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Home | Tag Archives: border crisis (page 3)

Tag Archives: border crisis

Video: Cornyn – Latest Border Data Confirms a Crisis

During a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) delivered remarks on Customs and Border Protection’s (CBP) response to human trafficking and illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexico border.

Excerpts of Sen. Cornyn’s remarks are below, and video can be found above.

“We know that CBP is facing unprecedented challenges today, and I applaud your efforts as well as the men and women who work with you who are on the front lines of this challenge on a daily basis.”

“We see hashtags that call what the president and others have described as a ‘fake emergency’ at the border. But in order to believe that there’s a fake emergency at the border, you have to be blind to the facts or simply unwilling to listen.”

“I feel particularly strongly about this topic because of where I live and the state I represent. We have 1,200 miles of common border with Mexico.”

“As you know, Mr. Commissioner, CBP announced that more than 76,000 people crossed the border in February alone. 76,000 in one month. This is the largest monthly total in more than a decade.”

“Compared to this time last year, family unit apprehensions have increased 209 percent in the Rio Grande Valley sector. Family unit apprehensions have increased 497 percent in the Del Rio sector. And most staggering, in the El Paso sector, overall apprehensions have increased 434 percent while family unit apprehensions have increased an incredible 1,639 percent.”

“This is not a crisis, people say?”

“I hear absolutely no suggestions from our Democratic friends on how to deal with the causes of these problems.”

 ***

Senator John Cornyn, a Republican from Texas, is a member of the Senate Finance, Intelligence, and Judiciary Committees.

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As El Paso region sees surge in migrant crossings, nonprofit groups’ support services feel the strain

SUNLAND PARK, N.M. — The statue of Mount Cristo Rey standing over this small border community is the site of an annual pilgrimage near the Texas-New Mexico state lines, where tens of thousands gather each October to celebrate their Catholic faith and honor the sacrifices it demands.

This month, however, the site bore witness to a different type of mission, one that immigrant rights groups say is borne out of necessity and desperation.

On Feb. 11, U.S. Border Patrol agents in the El Paso sector apprehended 311 undocumented migrants near the site of the famed statue. That same day, more than 330 people were apprehended in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. And on Tuesday, Border Patrol agents came across 180 migrants in Sunland Park, adding to the number of large groups that sector agents have encountered this fiscal year, when such figures are tallied.

Through Wednesday, Border Patrol agents in the El Paso sector have encountered at least 29 groups of migrants of 100 or more people.

As the number of families apprehended skyrockets, nonprofit and faith-based groups are scrambling to ensure that migrants seeking asylum aren’t let out onto the streets without shelter.

“We’re doing everything we can with all of our shelter network, with the Diocese of El Paso,” said Marissa Limón, the deputy director of the Hope Border Institute, a faith-based community organization in the El Paso, Las Cruces and Ciudad Juárez area. “There are several shelters operating in churches but also through the diocese itself, and they are almost at capacity right now.”

The surge of migrants illegally crossing into Texas has continued even as the Trump administration has tried to crack down on asylum-seekers. The administration and Republican hardliners say the latest surges are the result of an immigration system that is easily exploited by migrants and smugglers. But some analysts think it’s the administration’s policies that are fueling the latest influx, and they say it’s unclear when the numbers will begin to fall.

From Oct. 1, when the federal government’s 2019 fiscal year began, through January, more than 25,700 family units were apprehended in the Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, which also includes New Mexico. That’s compared with the 1,523 familiesBorder Patrol encountered during the same time frame last fiscal year, an increase of about 1,600 percent. In the Rio Grande Valley sector, which has been the nation’s busiest, about 43,600 families were apprehended. That’s a 180 percent increase from last fiscal year’s 15,570 during the same time frame.

Although the El Paso sector has always been busy, the latest surge could result from the Trump administration’s policy of stationing Customs and Border Patrol agents on international bridges to turn back potential asylum-seekers. CBP officers have said the move, known as metering, is necessary because the agency has limited space to house asylum-seekers while they wait for their claims to be processed.

“Part of the [surge] is a confluence of factors,” said Jessica Bolter, a researcher with the Washington-based Migration Policy Institute. “Smugglers do learn quickly about the most effective routes to bring people into the country, and metering itself is likely to cause increased illegal crossings and also to cause people to go to remote ports of entry.”

In a statement about the Feb. 11 apprehensions near Antelope Wells, a CBP press officer said the smuggling of large groups could be a diversionary tactic.

“In many instances, criminal organizations are saturating areas with large groups with the belief that they can smuggle narcotics or other contraband into the United States while Border Patrol agents are occupied,” the statement asserts. “The U.S. Border Patrol will continue to enforce the rule of law.”

The Trump administration also attempted, through an executive order, to bar asylum for undocumented immigrants who cross in between the ports of entry. A federal judge has since blocked that effort, which Bolter said isn’t lost on smuggling networks.

“It drives the idea that you have to cross while you can before another restrictive policy might be issued,” she said.

Author:  JULIÁN AGUILARThe Texas Tribune

Op-Ed: White Girl in a Brown City

I grew up in El Paso, was born here. As a teenager, I used to walk the streets with my friends at all hours of the night. And sometimes, I walked alone.

I was never afraid, even in a time when gangs were fairly prevalent here, I walked without fear. And though we had gangs at the school, I was never worried about violence.

I went to a high school on the northeast side of town where the pregnancy rate was the 4th highest in the state, yet I didn’t have my first child until I was in my 20s.

The biggest problem I faced was that of not being bilingual. I like to think I’m pretty smart, and while it’s true that I can speak some Spanish, I never fully embraced learning it on a conversational level. This has kept me from getting certain jobs.

You see, El Paso borders Mexico. In fact, the El Paso/Juarez area is one of the biggest border communities in the country, if not the world. Many people come across the border daily to shop at the stores, eat at the restaurants, and go to school.

This influx of people is critical to our economy.

They come legally, and our international bridges are not something you want to cross if you are in a hurry. So many come over that it can take hours to get across. Likewise, people from here go to Mexico to shop at the stores, eat at the restaurants, and even take up less expensive residence. It’s truly a beautiful partnership.

So, I was never bitter about losing out on jobs due to my lack of conversational Spanish speaking ability. I understood the need to communicate with those that visited our city, even though I occasionally receive dirty looks by those that do not speak English. But the dirty looks are the worst thing I’ve ever had to endure.

Our city is more than just English/Spanish, or people from across the border coming over; it’s a diverse community. We house one of the largest military bases in the country, as well: Fort Bliss. Men and women in the service come from all over the country. They bring their families, many of whom are not from America.

Our city has Korean communities, German communities, as well as a Native American community. But I never learned to speak any of those languages, either.

At no point, have I ever felt as though any other culture was infringing on my ability to gain employment (they are NOT taking my jobs away), nor have I felt as though any of them were terrorists, or rapists bringing drugs and crime.

In fact, I’ve always felt at home here because, though I look like a white girl on the outside, my inside is just as diverse as this city I call home.

But I’m glad the title brought you into my fold…if that’s what got you reading this in the first place.

The only place I ever felt targeted for my race was when I was unfortunate enough to visit Kentucky. For some reason, even with my very pale complexion and red hair, I was followed while shopping at a convenience store.

As my discomfort grew, I left, hearing the cashier say as I walked out: “Good riddance, ya dirty Mexican!”

Now, as I watch the news, a thing I do more and more often the older I get, I have to wonder where the current administration is getting their “facts” from. I still live in the same city, on the same side of town and yet I see no crisis along the border.

Keep in mind that when I step outside my house, I can see two countries and three states. But no droves of illegals are anywhere in sight. There is literally no crisis.

Well, save for one.

Just before Christmas, immigration agents took migrants that passed background checks and were awaiting asylum, dropping them off at the bus depot downtown. They were left there, en mass, with little or no money, and only the clothes on their backs or in their packs.

And perhaps some of you think this is what they deserve for coming over here and entering our country: nothing…but our city disagrees.

We have been working together, this diverse and beautiful community, to ensure that these discarded people have food, shelter, and warm clothing.  We handled the ‘crisis.’ And life is back to normal.

We keep them safe, just as our city has always been…safe. In fact, El Paso has ranked among the top ten safest cities in the country for so many years, I’ve lost count.

And despite what the President would have you believe, I can still go out and walk the streets at all hours of the night without fear.

Border Patrol Holding Centers Allegedly ‘Overcrowded; Filled With Seriously Ill Migrants’

As United States Government entered day 21 of the shutdown, the impact continues to ripple through the government and the country.

The effects of the current shutdown are felt far and wide; 800,000 federal workings not receive paychecks Friday is the most glaring example of what is happening.

There is, however, one aspect of this shutdown that is not being seen by the general public or spoken about: migrants and asylum seekers who are in custody of Border Patrol.

On Friday, sources provided me with information about what is happening with individuals who are in custody during this shutdown. What I was told turned my stomach.

“A 30-40-person cell is now holding up to 150 plus individuals,” said confidential sources who work with Border Patrol. “We have some larger ones, and they got people sleeping on top of each other, and all we do is pack more in. We can’t hardly move a body with the stupid shutdown.”

But that’s not the only issue. Allegedly there are serious health issues as well.

“And there are people that are sick and should see doctors outside of here,” said a Border Patrol agent. “But, yeah, we got chicken pox, two that might have mesilles [sic]. Some have MRSA.”

There have been similar posts on several social media pages, all unconfirmed, but all similar in description and urgency.

To verify this information, beyond the agents I’ve spoken with and screenshots that were sent to me, I contacted Agent Joe Romero, one of the media affairs officers for Border Patrol. That’s when another unfortunate side effect of the government shutdown reared it’s head.

When I spoke to Agent Romero, I told him that I had individuals telling me about the overcrowding and health situations.

“Here’s the problem,” said Agent Romero, “right now, while we are on the furlough, we can’t address media or questions. That’s part of the issue with the furlough, is that our media department is basically kind of shut down.”

Agent Romero did ask that I send him an e-mail, so he could see if someone up the chain of command would be able to respond to our questions and information. That email was sent Friday evening; as of publication, we were still awaiting a response.

***

As this is a developing story, the details will be updated as information arrives.

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