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Home | Tag Archives: texas illegal immigration

Tag Archives: texas illegal immigration

Illegal Central American Immigration Surges Again at U.S. Border

For the second time in three years, the U.S. Border Patrol is apprehending more non-Mexicans than Mexicans along the southwest border, reflecting a renewed surge of Central American migrants fleeing violence and gang warfare in their home countries.

Many of those apprehended are children traveling alone or in so-called “family units,” and come from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, according to newly released statistics from U.S. Customs and Border Enforcement. Nearly two-thirds of the apprehensions occurred within the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector, spanning much of Texas’s southernmost tip.

Through August of this year, there were a total of 369,411 apprehensions on the U.S.-Mexico border. More than half of those were of non-Mexicans, the statistics show. As of July, the border patrol had apprehended 57,344 people from El Salvador, 58,337 from Guatemala and 41,042 from Honduras compared to 160,193 from Mexico.

Apprehensions of non-Mexicans first outnumbered those from Mexico in 2014, according to an analysis by the Pew Research Center. Faye Hipsman, policy analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Washington, D.C., says the trend isn’t fading.

“It’s definitely clear that these flows are enduring,” Hipsman said. “They’re not going to go away anytime soon. We’re likely to see significant numbers of Central American unaccompanied children and families crossing the border.”

A huge surge of undocumented immigrants, including children fleeing the “northern triangle” of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras without their parents marked 2014. The influx elicited strong responses from those on both ends of the political spectrum. Both President Obama and then-Gov. Rick Perry deemed the situation a humanitarian crisis. Perry called for the swift deportation of the unaccompanied minors, saying that allowing them to stay would only encourage more to come.

Mexico boosted security along its southern border, hoping to curb illegal immigration through the country, but the efforts have not had a lasting effect, experts say.

Hipsman said Mexico’s increased border enforcement worked for a time in 2015, “but this year, it kind of looks like smugglers have found their way around that enforcement or are just increasingly beating it.”

Her views are reflected in a U.S. Customs and Border Protections report published Sept. 9 which indicates apprehensions overall are higher this year than in 2015, but below the rates of 2014 and 2013.

As of August, the apprehension of unaccompanied children from El Salvador and Guatemala far outpaced apprehensions oftxtribImmig unaccompanied children from Mexico. The same holds true for family units — individuals apprehended with a family member — apprehensions for those from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras compared to those from Mexico.

But unlike in 2014, the Border Patrol may be better prepared to process the large volume of Central American immigrants. Border Patrol spokesmen declined comment for this article, but the agency’s report detailed plans for “expanded capacity for refugee processing.”

“There isn’t the surprise element,” Hipsman said. “They aren’t blindsided by these flows anymore. They’ve worked on management and processing them. So you don’t see you know, just that hysteria that we saw in 2014.”

Read more of the Tribune’s related coverage:

  • Multiple inflatable rafts on the water. Emotionally shaken kids in the back of Border Patrol vans. Dope dumped on the river’s edge. The Texas Tribune witnessed all that and more during an afternoon with the U.S. Border Patrol.
  • The news crews have drifted away, and the national spotlight has turned elsewhere. But Central American immigrants continue to cross illegally into Texas, and their numbers seem to be growing again.
  • Federal immigration agents apprehended nearly 97,000 more people trying to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas’ southern border during the 2014 fiscal year than they did in 2013, the Department of Homeland Security announced on Friday.

Authors: Eleanor Dearman and Travis Putnam Hill – The Texas Tribune

Gov. Abbott orders National Guard to stay in place on Border

Because of a recent spike in minors crossing the border illegally in the Rio Grande Valley, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that he is ordering the Texas National Guard to stay in the area through December.

The troops were originally scheduled to leave by the end of the month, but Abbott said in a statement that because of federal inaction, the Guard will stay in place.

“In September, I warned Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson ‘about the significant increase in unaccompanied minors who are once again pouring across our border,’” Abbott said. “Despite the warning – followed by a phone discussion about the matter – my request for more [Border Patrol] agents and strategic resources to secure the border were ignored.”

Abbott cited figures from the U.S. Border Patrol that indicate the number of minors crossing into the region doubled from 3,219 in October and November of 2014 to 6,465 for the same two months in 2015.

The governor’s office has also allocated $4.7 million in grants for overtime and other operating costs for law enforcement in the area.

National Guard troops have been in the area since former Gov. Rick Perry ordered them there in summer 2014, when the surge of undocumented immigrants, mainly from Central America, began in earnest.

Abbott has also ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to team up with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to increase boat patrols in the Rio Grande. He’s also allocated $200,000 in grant funding to aid Ellis and Rockwall counties to increase safety and emergency services after the arrival of 1,000 of the undocumented children.

The original deployment of the National Guard was met with harsh criticism from Democrats, who said the troops were not needed as the undocumented immigrants posed no security threat to Texans. Instead of evading arrest, opponents argued, the immigrants would instead turn themselves in to American authorities after fleeing violence and poverty in their homelands.

But the Republican leadership argued that the soldiers were needed because transnational gangs and cartel operatives would be able to exploit the fact that U.S. Border Patrol agents were being  overwhelmed by the surge and possibly neglecting their security duties.

In June, Abbott signed into law House Bill 11, by state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, which allows the Texas DPS to expedite the hiring of troopers for the border region. Abbott also signed into law a budget that allocated a record $800 million for border security.

Last week during a House State Affairs committee hearing, Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw told lawmakers that as of Dec. 10, the agency had hired and trained 81 troopers for the border. After a graduation ceremony this week, the number of new border officers would surpass 100, Abbott’s office confirmed.

Abbott also announced on Tuesday that the state’s Border Prosecution Unit, made up of 17 district and county attorneys offices from the border region, will receive $4.2 million to aid in the prosecution of crimes associated with drugs, weapons, human trafficking and gangs.

The prosecution unit has existed since 2010, but its official duties were codified this year after the Legislature passed House Bill 12 by state Rep. Oscar Longoria, D-Mission, which also spells out how the members elect a governing board and who has prosecuting powers in each county.

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.

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