window.dataLayer = window.dataLayer || []; function gtag(){dataLayer.push(arguments);} gtag('js', new Date()); gtag('config', 'UA-29484371-30');
Thursday , July 16 2020
Emergence June 11 – Sep 11, 2020 728
PBP_728
Elizabeth 728
Spring Training 728
john overall 728×90
Utep Football Generic 728
Mountains 728
Covid-19 Fund 728
TRLA_728
ENTERPRISE 728
Home | Tag Archives: border patrol

Tag Archives: border patrol

DPH Wednesday: 10,298 Total COVID-19 cases, Two deaths reported, toll increases to 159; Recoveries at 6448 with 3691 active cases

This story will be updated as new information arrives from area government offices, school districts, and other organizations regarding their Coronavirus (COVID-19) preparations and guidelines.

City Resources & FAQ  |   Direct link to ALL city closures  |  Department of Health Information site

***(7/15/2020)

On Wednesday, City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) officials 345 new cases of COVID-19, bringing our total to 10,298. There are now 6448 recovered cases and 3691 active cases.

Two more deaths were reported, bringing the total of deaths to 159. Both patients had preexisting health conditions. They include:

1 female in her 70s
1 male in his 80s

DPH estimates a total of 116,100 tests have been performed; of that total, DPH offcials say they’ve tested 8905 patients, resulting in 7614 negative tests.

There are 283 patients currently hospitalized, with 98 in ICU and 40 on ventilators.

***

***(7/14/2020)

Tuesday, City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) officials 237 new COVID-19 cases, bringing our total to 9,953.  There are now 6080 recovered cases and 3716 active cases.

Additionally, five (5) deaths were reported, bringing the total of deaths to 157. All of the patients had preexisting health conditions. They include:

1 female in her 40s
1 female in her 60s
1 male in his 70s
1 female in her 80s
1 male in his 80s

DPH estimates a total of 113,000 tests have been performed; of that total, DPH offcials say they’ve tested 8838 patients, resulting in 7551 negative tests.

There are 283 patients currently hospitalized, with 98 in ICU and 40 on ventilators.

Anyone with health questions about COVID-19 can call the 21-COVID hotline (915) 212-6843, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to health and social services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/13/2020)

Monday morning, officials with the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported one (1) death additional death and 206 new COVID-19 positive cases.

The death was a male in his 80s with underlying health conditions bringing the total number of deaths to 152.

There are now 9716 total positive cases in the region, with 5879 recovered cases and 3685 active.

DPH estimates a total of 111,700 tests have been performed; of that total, DPH offcials say they’ve tested 8750 patients, resulting in 7487 negative tests.

There are 285 patients currently hospitalized, with 91 in ICU and 36 on ventilators.

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and ​the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/12/2020)

Today the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting one (1) death and 411 new COVID-19 positive cases.

The death was a male in his 80s with underlying health conditions bringing the total number of deaths to 151.

As of Sunday, there are 9510 total positive cases in the region, with 5699 recovered cases and 3660 active.

DPH estimates a total of 109,300 tests have been performed.  DPH officials add that they have tested 8695 patients, resulting in 7451 negative tests.

There are 277 patients currently hospitalized, with 91 in ICU and 34 on ventilators.

Health officials advised they are investigating the latest increase, and initial reports indicate the majority is due to community spread. However, portions of the spike appear to be due in part to additional cases among existing clusters in a detention facility and an elderly care facility.

“This alarming spike in cases is unfortunately due to community spread, and further validating the urgency for residents to adhere to the recommended safety precautions,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “This virus is spreading like a wildfire in our community and the only way to slow the spread is for everybody to take this seriously and stay home.  If they must go out, it is important to practice all safety precautions.”

The City’s epidemiology team, including contact tracing, conduct ongoing investigations in an effort to stop the spread from those currently and potentially infected, and to inform the public about other public health prevention measures implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

City officials urge residents to stay home if possible, but if you must go out it is essential to practice social distancing, wear a face cover, frequently wash your hands with soap and water and if you’re feeling even mildly under the weather stay home.

The community once again reminded there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. At this time, the best way to prevent contract the virus is to avoid exposure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the virus mainly spreads via person-to-person contact:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet);
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks;
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/11/2020)

Saturday morning, Department of Public Health officials announced 353 new COVID-19 cases for a cumulative total of 9,099 cases. The total number of deaths remains at 150 and active cases continue to rise to 3,377.

There are a total of 5572 recovered cases, with an estimated total of 106,100 tests performed.  DPH officials say they have tested 8571 patients, resulting in 7351 negative tests.

As of Saturday, there are 251 patients currently hospitalized, with 84 in ICU and 31 on ventilators.

Anyone with health questions about COVID-19 can call the 21-COVID hotline (915) 212-6843, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to health and social services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***(7/10/2020)

Friday morning, officials with City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 361 new COVID-19 cases, for a region-wide total of 8746.

Officials also reported five (5) deaths, bringing the total number of deaths to 150. All of the patients had preexisting health conditions. They include:

1 male in his 40s
1 male in his 60s
1 male in his 70s
2 females in their 80s

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and ​the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***(7/9/2020)

Public Health officials issued an updated order for all independent school districts and private schools in El Paso County for the reopening of on-campus instruction. The order goes into effect today, Thursday, July 9.

Health and area school system officials met earlier this week to discuss ongoing preventative measures to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19.

As the situation regarding COVID-19 in El Paso is rapidly evolving with observed rapid rate of transmission through community spread, health officials are recommending the following guidance to local schools:

  • All school systems (public and private) shall not re-open schools for on-campus, face-to-face instruction until after September 7, 2020.
  • Virtual instruction shall be permitted as per a school system’s own plan.
  • To the extent permitted under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”), and consistent with the procedures required under the federal regulations and state rules implementing the IDEA, all children with special healthcare needs that are considered medically fragile under the IDEA shall not return to school for on-campus, face-to-face instruction, until the 2021-2022 school year.
  • Extracurricular sports and activities shall not take place until school systems re-open for on-campus instruction.
  • School systems shall develop a plan for re-opening on-campus activities and instruction and it make available to parents and the public, at least two weeks prior to reopening.

“As positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise, it is imperative that we do what is best for the safety of school children and school employees,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “Keeping our community safe is our priority and we implore residents to continue to firmly adhere to all safety precautions to slow the spread of the virus, to include practicing social distancing, frequently washing your hands and wearing a face covering.”

The Health Order will be made available at www.epstrong.org under “Health Orders.”

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/9/2020)

Ysleta ISD cancels stadium graduations

As a result of the stricter guidelines established by the City of El Paso Health Department as well as the increase in positive COVID-19 cases in the city, the Ysleta Independent School District has canceled their stadium graduations scheduled later this month.

Although we understand some of our families may be disappointed by this decision, Ysleta ISD was able to provide the Class of 2020 the opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments via hybrid graduations that aired June 13-14. Those graduations are still available to be viewed at any time through Ysleta ISD’s YouTube channel.

***

***(7/9/2020)

Today the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting 350 new COVID-19 cases, for a region-wide total of 8385.

Officials also announced one (1) additional death, bringing that total to 145. The patient is only identified as a woman in her 80’s with no underlying health conditions.

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/8/2020)

Today the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting five (5) deaths and 393 new COVID-19 positive cases.

All except one of the patients had underlying medical conditions. They include:

  • a male in his 50s
  • a male in his 60s
  • a female in her 60s
  • a male in his 70s
  • a male in his 70s, with no underlying medical conditions

The city has increased daily testing from 500 to about 2,500—a 400 percent increase—in the last two weeks and will continue its aggressive approach on increased testing across the county, to find as many COVID-19 infected individuals as possible.

Officials are investigating the source of exposure for the latest increase. Initial reports indicate the majority are likely due to community spread. However, portions of the spike appear to be due in part to additional cases among existing clusters in a detention facility and an elderly care facility.

More than 40 percent of the positive cases are made up of individuals in their 20s and 30s. Officials report that about 1 out of 5 individuals testing positive for COVID-19 are asymptomatic. Although the city has seen an overall increase in hospitalizations, the fatality rate has remained stable. Furthermore, officials assert that the rates will only improve if the community strictly adheres to the health and safety directives.

“We cannot let our guard down. It is imperative that each one of us, individually, take responsibility for our actions and understand the risks of not practicing the safety precautions outlined in the directives,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “Again, I ask you to limit your interactions, and if you must go out in public practice social distancing, wear a face cover as mandated by the state, frequently wash your hands with soap, and water and if you’re feeling sick get tested and stay home.”

Officials make a strong call to all of those who have tested positive for COVID-19, to remain isolated at home and for all in the same household to remain in quarantine; stating that is the only way we, together will be able to slow down the spread of the disease, protecting those vulnerable loved ones.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/7/2020)

Tuesday morning, via their website, officials with the El Paso Department of Health reported 181 new COVID-19 bringing the total in the El Paso area to 7,642.

Four more deaths were announced as well, bringing that total to 139. No other details were released regarding the patients.

To date, 4,682 residents have recovered from the virus and active cases continue to increase to 2,821.

There are 246 persons currently hospitalized, with 71 in ICU and 29 on ventilators

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and ​the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/6/2020)

Officials with El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank announced Monday two changes for their food distribution sites.

In order to comply with the statewide issued mask mandate made by Governor Abbott, anyone receiving food assistance at any of the mega distribution sites or mobile pantries MUST wear a mask and vinyl gloves in order to receive food.

In addition, the hours of operation at the El Pasoans Fighting Hunger Food Bank of 9am – 3 pm, Mon. – Fri. and 9am – 5pm Saturday, will be observed.

For more information on EPFH Food Bank, visit their website or Facebook page.

***(7/6/2020)

On Monday, El Paso Department of Health officials reported 248 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 7,461. The total number of deaths remains at 135.

To date, 4,546 residents have recovered from the virus and active cases continue to increase to 2,780.

There are 218 persons currently hospitalized, with 70 in ICU and 28 on ventilators.

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and ​the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***(7/5/2020)

Due to the robust response from the community, the testing sites operated by the Texas Military Department are at or near testing capacity for July 6.

Residents are strongly encouraged to schedule appointments, with the exception of the Hybrid Drive/Walk-up site at Nations Tobin Park, which does not require appointments.

Appointments are only available 24 hours in advance. Only those with appointments will be able to get tested tomorrow.

Residents planning to show up early in hopes of getting tested will be asked to schedule an appointment and will not be able to be tested tomorrow; again, with the exception of the hybrid testing site.

“Testing is essential to helping our community identify those residents who are ill, cared for and need to be isolated in order to reduce the spread of this virus,” said Office of Emergency Management Coordinator, Assistant Fire Chief Jorge Rodriguez. “Because testing is so important, we have been working to increase the locations and partnerships to address the community’s high demand for testing. We thank the community for their patience and understanding as we work to increase accessibility to testing in our community.”

The public can still schedule appointments for future dates at the City of El Paso sites.

Additionally, testing is available at the following sites:

  1. Anthony/Canutillo ISD
  2. Walmart
  3. CVS
  4. Project Vida

Full details via this link.

***

***(7/5/2020)

Sunday morning, El Paso Department of Health officials reported 260 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the region’s total to 7,213.

To date, 4,447 residents have recovered from the virus and active cases increased to 2,631.

There are no additional deaths to report, so that total remains at 135.

According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 89,100 tests.

There are 211 persons currently hospitalized, with 71 in ICU and 30 on ventilators

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/4/2020)

Saturday morning, El Paso Department of Health officials reported 288 new COVID-19 cases, bringing our total to 6,953.

Public Health staff have advised that initial reports indicate that these increases over the last several days appear to be primarily due to community spread.

There are no additional deaths to report today, so that total remains at 135.

There are 4362 recovered cases in the area, with 2456 active cases.   According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 84,900 tests.

There are 200 persons currently hospitalized, with 71 in ICU and 27 on ventilators

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and ​the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/3/2020)

Friday morning, officials with the El Paso Department of Health announced 276 new cases of COVID-19 in the area, bringing the overall total to 6665.

Additionally, DPH officials said three more deaths had been reported, bringing that total to 135

All of the patients had underlying health conditions. They include:

·        2  males in their 80s

·        1 female in her 90s

There are 4227 recovered cases in the area, with 2303 active cases.   According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 82,400 tests.

There are 193 persons currently hospitalized, with 69 in ICU and 25 on ventilators

Anyone with health questions about COVID-19 can call the 21-COVID hotline (915) 212-6843, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to health and social services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/2/2020)

The City of El Paso has amended the Local Emergency Directive in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s Executive Order issued today, Thursday, July 2, 2020 mandating face coverings, stating that COVID-19 poses an imminent threat of disaster for all counties in the State of Texas.

Every person in Texas is mandated to wear a face covering over their nose and mouth when inside a commercial entity or other building or space open to the public. They must also wear a face covering when in an outdoor public space, wherever it is not feasible to maintain six feet of social distancing from another person not in the same household.

“As positive COVID-19 cases continue to rise, the Governor’s recent order reaffirms the importance of face coverings in slowing the spread of this virus,” said El Paso Mayor Dee Margo. “This holiday weekend, let us think of our community, and remain vigilant in covering our faces, washing our hands frequently and practice social distancing.”​

The face-covering requirement does not apply to the following:

  • Persons younger than 2 years of age
  • Persons with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering
  • While consuming food or drink, or is seated at a restaurant to eat or drink
  • While exercising outdoors or engaging in physical activity outdoors, and maintaining a safe distance from other people not in the same household
  • While driving alone or with passengers who are part of the same household as the driver
  • Persons obtaining a service that requires temporary removal of the face covering for security surveillance, screening, or a need for specific access to the face, such as visiting a bank or while obtaining a personal care service involving the face
  • While in a swimming pool, lake or similar body of water
  • While voting, assisting a voter, serving as a poll watcher, or actively administering an election (but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged)
  • While actively providing or obtaining access to religious worship (but wearing a face covering is strongly encouraged)
  • While giving a speech for a broadcast or to an audience

Face coverings are required for any person attending a protest or demonstration involving more than 10 people, and when unable to practice six-feet of social distancing from other people not in the same household.

To report non-compliance, call El Paso Police Department non-emergency at (915) 832-4400. Any violation after a warning of the individual face-covering requirement, of the amended Local Emergency Directive is punishable by a fine not to exceed $250.

While face coverings are now mandated by the State, wearing a face covering should not be seen as a substitute for maintaining 6-feet social distancing and hand washing, as these remain important steps to slowing the spread of the virus.

Businesses remain responsible for complying with Health & Safety Policy provisions of the Local Emergency Directive.

Additionally, parades must limit the number of participants to 10 individuals or less, unless prior approval from the Mayor is obtained, and are required to follow the Local Public Health Authority Order regarding parades, which is found at http://epstrong.org/health-orders.php.

The City’s amended directive also prohibits outdoor gathering in excess of 10 people unless prior approval from the Mayor is obtained.

The updated Local Directive once completed and executed will be made available at www.epstrong.org under “Health Orders.” Anyone with questions about the Local Emergency Directive can call 3-1-1.

The public is reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others and ​the people they spread it to may become seriously ill or even die, especially if that person is 65 or older with pre-existing health conditions.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/2/2020)

The Texas Military Department Mobile Testing Team (TMD-MTT) will continue COVID-19 testing through July 13 at four drive-thru sites, one hybrid drive/walk-up site and various rural drive-thru sites within the El Paso City-County.

At the ongoing request of El Paso Mayor Dee Margo and the Office of Emergency Management, the Office of the Governor and the Texas Department of Emergency Management once again agreed to extend the testing in El Paso County.

With the exception of the hybrid site, the TMD-MTT testing locations are drive-thru and by appointment only. TMD-MTT has moved its online testing scheduling to a new Curative Testing website.  Additionally, the TMD-MTT expects to connect a new appointment phone line next week to help schedule testing appointments.

If residents do not have online access to make an appointment, they can still show up at the site to be tested if appointments are available on the same day or the following. Please note that residents are encouraged to make an appointment online to prevent slowing down the process.

All of the testing sites will now administer oral swabbing tests, instead of the nasal swabs. Testing is free and available to members of the community with or without COVID-19 symptoms.

The Hybrid Drive/Walk-up Site is available from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. for patients on foot or in a vehicle during the following dates and location. No appointment is needed for the hybrid site; however, once the daily capacity of 250 is met the site will be closed for the day to additional testing.

  • July 3; July 6-11; July 13:

Nations Tobin Recreation Center; 8831 Railroad Dr., El Paso, TX

Testing within the City of El Paso is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (unless indicated differently) on the following dates and locations:

  • July 3, 5 and 12

Note: Testing on July 5 and July 12 will be from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

o   Pavo Real Center; 9301 Alameda, El Paso, TX

o   Marty Robbins Recreation Center; 11620 Vista Del Sol, El Paso, TX

o   Memorial Swimming Pool; 3251 Copper Ave., El Paso, TX

o   Haskins Recreation Center; 7400 High Ridge, El Paso, TX

  • July 6, 8, 10 and 13

o   Pavo Real Center; 9301 Alameda, El Paso, TX

o   Haskins Recreation Center; 7400 High Ridge, El Paso, TX

  • July 7, 9 and 11

o   Marty Robbins Recreation Center; 11620 Vista Del Sol, El Paso, TX

o   Memorial Swimming Pool; 3251 Copper Ave., El Paso, TX

Testing in the rural county areas is available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the following dates and locations:

  • Monday, July 6:

Montana Vista Fire Station #1; 13978 Montana Ave., El Paso, TX

  • Tuesday, July 7:

West Valley Fire Station; 510 Vinton Road, Vinton, TX

  • Wednesday, July 8:

Ysleta Del Sur Pueblo; 11200 Santos Sanchez Blvd., Socorro, TX

  • Thursday, July 9:

El Paso County ESD #2 District Office; 16001 Socorro Rd., Fabens, TX

  • Friday, July 10:

El Paso County ESD #2 Fire Station; 11440 N. Loop, Socorro, TX

  • Saturday, July 11:

Montana Vista Fire Station #1; 13978 Montana Ave., El Paso, TX

  • Monday, July 13:

Horizon First Baptist Church; 17018 Darrington Road, Horizon City, TX

For more information about the various public and private testing locations throughout the community click here or visit www.EPStrong.org.

***

***(7/2/2020)

Today the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) is reporting one (1) death and 265 new COVID-19 positive cases.

The death was a female in her 80s with underlying health conditions bringing the total number of deaths to 132.

Officials with the El Paso Department of Public Health reported an increase of 265 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 6389.

The death was a female in her 80s with underlying health conditions bringing the total number of deaths to 132.

There are 4034 recovered cases in the area, with 2223 active cases.   According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 79,700 tests.  There are 180 persons currently hospitalized, with 74 in ICU and 30 on ventilators

Health officials advised they are investigating the latest increase, and initial reports indicate the majority are likely owing to community spread. However, portions of the spike appear to be due in part to additional cases among existing clusters in a detention facility and an elderly care facility.

“The consistent jump in positive cases lately is alarming, and calls for everybody to once again devote themselves to strictly practice the recommended safety precautions to slow the spread in our community,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “While the Fourth of July is fast approaching we want to remind the community that social gatherings of more than ten people are prohibited. Again, I ask you to limit going out, but if you must go out please practice social distancing, wear a face cover, frequently wash your hands with soap and water and if you’re feeling even mildly under the weather stay home.”

The City’s epidemiology team, including contact tracing, conduct ongoing investigations in an effort to stop the spread from those currently and potentially infected, and to inform the public about other public health prevention measures implemented to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The community also is reminded that there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Additionally, it is estimated that more than 20 percent of the total positive cases are asymptomatic, meaning the COVID-19 positive individuals showed no symptoms and, if they did not following preventive measures may have infected those around them.

At this time, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to this virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention the virus mainly spreads via person-to-person contact:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet);
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks;
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(7/1/2020)

On Wednesday, the El Paso Department of Public Health officials reported an increase of 196 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 6124.

Officials report one (1) additional death, a male in his 60s with underlying health conditions, bringing that total to 131.

There are 3,908 recovered cases in the area, with 2085 active cases.   According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 77,200 tests.

There are 177 persons currently hospitalized, with 70 in ICU and 29 on ventilators

Anyone with health questions about COVID-19 can call the 21-COVID hotline (915) 212-6843, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to health and social services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(6/30/2020) County Judge bans firework sales, use starting Friday; Immediately bans all public outdoor gatherings

The information below is directly from the El Paso County Judge’s Release:

In order to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19, El Paso County Judge Ricardo A. Samaniego issued Order No. 10, which prohibits all public outdoor gatherings in the unincorporated areas of El Paso County until after the Fourth of July weekend.

This Order is effective immediately and shall be in effect until 6 a.m. on Monday, July 6, 2020-after the Fourth of July weekend. This order is issued in accordance with authority granted to the Judge by the Governor.

Additionally, because drought conditions present high risk of wildfires, the Judge will issue a disaster declaration preventing the sale and use of fireworks effective beginning Friday, July 3.

“It is critical that we all do our part to keep our community safe,” said Judge Samaniego. “While fireworks and Fourth of July festivities are a part of who we are as a community, we must remember the fact that we are in the midst of a pandemic, and that cases in our community and in the state are continuing to rise. For these reasons, I believe we must be especially prudent. Congregating this Fourth of July is simply a public health concern.”

Order No. 10, prohibiting gatherings on Fourth of July:

Pursuant to Governor Greg Abbott’s latest executive order issued Friday (GA-28), outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must be approved by local governments.  Consistent with this order, Order No. 10 prohibits all public outdoor gatherings in the unincorporated areas of El Paso County immediately and until after the Fourth of July weekend.

Judge Samaniego consulted with both the Fire Marshall and Dr. Hector Ocaranza, who all expect that, as in years past, Fourth of July weekend celebrations in various unincorporated areas in El Paso County will attract hundreds and thousands of people. Dr. Ocaranza agrees that these gatherings will likely result in dramatic increases in COVID-19 positive cases and deaths.

A violation of this order shall be a Class C misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $500.

Disaster declaration prohibiting sale and use of fireworks:

Pursuant to the Local Government Code, to be able to restrict fireworks, Texas counties must reach 575 on the Keetch Byram Drought Index (KBDI), a statewide 0-to-800 scale drought index that is updated daily by the Texas A&M Forest Service. The higher the number on the scale, the worse the drought conditions in a given county.

Today, El Paso County’s KBDI is at 583, indicating that hot and dry conditions pose a threat of large, dangerous, and fast moving wildfires. The Forest Service in fact rates El Paso County as having “extreme” fire risk today. Additionally, the National Weather Service reports that hot, dry and breezy conditions have created “red flag” fire weather forsouthern New Mexico and Far West Texas. Wildfires have the potential of endangering lives and damaging property on a large scale.

To mitigate the risk of wildfires caused by fireworks, Judge Samaniego will issue a disaster declaration that will ban both the sale and use of all fireworks.

The ban will run from Friday July 3 at 12 p.m. and will expire Sunday July 5 at 11:59 p.m.

This disaster declaration will be issued today.

Second amendment to Order No. 9, conforming County local order with Governor’s executive order:

Judge Samaniego also issued today a Second Amendment to Order No. 9, which incorporates the Governor’s order that was issued Friday. In addition to requiring that outdoor gatherings of 100 people or more must be approved by local governments, order No. 9 provides:

  • All bars and similar establishments that receive more than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages must remain closed. These businesses may remain open only for delivery and take-out, including for alcoholic beverages, as authorized by the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission.
  • Restaurants may remain open for dine-in service, but at a capacity not to exceed 50 percent of their total listed indoor occupancy, beginning today.

Click Here [r20.rs6.net] or visit stayhomeworksafe.epcounty.com to view these orders.

STAMPED 2020_fireworks ban_disaster declaration_Final

***

***(6/30/2020)

Tuesday, the El Paso Department of Public Health officials reported an increase of 183 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 5928.

Additionally, officials reported two (2) deaths, a male in his 40s and a male in his 80s both with underlying health conditions.

There are 3,800 recovered cases in the area, with 1998 active cases.   According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 73,500 tests.

There are 160 persons currently hospitalized, with 69 in ICU and 31 on ventilators

Anyone with health questions about COVID-19 can call the 21-COVID hotline (915) 212-6843, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to health and social services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(6/29/2020) City Amends Local Emergency Directive, County makes changes as well

City and county officials have issued changes to local directives, effective Monday.

Via a Monday afternoon news conference Mayor Dee Margo announced a Second Amendment to the Fourth Local Emergency Directive in response to Governor Greg Abbott’s most recent Executive Orders.

“The City of El Paso will continue to work to protect our public health and our local economy, from further damage as a result of COVID-19,” said Mayor Dee Margo.

“We must continue to follow the necessary measures to protect ourselves and our fellow El Pasoans by wearing face coverings, maintaining social distancing, and washing hands frequently. We will persevere in the face of adversity, as we’ve always done, but we need the community to do their part.”

The Directive will be amended to:

  • Prohibit the public from visiting nursing homes, state supported living centers, assisted living facilities, or long-term care facilities unless as determined through guidance from the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC);
  • Limit organizations planning on having parades to 100 participants or less, unless prior approval from the Mayor is obtained, and require compliance with the Local Public Health Authority Order regarding parades which is found at this link;
  • Prohibit outdoor gatherings in excess of 100 people unless prior approval from the Mayor is obtained subject to certain conditions or restrictions. This provision does not apply to activities or gatherings that are allowed by the Governor’s Executive Order GA-28;
  • Require outdoor markets, parades, and outdoor mass gatherings, comprised of less than 100 participants to follow the respective Local Health Authority Order found online;
  • Restrict dine-in services by restaurants that have less than 51 percent of their gross receipts from the sale of alcoholic beverages, to operate at up to 50 percent of the total listed occupancy of the restaurant beginning at 12:01 a.m. Monday, June 29, 2020;
  • Prohibit the public from visiting bars or similar establishments that hold a permit from the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission (TABC) and are not restaurants as defined in the Directive;

o    However, bars or similar establishments may continue to provide drive-thru, pickup, or delivery options for food and drinks, to the extent authorized by TABC.

Additionally, County Judge Ricardo Samaniego announced that he was banning the sales and use of fireworks throughout the county.

Samaniego said he discussed the issue with County Commissioners, and the decision was made, due to a combination of the county meeting drought conditions and concerns over COVID-19.

“We are restricting the gathering for fireworks, that’s separate from the order that we have which is the drought index…which allows me as the County Judge to have an emergency not to allow and to ban fireworks at this time,” Samaniego said. “I did have a discussion with commissioners…Commissioners Stout, Commissioner Leon and myself having the discussion that we had no option but to ban fireworks at this time.”

The County Judge’s order bans both the sales and use of fireworks, as well as all public outdoor gatherings in the unincorporated areas in El Paso County through Monday, July 6th.

According to the order, violation of the ban is a Class C Misdemeanor punishable by a fine not to exceed $500 and will be enforced by “any peace officer, including, but not limited to, officers of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, the El Paso Police Department, and the Fire Marshal’s Office.”

“We recognize the community’s desire to return back to normal, but as we have reported over the last several days our cases are not decreasing and so we must be cautious in our approach to make sure we are caring for ourselves and for our most vulnerable,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza.

“Again, we want to implore everyone to please help us slow the spread of this terrible disease by practicing social distancing, frequently washing their hands with soap and water and wearing a face covering.”

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

062920 Local Directive
County Judge Order No 10 - Fourth of July restrictions

***(6/29/2020) Neon Desert Music Festival cancelled for 2020, will return in 2021.

Officials with the the yearly event announced Monday afternoon that the 10th Anniversary edition, once rescheduled for this fall has been cancelled.

Below is their official statement:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

***(6/29/2020)

Monday morning, El Paso Department of Public Health officials reported an increase of 131 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of cases to 5745.

Officials also reported one new death, a woman in her 60s, bringing that total to 128; DPH officials said the woman had underlying health conditions

As of Monday, there are 3,685 recovered cases in the area, with 1932 active cases.   According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 71,100 tests.

There are 149 persons currently hospitalized, with 64 in ICU and 28 on ventilators.

Anyone with health questions about COVID-19 can call the 21-COVID hotline (915) 212-6843, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to health and social services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(6/28/2020)

Today the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reported 284 new COVID-19 cases, the largest spike since the introduction of the virus to the community.

There are now 5614 total cases of COVID-19 in the El Paso area; officials added that no new deaths were reported, so that total remains at 127.

As of Sunday, there are 3,654 recovered cases in the area, with 1833 active cases.   According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 69,300 tests.

Currently, there are 147 patients hospitalized, with 68 in ICU and 25 on ventilators.

Health officials advised the increase appears to be due in part to clusters in an elderly care facility and a detention facility. However, officials report the majority of today’s increase is likely owing to community spread. DPH officials are working to provide the public more details about these clusters and spikes in the coming days.

“This jump in positive cases is incredibly concerning, and calls for a renewed focus by each person to be stricter towards taking care of themselves and their loved ones,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “While we are still investigating the details behind the cause of the spikes recorded over the last week; we’ve seen a trend in cases among those in their teens, 20s and 30s and likely a haphazard approach to health prevention. Collectively, more than 40 percent of our positive cases are individuals in their 20s and 30s. However, the larger concern is that these individuals may be in contact with at-risk family members who are vulnerable and may become the next COVID-19 fatality.”

The City’s epidemiology team is conducting ongoing investigations in an effort to determine possible spread of infection and implement measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19; and health officials remind the public that they need the community’s cooperation to lower the infection rate.

While City and County officials are working to amend the local Directive—of which several have already gone into effect—health officials said these stricter orders along with social awareness among all residents to follow recommended preventive behaviors are expected to help the overall health of our community.

The public is reminded that there is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Additionally, it is estimated that more than 20 percent of the total positive cases are asymptomatic, meaning the patients reported showing no COVID-19 symptoms.

At this time, the best way to prevent illness is to avoid exposure to this virus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) the virus mainly spreads via person-to-person contact:

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within 6 feet);
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks;
  • These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby and possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(6/27/2020)

Saturday morning, officials with the El Paso Department of Public Health announced 113 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 5330.

DPH also reported an additional COVID-19 death, raising the total to 127.

The patient, a man in his 90s, had underlying health conditions.

There are now 3613 recovered cases, with 1590 active cases reported in the area.  According to the DPH, they have performed an estimated 67,600 tests.

Currently, there are 121 patients hospitalized, with 63 in ICU and 21 on ventilators.

Anyone with health questions about COVID-19 can call the 21-COVID hotline (915) 212-6843, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

For referrals to health and social services, contact 2-1-1 and select option six (6). For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

***(6/26/2020)

Friday, the City of El Paso Department of Public Health (DPH) reports one (1) additional COVID-19 death and 233 new COVID-19 cases, the largest spike the community has seen to date.

The death is a male in his 50s with underlying health conditions; bringing the total number of deaths to 126. The cumulative number of positive cases now stands at 5,217, of which 3,550 have recovered. There are 1,541 active cases.

“We continue to be saddened by the ongoing loss of lives, and send our deepest condolences to this gentleman’s family,” said City-County Local Health Authority Dr. Hector Ocaranza. “We are also alarmed by the spike in new cases seen over the last several days. We are still investigating these spikes to get a more comprehensive understanding of the source of exposure. Initial reports indicate there are at least three clusters in the latest spike.”

Health officials said the three clusters appear to be in an elderly care facility, a detention facility and a healthcare facility; and are working to provide the public more details about these clusters in the coming days.

The epidemiology team conducts investigations, including contact tracing, to determine an individuals’ condition and immediate needs, to provide isolation orders and guidance, and to identify those potentially exposed contacts and the need for quarantine and/or testing. Contact tracing is conducted as an effort to determine possible spread of infection and implement measures to stop the spread of COVID-19. The investigation can lead to identifying clusters of people who might be infected within the same location.

“The faster the infected individuals are identified and isolated, the better chance we have to reduce and control the spread,” Ocaranza said. “However, we need the public’s cooperation to do their part, heed our warnings and help reduce the risk of infection that might lead to more deaths and families left without a loved one.”

The other significant concern is an increasing number of positive cases within 20 and 30 year olds. Early reports suggest that these two age groups appear to have contracted the virus while out in public and not taking the proper safety precautions to include practicing social distancing, frequent hand washing with soap and water and wearing a face covering.

The public is once again reminded that even infected persons with little to no symptoms can spread the virus to others; everyone must hold himself or herself accountable and work to protect each other. For more information, visit www.epstrong.org.

***

To read previous local information/releases, click on the dates below: 

March 3rd thru 9th   |   March 10th through 12th  |  March 13 through 15  |   March 15 thru 19th  |  March 20th thru 24th

March 25th thru 30th   |   March 31st thru April 7th  |  April 8th thru 21st  |  April 22nd thru 30th  |  May 1st thru 15th

May 16th thru May 31st   |   June 1st thru June 25th

CBP announces launch of border wall system webpage

WASHINGTON – U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Wednesday announced the public launch of a border wall system webpage that features construction video and an interactive map. 

The border wall system webpage will give the American people a first-hand look at its construction and the border wall system’s impact on our national security.

“President Trump is delivering on his promise to build a border wall system to secure the border,” said Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan. “Border security is national security and a strong border wall system is critical to keeping our nation safe.”

CBP officials say the border wall system is a “critical tool for Border Patrol agents – it helps slow or stop those who attempt to illegally cross into the United States, giving our agents time to respond and make an arrest.”

The border wall system includes the roads, lighting, and technology that help our agents secure the border.

“The border wall system webpage provides a new and innovative look into the border wall system, which anyone with internet access can view,” CBP officials shared via a news release. “It includes construction video, interactive maps, and graphics to keep the public informed on current construction progress.”

To view the page, click here.

Mexican citizen had court papers allowing him to be in the U.S. But a Border Patrol agent detained him anyway

Luis Orozco Morales had made the trip many times between his home in Hobbs N.M. and El Paso. But this time, when he tried to pass through a remote Border Patrol checkpoint, he was arrested and detained by the Border Patrol, despite having paperwork that showed he was allowed to remain in the United States.

Orozco, 47, said he agreed to help a friend transport auto parts from El Paso to Hobbs last week. The trouble started when Orozco, an undocumented immigrant from the Mexican state of Chihuahua, gave Border Patrol agents his paperwork that showed a federal judge had closed his immigration case in 2014.

His attorney, Eduardo Beckett, said Border Patrol agents rejected Orozco’s paperwork, mocked him and detained him for nearly a week. His wife and sister-in-law were not allowed to visit him in detention, Beckett said.

“I knew I wasn’t doing anything wrong, the whole time I was [acting] within the law, but they asked me to exit the car and said my papers weren’t valid,” Orozco said last week from Beckett’s office.

Luis Carlos Orozco Morales. Courtesy of Mallory Falk

Orozco, who was caught entering the United States illegally in 2010 but later released, doesn’t have a green card or a work permit, but what he does have is paperwork signed by a federal immigration judge who in 2014 closed Orozco’s immigration case through a process called administrative closure — which puts an immigrant’s case on indefinite hold and takes them off the court’s docket.

It’s a tool that federal immigration agencies have used for cases they consider low priority and not worth expending time and resources. It’s also used when the immigrant has a pending issue with another agency, such as a visa application with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Administrative closure was widely used under the Obama administration, said Michelle Saenz-Rodriguez, a Dallas-based immigration attorney and member of the American Immigration Lawyers’ Association.

“They were taking really the low priority cases … and taking them off the docket and giving them administrative closure,” she said.

As of January 2018, about 350,000 immigration cases had been administratively closed, according to the American Bar Association. But the practice has become rare under the Trump administration. A rule issued in May 2018 by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions overruled a court decision that allowed judges to administratively close a case.

Beckett said his client’s court order is still valid and a rogue Border Patrol agent single-handedly overruled the judge’s order.

Orozco said that when he pulled up to the checkpoint, the Border Patrol agent told him the judge didn’t know what he was doing when he signed the documents.

“[He] said you’re a Mexican, you don’t need to be here,” Orozco said. “They told me, ‘This paper the judge gave you isn’t valid. He doesn’t know the laws.’”

Becket said Orozco is exactly the type of immigrant who should receive administrative closure: Beckett said Orozco has never been in trouble with local police or charged with a state crime, and he’s the primary caretaker for his wife, a U.S. citizen battling fibromyalgia and other medical issues. He also posted a $5,000 bond when he was released that hasn’t been revoked.

“He hasn’t violated any law, he hasn’t violated any of the conditions of his court-ordered administrative closure,” which could lead to his case being reopened and brought back before a judge, Beckett said. “But more importantly he has not violated any terms or conditions of the bond.”

Lisa R. Donaldson, an attorney for the El Paso office of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, didn’t respond to requests for comment on Orozco’s case or respond to Beckett’s allegations. But she told Beckett in an email that Border Patrol considers Orozco’s case pending because a formal decision has not been rendered.

“Even if an alien’s removal proceedings have been administratively closed, [Border Patrol] will still apprehend, and then coordinate with ICE to determine if there is camp space and if ICE intends to file a motion to re-calendar the administratively closed case,” she said.

An administratively closed case can always be reopened, at the request of the immigrant — typically when they want to adjust their legal status — or by the Department of Homeland Security when it seeks to remove a person from the country. Beckett said Border Patrol agents in the field aren’t authorized to make that decision.

“I think that the concept that a Border Patrol agent can by himself, without any authority, without going to a judge, just overturn an order, to me that goes against the rule of law, it goes against procedure,” Beckett said.

Orozco was released after four days in detention, ordered to wear an ankle monitor and told to report to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Midland on Oct. 10. Beckett said he fears his client’s case will be placed back on the immigration court docket and he could be deported.

As of August 2019, more than 1 million pending cases are sitting on immigration judges’ dockets, according to the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University.

“The push is, or has been, through the Trump administration that they should proactively reopen all those cases so that they can bring them all to completion,” said Saenz-Rodriguez, the Dallas immigration attorney. “Which we see as the part of the big, mass-deportation machine.”

As Orozco awaits his fate, he says he worries about other people in a similar situation who have presented administrative clearance papers at checkpoints.

“My advice is, do not go through a U.S. Border Patrol checkpoint because they are not respecting the rule of law,” he said.

Authors:  JULIÁN AGUILAR, THE TEXAS TRIBUNE AND MALLORY FALK, KERA NEWS

Border apprehensions dropped in June, but federal officials say crisis continues

The number of people who were apprehended by or surrendered to federal immigration officials on the U.S.-Mexico border dipped by nearly 30% last month, the Department of Homeland Security announced Tuesday.

In June, about 104,350 people were apprehended or turned themselves in, compared with about 144,300 in May — a decrease of 28%. That decrease outpaced last year’s May-to-June drop by 11%, officials said. But the agency also warned that the one-month change does not signal that the ongoing surge of asylum seekers, including unaccompanied minors and family units, is over.

“We are still in an ongoing border security and humanitarian crisis. U.S. Border Patrol made 688,375 apprehensions through the end of June, 140% higher than through this time last year. And our June apprehension numbers are still higher than last year’s, when we were already in a crisis,” the DHS press office said in a news release.

Officials credited the decline to several factors, including the recently implemented Migration Protection Protocols, which requires that some asylum seekers be sent back to Mexico while they wait for their immigration proceedings in American courts.

The program began on the California-Mexico border in January before expanding to El Paso-Ciudad Juárez in March. As of last week, more than 7,600 people had been returned to Ciudad Juárez, according to Chihuahua state officials. The Trump administration announced Tuesday that the MPP is now in place on the Laredo-Nuevo Laredo border.

The decline can also be partially attributed to Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s deployment of Mexican National Guard troops to secure that country’s southern border with Guatemala to stem the flow of migrants from Central America intent on traveling north to the United States. López Obrador agreed to the deployment after President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs of up to 25% on Mexican imports.

“Since the administration reached a new agreement with Mexico, we’ve seen a substantial increase in the number of interdictions on the Mexican southern border,” DHS officials said.

The MPP program has been heavily criticized by immigration attorneys and advocates who argue the U.S. government is sending asylum seekers to violent Mexican border towns where law enforcement is unable or unwilling to protect them.

Author: JULIÁN AGUILAR –  The Texas Tribune

Read related Tribune coverage

Gallery+Story: CBP gives tour of Temporary Immigrant Processing Center

With the large surge of Central American families and unaccompanied children arriving in El Paso in the last year, officials with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol have exceeded their capacity on numerous occasions.

In order to respond to the large number of families and unaccompanied children crossing illegally along the U.S./Mexico Border between Texas and New Mexico, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection opened two facilities, which are ready for use immediately.

Members of the media were given a tour of the facilities on Thursday.

One of the facilities is located in Northeast El Paso, behind the main headquarters of the El Paso sector, and the second is located in Donna, Texas which is near McAllen.

According to the U.S. Border Patrol, apprehensions for unauthorized immigrants in the El Paso sector have increased by more than 300 percent.

Additional complications occur when the CBP’s current holding facilities are primarily meant for unaccompanied men, not family units.

This has led to national attention and criticism regarding how and where CBP temporarily holds the Central American immigrants while they wait to be turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, the Department of Homeland Security if they are unaccompanied minors or Non-Governmental Organizations such as nonprofits such as churches and the Annunciation House of El Paso.

“There are not enough agents on the line,” Ramiro Cordero, Border Patrol Agent and Special Operations Supervisor said. “The agents are now processing aliens, processing families. Escorting individuals to hospitals, transporting, feeding, changing diapers – that is not the job of a Border Patrol agent. So, we are moving on – so we are building facilities such as what you see behind me to alleviate and help the process flow a little bit smoother and quicker.”

The facilities – known as “soft-sided temporary” facilities – are provided by Deployed Resources LLC of Rome, New York, according to the CBP. They are currently contracted for a cost of $36.9 million for a four-month base period; with an additional four months if needed.

Cordero said when an individual is taken to the facility, they will enter the small support soft-sided building first – which is approximately 12,300 square feet. There they will enter, and be medically screened upon arrival.

From there, they can use the shower facilities, which contain 32 stalls; which are divided into two separate sections for men and women.

If a family unit arrives and they need to bathe their children, CBP will not get involved in the process, but will allow the parent to decide how the child should be bathed.

Then they will be issued bracelets which will have designated colors. The colors will direct them to the temporary holding facility.
The holding facility is broken up into 4 sections and each section can hold up to 125 individuals.

Each section, or pod, contains 8 porta-potty toilets, with the ventilation leading outside. The toilets are going to be cleaned daily by outside contracted companies.   Additionally, each facility has 4-hand washing stations; and 125 vinyl covered sleeping pads as well.

In the center of each pod stands a 7-foot guard tower which will be staffed 24-7.

Each pod will contain at least 1 medical technician, a doctor and a medical professional who will either be contracted or who will be a certified EMT or Medically licensed CBP officer or U.S. Coast Guard member.

The pods are air conditioned and each pod will have video surveillance. There are cameras on each corner of the pods.

There is also a laundry trailer with 40 washers and dryers; storage containers for detainee property; two 1,200 KVA generators for electrical services; and a refrigerated trailer for food storage and preparation.

According to the CBP agents, the El Paso sector alone has apprehended 94,000 individuals since October 1 of last year; compared to 13,000 individuals in the previous year during the same time frame. That’s an average of about 580 apprehensions a day Cordero said.

Roger Maier, spokesperson for the U.S. CBP, said on average they are processing 600 to 850 individuals per day.

On Wednesday alone, Border Patrol agents took custody of 243 immigranats, made up of family groups with small children and unaccompanied juveniles. This group was picked up at around 1:30 a.m. near the Antelope Wells port of entry in New Mexico.

Just 40 minutes later agents apprehended another group of 219 people at the border wall near downtown El Paso. Then on Thursday morning another 209 immigrants were apprehended yet again at Antelope Wells.

These facilities, Cordero said, will help. And, ideally – Maier said – an individual should be turned over to the appropriate agency within 72 hours.

“This is something we are doing because we have gotten to capacity,” Cordero said. “We have already exceeded our capacity and we need to have this in place so we can have people in humane places and we can transfer them in and out of the process. We at the border patrol are the first interaction – the first piece of the puzzle – our job is to enforce the law and our job is to process them and turn these individuals to someone else – in this case ICE enforcement removal operations.”

While the facility is currently meant to house family units, Cordero added that this could change in the future – depending on the situation and the circumstances.

Earlier this year the CPB and the U.S. General Services Administration had proposed to build a facility that would house as many as 800 people, which according to media reports, could have been the Hoover Manufacturing Facility.

But a group of business leaders in El Paso launched a campaign against the move under a Change.org petition, Action El Paso, asking the federal government to include city leaders in the conversation.

According to the petition business leaders are asking the following be adhered to before the GSA and CBP move forward with constructing the facility:

The community must be allowed to provide input on where the facility will be built. The federal government cannot come in and uproot El Pasoans’ quality of life, regional economy, and community cohesion for its own gains.

The community must have assurances regarding how this center will be staffed. We have seen too many instances where inadequate staffing has resulted in neglect and mistreatment of children and families.

The community must have assurances regarding how the health and well-being of families held in the processing center will be prioritized. It is a travesty that families are denied fundamental rights and basic dignities, such as a bed and access to health services, because processing facilities have been so poorly planned.

When asked about this, Maier said he wasn’t sure what the status of the facility was at the moment.

“That was a centralized processing center that we were looking to stand up – but  that’s taking longer than expected for a number of reasons – so this (temporary soft sided shelter) is our quick response to that. But that’s still in the works – yes.”

Author: Alex Hinojosa  | Gallery: Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – Chief Photographer – El Paso Herald Post

Temporary immigration detention facilities to open in El Paso, Rio Grande Valley

El Paso and the Rio Grande Valley are less than two weeks away from the scheduled opening of temporary detention centers that will each house up to 500 migrants who have crossed the border to seek asylum.

The facilities, commonly referred to as a “tent cities,” are the federal government’s response to the ongoing crush of migrants, mainly from Central America, who continue to cross into Texas after traveling through Mexico.

“U.S. Customs & Border Protection urgently needs to provide for additional shelter capacity to accommodate individuals in CBP’s custody throughout the southwest border,” CBP said in a written statement. “The overwhelming number of individuals arriving daily to the U.S. has created an immediate need for additional processing space in El Paso, Texas and Donna, Texas.”

On Thursday, a U.S. Border Patrol official who asked not to be named said the facility would likely be at the agency’s station in northeast El Paso near U.S. Highway 54. Bulldozers and tractors with flattening rollers could be seen Thursday at the site, which also included five small, military-style tents used to house migrants. The CBP office in El Paso would not confirm that the station would be the location of the new facility.

The federal government’s solicitation for vendors names Deployed Resources of Rome, New York, as the company the government is in negotiations with to supply kitchen equipment, showers, laundries, bathrooms and office space. The solicitation says the government only plans to negotiate with one company “because the facilities need to be established by April 30, 2019.” The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the contract.

The two facilities will cost about $37.2 million through the end of the year, according to federal documents.

The opening of the new facilities would come just more than three months after the Trump administration shut down a similar facility in nearby Tornillo, about 20 miles east of the El Paso city limits. That facility was erected in June and housed hundreds of unaccompanied minors who crossed the border to seek asylum.

Temporary facilities have been used for years to house undocumented immigrants when U.S. Border Patrol facilities are beyond their capacity to shelter migrants. The Obama administration opened a temporary facility at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force base in 2014 in response to a surge of unaccompanied minors who had crossed the border. And in 2016, a facility opened at the Tornillo site in response to another surge of unaccompanied minors and families crossing the border, the El Paso Times reported.

Read related Tribune coverage

Author: JULIÁN AGUILARThe Texas Tribune

Border Patrol closes West Texas checkpoints as influx of migrants strains resources

It’s unclear when the highway checkpoints in the El Paso sector of the U.S. Border Patrol will reopen after the agency closed them over the weekend and reassigned agents to help deal with an influx of undocumented immigrants.

The closure was first reported by Texas Monthly over the weekend. An agency spokesperson said Monday that the move is temporary.

“The United States Border Patrol (USBP) continues to apprehend illegal alien families and unaccompanied children in steadily increasing numbers. To process and ensure appropriate care for those in custody, resources including personnel have been diverted from other border security priorities,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement. “This is intended as a temporary measure. Checkpoints are integral to USBP’s border security mission.”

The El Paso sector covers more than 260 miles of the international boundary and includes El Paso and Hudspeth counties as well as all of New Mexico.

The spokesperson didn’t say how many agents have been reassigned or whether the sector has taken similar measures in the past.

The international borders in West Texas and New Mexico have seen a surge of unauthorized migration of mostly Central American families and unaccompanied minors seeking asylum after they are apprehended. In a statement released March 19, a sector spokesman said agents were apprehending on average 570 people per day, with about 90 percent of them coming from Central America.

That trend is part of an overall increase along the entire U.S.-Mexico border. From Oct. 1, when the federal government’s current fiscal year began, through February, about 136,150 family units were apprehended on the southwest border – an increase of about 340 percent from the same period in fiscal year 2018, when about 31,100 families were apprehended, according to CBP statistics.

The biggest spike occurred in the El Paso sector. During that time period about 36,300 family units were apprehended — a 1,689 percent increase from the same period last year, when 2,030 were apprehended.

It’s unclear whether other Border Patrol sectors in Texas are considering similar moves.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

1,600+ Migrants Released in El Paso Since Sunday, More Expected

The Christmas week surge of migrants released by ICE into El Paso was somewhat to be expected. However, to understand what happened this week, you have to understand the process.

For the last three months, Annunciation House, the non-profit organization that houses migrants after their release from ICE custody as they work their way to their final destination, has seen a record number 2,000 releases a week.

Late on the night of December 22, ICE officials dropped off 211 immigrant families who had passed through custody at a Downtown Greyhound station without notifying Annunciation House, which is the procedure that has been honored in the past by the government.

Currently, asylum-seeking migrants are turning themselves in to Border Patrol in mass numbers. The San Diego Border Patrol sector is still holding a tight line on entries after the highly publicized “migrant caravan” made its way to Tijuana in early December.

In contrast, the El Paso Border Patrol sector has been allowing what they call ‘metered entry’ at local ports of entry.

Typically taking about 60 asylum seeking migrants into processing per day. Other migrants will turn themselves in to Border Patrol in desolate areas where ports are not accessible for hundreds of miles.

Once in custody, adults are vetted to ensure they have no prior removal orders from the U.S. Government, and have no known criminal ties to gangs in Central America. Those who are suspect because of tattoos or other markings are separated from the asylum-seekers and kept in long term detention at area prisons, jails or Border Patrol custody.

Single men are also separated and detained in this manner.

Those who are entering with children, whether they are men or women, are allowed to be released into the custody of a “sponsor” after they are fitted with ankle monitors. The sponsors are everywhere in the country and are typically family members or close friends.

On one recent visit to an Annunciation House shelter, the Herald Post met with Honduran and Guatemalan families who were heading to Nebraska, South Carolina, Florida, New Jersey, and other locations across Texas.

Typically, the asylum seekers are held in ICE detention for a maximum 72-hour period before being released to a local Non-Governmental Organization (NGO); in El Paso, that’s Annunciation House. In recent weeks, the population has surged in ICE detention centers and migrants are now being held anywhere between 4-8 days.

In the case of Felix Alonzo-Gomez, the 8-year-old Guatemalan child who died in ICE custody Christmas Eve in Alamogordo, the El Paso-area detention centers were so overpopulated that his family was moved to a Border Patrol Station outside of Alamogordo, NM.

Once released by ICE, the migrants are housed anywhere from 24-48 hours by Annunciation House in El Paso while their sponsors can secure bus or plane tickets to get them to their final destination. Once there, they will check in with a local office and await court proceedings. It acts as a sort of an underground railroad through the Sun City.

The hospitality sites are known to many, but revealed by few. Safety is a top concern to Annunciation House and their volunteers.

What became apparent in El Paso this week is the overwhelming number coming in to seek asylum is overwhelming ICE at their detention facilities and local NGO partners like Annunciation House, who are struggling to get migrants on to their final location before more are released the following day.

Ruben Garcia with Annunciation House said they received 522 migrants on December 26, an all-time record number for the center in his 40-plus year history with the organization. Thursday, Annunciation House received an additional 322.

In a statement to the El Paso Herald Post, ICE blamed inaction by Congress and attempts to stay in compliance with federal laws for detaining families as a reason for this sudden action.

“After decades of inaction by Congress, the government remains severely constrained in its ability to detain and promptly remove families with no legal basis to remain in the U.S. To mitigate the risk of holding family units past the timeframe allotted to the government, ICE has curtailed reviews of post-release plans from families apprehended at the southwest border. ICE is redoubling its efforts to work with local and state officials and NGO partners in the area so they are prepared to provide assistance with transportation and other services,” the statement read.

Congresswoman-elect Veronica Escobar has been in contact with ICE officials, including several phone calls on Christmas Eve to help coordinate transfers from ICE into Annunciation House custody. In the past, she said ICE worked to locate additional emergency detention space in order for NGOs to have room for the released family units. That practice is no longer an option, ICE told her.

As a result, more than 1,600 migrants have been released into the streets of El Paso since Sunday afternoon, with more expected in the coming days. Annunciation House has activated 15 hospitality sites including four hotels in El Paso and an additional 5 hospitality sites in Las Cruces, according to Garcia.

In an effort to mitigate the high population in detention holding cells by ICE, Garcia is working to increase capacity to 3,000 per week in El Paso. The increase represents a 50% increase in population housed by Annunciation House in the El Paso area.

During one of this week’s massive releases of migrants in Downtown El Paso, the Herald Post encountered many children who were battling colds or fevers. One child had pink-eye. Organizers on the ground tell us they have been seeing an increase in these sorts of illnesses when migrants are being released.

Most of the children had been in ICE custody for over a week before coming down with illnesses. Annunciation House is working with volunteer nurses and doctors to provide basic medical care and screening at each hospitality site.

Annunciation House operates 100% off of donations and is not funded by any government funding. Anyone wishing to make financial donations is asked to do so on their website.

At this time, Annunciation House is asking local organizations or church groups who are able to volunteer as a group to feed migrants at one of their hospitality sites contact them at refugees@annunciationhouse.org.

8-year-old Guatemalan Boy who Died in U.S. Custody Spent Two Days at El Paso Border Patrol Station

An 8-year-old Guatemalan child detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection died at a hospital in New Mexico, the agency reported Tuesday, the second migrant child to die in government custody this month.

CBP initially said the child died shortly after midnight on Christmas Day. But early Wednesday, it issued a lengthy, revised version of events that put the boy’s time of death at 11:48 p.m. on Monday, Christmas Eve.

CBP Commissioner Kevin K. McAleenan said the Border Patrol would conduct health checks of all children in its “care and custody,” whether they arrived in the United States as part of a family or were unaccompanied. The health reviews will focus on children under 10.

The new statement did not say how many children would be assessed, but they could number in the thousands.

CBP also said it was looking into a variety of options to relieve overcrowding in its facilities in the El Paso sector, which includes El Paso County in far western Texas and all of New Mexico.

The agency did not identify the boy, but in a statement, U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio, gave his name as Felipe Alonzo-Gomez. Castro, chairman-elect of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, said that “many questions remain unanswered, including how many children have died in CBP custody.”

The child’s death came 17 days after 7-year-old Jakelin Caal, another Guatemalan national, died Dec. 8 of dehydration and shock less than 36 hours after she was apprehended by border agents.

The most recent death highlighted the stalemate over President Trump’s demand that Congress approve additional money for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, a standoff that has shut down parts of the federal government for four days. Trump said again Tuesday that there will be no change until his demands are met.

“I can’t tell you when the government is going to reopen,” he told reporters in an Oval Office appearance on Christmas morning. “I can tell you it’s not going to be open until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it. I’ll call it whatever they want. But it’s all the same thing. It’s a barrier from people pouring into our country.”

About 25 percent of the government has been shut down since midnight Friday.

The president defended his call for $5 billion to construct a wall along the border with Mexico, saying that only an Olympic athlete would be able to scale such a structure. “If you don’t have that, then we’re just not opening,” Trump said.

All told, about 800,000 of the 2.1 million federal workers nationwide — or more than a third — are estimated to be affected in some way by the shutdown. Trump claimed that many government employees support the shutdown.

“Many of those workers have said to me, communicated — stay out until you get the funding for the wall,” Trump said. “These federal workers want the wall.”

But his claim conflicted with accounts from the workers’ union leaders.

“Federal employees should not have to pay the personal price for all of this dysfunction,” Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, which represents 150,000 members at 33 federal agencies and departments, said Monday. “This shutdown is a travesty. Congress and the White House have not done their fundamental jobs of keeping the government open.”

In its new timeline, issued at 12:37 a.m. Eastern time on Wednesday, CBP said the boy was apprehended with his father about 1 p.m. on Dec. 18, a little more than three miles west of the Paseo Del Norte port of entry. The agency said they were brought to the Paseo Del Norte processing center a little after 4:30 p.m., where they were given hot food, snacks, juice and water. Agents checked on their welfare six times, CBP said.

On Thursday, they were taken to the El Paso Border Patrol station, where they were held for two days and provided food, water and showers, CBP said. Agents checked on their welfare 17 times, the agency said. Shortly after 1 a.m. Sunday, they were taken to the Alamogordo Border Patrol station to “finalize processing,” CBP said.

The boy began to show signs of illness Monday morning and was taken to Gerald Champion Regional Medical Center in Alamogordo, N.M. He was tested for strep throat but prepared for release with a diagnosis of a common cold and given Tylenol.

But when caregivers noticed a fever of 103 degrees, he was held for more observation before being released with a prescription for an antibiotic and Ibuprofen.

The boy and his father were taken to a holding facility at the Highway 70 checkpoint, and the child was given the medications about 5 p.m. About 7 p.m., the boy vomited. His father declined further medical assistance, CBP said.

He became lethargic about 10 p.m. and was taken back to the hospital. On the way, he began to vomit again and lost consciousness. Doctors were unable to revive him at the hospital, and he was declared dead at 12 minutes to midnight. The cause of death is not known. An autopsy is planned.

“This is a tragic loss. On behalf of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, our deepest sympathies go out to the family,” McAleenan said.

The Guatemalan Foreign Ministry called for an investigation “in accordance with due process.”

An investigation into CBP actions will be conducted by the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility, the CBP news release said. The Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general and Congress have been notified, it said.

The Guatemalan government was notified, and the father has met with consular officials at the Alamogordo station, CBP said. He also has spoken with his wife in Guatemala, the agency said.

The hospital said in a statement that “privacy regulations prevent us from sharing information about any individual patient. . . . Our thoughts and prayers are with this family during this very difficult time.”

Under guidelines established after the government waited several days to inform Congress about Jakelin Caal’s death, CBP agreed to notify lawmakers within 24 hours of a death of anyone in its custody and issue a media statement an hour after that. Notifications also must be issued to nongovernmental organizations that work with migrants and others.

U.S. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard of California, the ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security appropriations subcommittee, said in an interview that “the reality is that a detention center is no place for a child, particularly a sick child. When that child was determined to be ill, had a 103-degree fever, why they would send that child back to a detention center, which is really not fit for even a well child?

“That’s something that we’re looking into, because that policy or whatever caused them to send that child back has to be changed.”

In a tweet directed at Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Rep. J. Luis Correa, D-California, said: “This is the second child this month. What is going on at @DHS.gov? Does @HouseHomeland have to start subpoenaing you to get the truth?”

Ruby Powers, a Houston-based lawyer and member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association, said the boy’s death is not unexpected given the difficult conditions that immigrants and their children face on the journey north to the United States and the way authorities shuttle families between facilities.

“There’s a lack of ownership of the detainee, thinking they won’t be in their hands very long, moving them along to the next location, and that is where the lack of care can occur,” she said. “I know I’m supposed to be shocked, but knowing everything I know, I’m not shocked.”

CBP said in its statement that it is developing “surge options” with Immigration and Customs Enforcement aimed at getting more families and children out of CBP custody in the El Paso Border Patrol sector. That includes working with nongovernmental organizations to house children and families.

The El Paso sector has seen a huge increase in the numbers of families arriving and seeking asylum. Annunciation House, a nonprofit that provides shelter and food for migrants after their release by ICE, has been overwhelmed in recent days.

ICE released more than 200 people at an El Paso bus station without warning on Sunday. Similar numbers were released Monday and Tuesday, and hundreds more are expected Wednesday and Thursday officials have said.

CBP also said it is seeking medical help from the Defense Department and other agencies for the large numbers of children and families in custody. The agency said it is reviewing its policies for caring for children under 10, including at intake and when they are held for more than 24 hours.

Court orders prevent CBP from holding children for more than 72 hours. But officials have acknowledged that they sometimes move children from one holding facility to another to avoid going over the 72-hour limit. The child who died in Alamogordo had been held by CBP for more than 130 hours before he died.

Jakelin’s family has disputed CBP reports that the child went several days without food and water before she died, saying she was healthy when she arrived in the United States. In a news conference earlier this month, a migrant advocate said the girl’s father, 29-year-old Nery Caal, had told him that Jakelin was healthy and had no preexisting conditions.

“He’s been very clear, very consistent that his daughter was healthy, and his daughter very much wanted to come with him,” said Ruben Garcia, founder and executive director of Annunciation House, an El Paso-based nonprofit that helps migrants.

The symptoms the 8-year-old boy exhibited are similar to the ones Jakelin showed before she died.

More than a day before she died, Jakelin, her father and 161 other Central American migrants crossed the U.S. border outside Antelope Wells, N.M., seeking to turn themselves in to Border Patrol agents.

The Department of Homeland Security has said that the girl did not show signs of health problems during a routine check conducted when she and her father were taken into custody.

“The initial screening revealed no evidence of health issues. During the screening, the father denied that either he or his daughter were ill. This denial was recorded on Form I-779 signed by the father,” the DHS account said. It added that they were offered food and water and had access to restrooms. The form was in English, but CBP officials said agents provided an oral translation.

The family’s attorneys have said that it was “unacceptable” to have Jakelin’s father sign a document in a language that he did not understand.

Jakelin’s body was returned to Guatemala on Monday.

Moore reported from El Paso. Paul Schwartzman and Elyse Samuels in Washington contributed to this report.

Authors: LENNY BERNSTEIN, PHILIP RUCKER AND ROBERT MOORE, THE WASHINGTON POST

DEVELOPING: CBP Reschedules ‘Crowd Control’ Exercise for Friday; Press, Public Not Invited

Only a few days removed from the original scheduled date, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Officials announced Thursday evening their ‘crowd control exercise’ would go on Friday morning in Chihuahuita, without press or the public present.

According to the email, officials said Friday’s exercise would again include Border Patrol ‘assets and participants,’ however the main difference would be that the exercise would be ‘closed to the public and media representatives,’ citing safety purposes.

The training, originally scheduled for Election Day, November 6th, was abruptly cancelled with out warning that same morning.

Armored vehicles, Border Patrol trucks with horse trailers in tow, as well as the familiar white and green clad trucks had all gathered within a few steps of one of the city’s oldest neighborhood, only to quickly be removed.

On Tuesday, American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Officials filed an official complaint with the Department of Justice, alleging the

Map courtesy GOOGLE

original date was a form of voter intimidation.

The area where the demonstration was slated to be held is in the heart of the Chihuahuita neighborhood in South El Paso. The

neighborhood is a historically poor, Hispanic community that winds along the Rio Grande River.

On Tuesday, when directly asked by the Herald Post why the exercise was canceled at the last minute, public affairs officers said they were not given a reason.

To read the Tuesday’s story, click here.  A copy of the email is included below.

Video+Story: Construction of $22 Million Border Wall Set to Begin Saturday

The construction of a $22 million Border Wall in Downtown El Paso will begin on Saturday, according to Border Patrol officials.

“This new wall will be far more durable and far more effective in deterring would-be illegal entrants,” El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Aaron Hull said.

Funding for the project was earmarked in the 2017 Appropriations Bill as part of the President’s Executive Order 13767

Construction on the 18-foot steel bollard wall will replace current chain-link fencing that is currently in place. One mile of the steel structure will be built west of the Paso Del Norte Port of Entry and the remaining three miles will be east of the PDN Bridge and will join with an existing 12-foot steel fence that begins on near Fonseca Road along the Border Highway.

The contract for the wall’s construction was awarded to West Point Contractors of Tucson, Arizona on June 1, 2018 but was not announced to the public until September 18.

Border Patrol maintains that the area is a hotspot for illegal entry into the U.S. When asked to provide specific numbers of illegal crossings in the area, officials with the Border Patrol were unable to give specifics. Instead, they say that their experience working in the area is all the evidence needed to show the four mile stretch is at a higher susceptibility for illegal border crossings.

The construction project came as a surprise to many in the Chihuahuita community, city leaders and immigration advocates.

Border Network for Human Rights called the announcement of the construction at the last minute “unacceptable.”

Fernando Garcia with BNHR organizes a bi-annual event called “Hugs Not Walls” which unites families separated by the Border in the arroyo near the PDN Bridge. On Monday, officials with the Border Patrol contacted Garcia to inform him that a previously approved permit for October 6, was being rescinded due to the wall’s construction.

Hull said the Border Patrol will continue to work with community stakeholders in the future, but said border security is their top priority. He declined to state whether Hugs Not Walls would be able to continue at the conclusion of the wall’s construction.

The El Paso Sector Border says apprehensions in the 2018 Fiscal Year were up 61% over 2017. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced a “zero tolerance” policy in April, which was enacted in May. The policy resulted in controversial family separation and the creation of ‘tent cities’ which housed children separated from their parents.

In response to the wall’s construction, the Border Network for Human Rights and a number of community activists and elected officials joined together to announce a community action demonstration for Saturday, September 22 at 10 a.m. at Cleveland Square to protest the construction project.

The demonstration is expected to move toward the Paso Del Norte Bridge.

Border Patrol Agents help Deliver Baby

Thanks to the quick action of Border Patrol agents, a migrant from El Salvador safely delivered a baby shortly after crossing into the US.

According to U.S. Border Patrol officials, while patrolling the border earlier this month, agents from Ysleta observed 11 migrants cross the international boundary four miles west of the Ysleta Port of Entry. Agents captured the group and they were transported to the Ysleta station for processing.

After arriving at the station, a 34-year- old female from El Salvador informed Agents that she was in her third trimester of pregnancy. While in custody, she began to complain of stomach pain. A female Border Patrol Agent quickly recognized that she was in fact experiencing labor pains, and sprang into action.

The Agent immediately began to comfort the expectant mother through breathing and relaxation techniques and EMS was contacted. The Agent gathered towels to prepare for the birth. Minutes later, a baby boy was delivered with the assistance of El Paso Fire and EMS personnel, who had arrived to the scene.

Both mother and child were then transported to Sierra Providence East Hospital for further medical care and evaluation.

On December 6, the mother and newborn were discharged from the hospital, and transported to the Temporary Holding Facility in Tornillo-Texas pending an immigration determination. The following morning, the new mom alerted agents at the facility that her newborn child appeared to be ill, and required medical attention.

Agents summoned EMS and subsequently transported the mother and child to El Paso Children’s Hospital, where the infant was admitted. The infant was treated and was released by the attending physician and is currently doing well.

Officials with the Border Patrol add that once they were deemed fit for travel, the baby and her mother were released from U.S. Border Patrol custody, pending an immigration hearing.

Report: Border Patrol Practices Cause Deaths, Disappearances

TUCSON, Ariz. – The U.S. Border Patrol purposely drives migrants into remote desert areas, causing hundreds to get lost and disappear in 2015. That’s one finding in a new report by two Tucson-based immigrants’ rights groups.

Researchers combed through reports made to the Missing Migrant Hotline of the group La Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, or Human Rights Coalition. They also surveyed dozens of people deported from Arizona to Nogales, Mexico.

Geoffrey Boyce, with the group No More Deaths, which coauthored the report with La Coalicion de Derechos Humanos, said they found 460 cases of people who vanished last year alone, most while crossing the Sonoran Desert, the Arizona Uplands or the brushlands of South Texas.

“Oftentimes, what we see are small groups of agents encountering large groups of people and essentially, scattering the groups,” he said. “Folks disappear into remote mountains and canyons and are never heard from again.”

The report estimates that 8,600 people have died trying to cross the borderlands from Mexico into the United States since the 1990s. The Border Patrol said it will have apprehended 400,000 people in fiscal year 2016, the lowest level since the early 1970s.

Boyce said the “chase and scatter” tactics are part of a “prevention through deterrence” strategy put into place with Operation Gatekeeper in 1994.

“It expressly stated their intention to push crossing out into these remote and hostile areas, to use it as a barrier to unlawful crossings,” he explained. “This is pushing people out further into harm’s way.”

The report concluded that there is no safe way to catch people trying to cross in remote areas. The groups are calling on Congress to rewrite immigration policy to make it more humane, and to work to alleviate the violence and poverty that motivate people to try to emigrate to the U.S.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service – AZ

Complaint: Border Patrol Confiscates Deportee IDs, Money

EL PASO, Texas – The ACLU is among the groups that have filed an administrative complaint against the Department of Homeland Security for confiscating money and property from individuals before deporting them.

The groups allege that immigration officials confiscated and failed to return personal belongings, exposing at least 26 people to greater risk of harm on their return to Mexico. Attorney Kristin Love with ACLU New Mexico said that without money or ID, people face extreme hardships in Mexico.

“People are deported to border cities far from where they are from without anything,” she said, “and have a very difficult time even paying for a place to stay when they’re on the border, or paying for food or getting a bus ticket home.”

Gillian Christensen, national press secretary for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said her agency is investigating the complaints. She added that not returning belongings, money or identification prior to deportation is against agency policy.

During processing, Love said, ICE agents take a deportee’s belongings and put them in storage. It then becomes the deportee’s responsibility to claim those belongings or have a third party do so, something Love said is almost impossible when a person is in detention. She added that if the belongings are not claimed, they are destroyed.

“The Department of Homeland Security recently signed local repatriation arrangements with Mexico, saying that they would take all steps to ensure that belongings are back in the hands of their owners before their release from custody,” she said. “And yet, they haven’t taken even a reasonable step to ensure that this happened.”

Activists from Mexico and the United States jointly filed the complaint, Love said, adding that the majority of cases involved the El Paso Border Patrol Sector, which serves New Mexico and West Texas.

Some reports estimate that one in three people deported has his or her possessions confiscated and not returned.

The complaint is online at aclutx.org

Texas-Mexico Border apprehensions dipped in 2015

The number of people apprehended by immigration agents while trying to enter Texas illegally dropped by more than 35 percent during the federal government’s 2015 fiscal year, according to Department of Homeland Security statistics released Tuesday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents stopped some 210,470 people in Texas between October 2014 and September 2015, compared to 332,457 the previous year. On the entire southwestern border, 331,335 people were apprehended in the 2015 fiscal year, compared to 479,371 the year before.

Homeland security leaders attribute the dip to lower numbers of would-be illegal crossers and a ramped-up border security effort that has nearly doubled the number of agents on the southwestern border since 2001. The number of Mexican nationals apprehended decreased by 18 percent, they said; apprehensions of people from countries other than Mexico — mainly Central Americans — decreased by more than 65 percent.

The new data is not likely to allay the concerns of GOP state leaders, who argue the Obama administration is failing in its duty to secure the border and remove undocumented criminals already present in the country.

Last week, Gov. Greg Abbott announced that he’d be keeping National Guard troops on the state’s border with Mexico instead of sending them home as planned, the result of a spike in illegal crossings by minor children in the Rio Grande Valley in October and November of this year.

The Guard is deployed to assist federal agents and state troopers in surveillance and border crossings but has no arresting or removal powers.

The downward trend in federal apprehensions wasn’t just limited to the border; nationally, they decreased by about 30 percent between 2014 and 2015.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement also removed roughly 80,000 fewer undocumented people from the country — a total of 235,413 — in 2015 than the agency did the prior year.

During a conference call with reporters, homeland security officials said of Immigration and Customs Enforcement removals in 2015, about 86 percent were considered “Priority 1” — immigrants who pose a viable threat to national security, border security and public safety.

The 2015 totals also include roughly 40 percent fewer unaccompanied minors and family units.

Homeland security officials said their focus in 2016 would be “more interior enforcement” to return “convicted criminals” to their home countries.

Author:  – The Texas Tribune

The Texas Tribune is a nonpartisan, nonprofit media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them – about public policy, pol itics, government and statewide issues.

john overall 728×90
Utep Football Generic 728
TRLA_728
Covid-19 Fund 728
Emergence June 11 – Sep 11, 2020 728
Mountains 728
PBP_728
ENTERPRISE 728
Elizabeth 728
Spring Training 728
Get Shift Done 728