federal facilities.

The question of a valid parental-child relationship is at the center of how the Department of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services handle detainment. Because of fraudulent documentation, profits to smugglers, and false asylum claims, there is essentially no way to prove or verify adults traveling with children are indeed their parents.

In April 2016, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley warned about catch-and-release policies enabling the smuggling industry.  In the past, any non-Mexican or Canadian individual illegally crossing the border with a child was considered a family unit, processed and released into the interior. Current zero-tolerance policies require they be detained until prosecution.

“A recent Department of Homeland Security (DHS) report confirmed that human smuggling rings are exploiting children in order to prevent the detention of the undocumented immigrants they’re smuggling into the United States. They are pairing children with unrelated adults, knowing adults who enter the United States with children won’t be detained,” he said.

“At least one Honduran interviewed by DHS officials reported that children are kidnapped or adopted then smuggled with their unrelated adult “family member” to the United States. This smuggling practice has bolstered an underground market for counterfeit birth certificates according to the report, which was prepared by the DHS Human Smuggling Cell.  Once in the U.S., these children are vulnerable to labor or sex trafficking,” he continued.

Fast-forward to 2018 and this is still the case.

“If there’s no documentation to confirm the claimed relationship between an adult and a child, we [separate] if the parent is a national security, public or safety risk, including when there are criminal charges at issue and it may not be appropriate to maintain the family in detention together,” DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said at the White House Monday.

“We also separate a parent and child if the adult is suspected of human trafficking.  There have been cases where minors have been used and trafficked by unrelated adults in an effort to avoid detention,” she continued. “And I’d stop here to say, in the last five months, we have a 314 percent increase in adults and children arriving at the border, fraudulently claiming to be a family unit.  This is, obviously, of concern.”

Current and former Border Patrol and ICE agents who have worked extensively on human trafficking cases continue to have these concerns. Worse, they’re alarmed the majority of current media coverage is downplaying the smuggling angle.

“You can never really verify who the parents really are,” former Border Patrol and Customs Special Agent Jason Piccolo said during an interview with Townhall. “Especially in light of adult males showing up with kids.”

In 2015, Piccolo blew the whistle on the Obama administration releasing unaccompanied minors to unvetted, criminal sponsors. During that time, he served as the sole ICE and Enforcement and Removal Operations representative to the White House Security Council’s DHS Human Smuggling Cell. It was his job to disrupt or dismantle human smuggling organizations domestically and internationally.

“Without doing some kind of in-depth interview or interrogation or some kind of biometrics [DNA] there’s no way you can tell if the kids are actually family,” he said.

Piccolo explained how adults and children are given fake documents, including birth certificates to “prove” they are “related.”

“They’re given fake documents in order to get through Mexico and a lot of times they’ll give those fake documents back,” he said.

Smugglers are hired for as much as $20,000 per person and pair unrelated adults to unrelated children. The entire purpose is to claim asylum, valid or not, with the understanding that “family units” are apprehended and then released to the interior of the United States. Since 2008, asylum claims have ballooned by 1,700 percent according to DHS data.

Under the Obama administration, 80-90 percent of individuals making asylum claims with children were released after being processed and given a court date. Inevitably, they started living in the U.S. illegally for years to come. This is the policy the Trump administration is trying to change.

“When they’re presenting themselves they’d get an asylum interview and they’d get released,” Piccolo said. “It was widely known that the human smuggling cell knew that aliens coming in from South America stated that they were told if they were a family unit they would be released at the border.”

Piccolo suggests a joint effort with USCIS, DHS and FBI is necessary for vetting and that a joint task force must be developed to do interviews and interrogations of adults traveling with children.

“If you really want to fix this problem you have to really vet these adults,” he said. ”

….Continue reading more @ Townhall