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Home | Tag Archives: trump’s border wall

Tag Archives: trump’s border wall

Arrests along U.S.-Mexico border are falling, preliminary figures show

The number of migrant families crossing the border illegally has been falling in recent weeks, according to preliminary figures from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, though U.S. officials say it is too soon to get a full picture of the impact on migration trends from President Donald Trump’s deal with Mexico.

U.S. authorities detained more than 85,000 “family unit” members at the border in May, an average of nearly 2,800 per day. That number has declined about 13% since the beginning of June, a period during which Trump threatened to impose tariffs on Mexico and the government of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador agreed to an immigration crackdown to avoid the penalty.

Overall, U.S. officials say they are expecting a 15-20% decline in border arrests from May, when authorities detained more than 144,000 and migration levels reached their highest point since 2006. The portion of migrants arriving as part of a family group has reached unprecedented levels in recent months, overwhelming U.S. border authorities who say they are ill equipped to care for so many parents with children.

Since the June 7 immigration deal with Trump, Mexico has begun to deploy thousands of national guard forces to set up highway checkpoints and catch more Central American migrants as they head northward toward the U.S. border. The United States also has begun to send more asylum seekers back across the border into Mexico to await their U.S. immigration court hearings, an expansion of the Migrant Protection Protocols program that prevents the migrants from staying in the United States while they go through the asylum process.

The Mexican immigration enforcement crackdown has been concentrated in southern Mexico, so U.S. officials say it could take several weeks for the full effect of the effort to show up as a reduction in crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border. As the United States turns more people away to Mexico during the asylum process, authorities hope it will act as a deterrent.

“We are seeing initial actions, and we are seeing some signs they’re having an impact,” said one U.S. official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss preliminary figures that are not yet public. “But I think it’s still too early to tell.”

Border arrests typically surge in the spring, when demand for U.S. farm labor grows, then subside during peak summer months. Border arrests declined 17% from May 2018 to June 2018, an indication that the expected decline this month could follow that same trend.

But Department of Homeland Security officials say current migration patterns are less linked to seasonal labor demand than in the past and are instead driven by the widespread view in Central America that those who migrate with children have an opportunity now to gain entry to the United States by taking advantage of legal gaps in the U.S. immigration system.

If the June arrest numbers continue to decline, it would be the first month this year that Customs and Border Protection has recorded a decrease in enforcement actions.

During the negotiations to avert tariffs, White House officials told Mexico that Trump wanted to see border crossings back at the historic lows tallied during 2017.

The Mexican government did not commit to a specific, numerical enforcement goal during the negotiations, a senior Mexican official said Monday. But Mexico has assured the United States that its enforcement efforts will deliver the major reductions in migration levels Trump is demanding.

The United States, via the MPP program, has been sending about 250 asylum seekers back to Mexico per day, but U.S. officials plan to increase that to at least 1,000 per day in coming weeks.

The procedure is facing legal challenges, and critics say it exposes vulnerable families to grave danger by stranding them in mafia-dominated Mexican border cities with few services and little protection. Local Mexican officials say they are ill prepared for a massive return of migrants.

A senior Mexican official told reporters Monday that the Mexican government’s efforts had cut daily arrests at the U.S. border from 4,500 to 2,600, but U.S. officials said those figures were not an accurate reflection of daily averages since the two countries reached their accord.

Mexican officials said Monday that their enforcement efforts would target more than the highways and rail lines of southern Mexico, noting that some of the country’s national-guard units would deploy to the U.S. border to increase enforcement.

Read related Tribune coverage


Pentagon set to expand military role along U.S-Mexico border

The Pentagon is preparing to approve a loosening of rules that bar troops from interacting with migrants entering the United States, expanding the military’s involvement in President Trump’s operation along the southern border.

Senior Defense Department officials have recommended that acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan approve a new request from the Department of Homeland Security to provide military lawyers, cooks and drivers to assist with handling a surge of migrants along the southern border.

The move would require authorizing waivers for more than 300 troops to a long-standing policy prohibiting military personnel from coming into contact with migrants.

The Pentagon has approved only one previous request to waive the policy since the beginning of Trump’s recent border buildup, in order to provide migrants with emergency medical care if required. There are about 2,900 active-duty and 2,000 National Guard troops along the border.

Shanahan is expected to sign the request on Friday.

According to internal Pentagon documents obtained by The Washington Post, the requested expansion of military activity along the border would cost an estimated $21.9 million through the end of fiscal year 2019.

In a sign of the sensitivities surrounding a move that might be seen as putting troops in a law enforcement role, the documents note that military personnel would remain in a “segregated driver’s compartment” when driving migrants to detention facilities. Customs and Border Protection officials would provide security on those trips.

Likewise, when they are asked to distribute food to migrants in detention facilities and periodically “document the provision of care” of those detained migrants, they would be accompanied at all times by law enforcement personnel.

As part of the proposal, military attorneys meanwhile would assist with deportation hearings in New Mexico, Louisiana and New York.

All of those activities, the documents note, require Shanahan to “grant a temporary exception to the ‘no contact with migrants’ policy.’ ” The documents also note that military personnel are barred from undertaking law enforcement activities in keeping with the Posse Comitatus Act.

The request comes as an unprecedented surge of Central American families arriving at the U.S. southern border pushes American agents to “the breaking point,” according to DHS officials. Last month, U.S. authorities processed more than 103,000 migrants, the highest one-month total in more than a decade.

Border Patrol officials say overwhelmed agents are being pulled away from their law enforcement duties because they are so busy caring for migrant parents and children. The shortage of drivers and agents who can chaperone migrants to hospitals has been especially acute.

In the El Paso area, where the strain on Border Patrol resources has been greatest, groups of migrant families who cross the border to surrender to authorities sometimes wait for hours because there are no agents to come pick them up with vans and buses.

CBP officers have been reassigned from ports of entry to drive vehicles and perform other support roles for border agents, but that has exacerbated wait times for commercial trucks and passenger vehicles crossing from Mexico.

Read related Tribune coverage


Maria Sachetti and Paul Sonne contributed to this report.

Video: Cornyn Votes to Secure Border, Calls for Reform of National Emergencies Act

WASHINGTON – Thursday on the floor of the Senate, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) discussed his vote against the Democrats’ attempt to block the President from securing the border and called on Congress to reform the National Emergencies Act.

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

“As I’ve said in the past, I’ll repeat again: what we are doing here today is no one’s first choice.”

“The refusal of Democrats in the House and the Senate to engage in negotiations on border security funding has led us to a 35-day government shutdown. Despite the clear message from border security experts, despite seeing the humanitarian crisis at the border described by President Obama in 2014 get many times worse, our Democratic colleagues decided to play politics instead of dealing with the problem.”

“My preference would be for the normal appropriations process to be used. But when your negotiating partners refuse to take a seat at the table, normal goes out the window. Our colleagues across the aisle left the president with few options to fund what he believed were so important for the nation’s security, and that’s what led us to this situation.”

“It’s clear that the president is operating within the authority that Congress has given to him. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to agree with it. But it’s clear that the president is operating within the authority Congress delegated to him.”

“I believe there’s a need to rein back in some of the authority that Congress has delegated to presidents, just as an institutional concern, as a constitutional matter. Which I am cosponsoring a bill that has been introduced by our colleague, Senator Lee, which gives Congress a stronger voice in processes under the National Emergencies Act.”

“I think this is an honest and important effort to hopefully help us prevent us from ending up in this predicament in the future.”

“The terrain and the 1,200-mile border between Texas and Mexico vary significantly.”

“What works well in one sector does not work well in another. And what I continue to hear from my constituents, including elected officials at the border, that if this is the border patrol telling us what they need in order to succeed to do the job we have asked them to do, we’re all in.”

“I think we need to take action to adequately fund our border security missions, and I hope our discussions in the coming months will be more productive than they have been so far this year. I will vote against the resolution of disapproval today and encourage my colleagues to instead focus our energy on reforming the legislation that got us into this situation to begin with.”


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

With Federal Agents Redeployed to Manage Migrant Caravan, Texas Border-Crossers Expect Long Holiday Waits

Keep calm and come on over.

That’s the holiday message city and business officials here are sending to their neighbors directly across the Texas-Mexico border.

Given that local Customs and Border Protection Agents have been redeployed to California and Arizona ahead of the anticipated arrival of a caravan of Central American migrants to those border states, wait times are likely to spike at Texas’ key ports of entry — ahead of the busiest international shopping season of the year.

“This is historically a very busy period,” Hector Mancha, Customs and Border Protection’s director of field operations in El Paso, said in a statement. “Border-crossers should take steps to help themselves and also plan to build extra time into their schedules to accommodate what will be longer-than-normal processing times.”

Federal officials argue the redeployment is necessary to ensure the southwest border remains safe from the migrant caravan, which has been a subject of consternation and outrage from Republicans nationally, particularly in the run-up to the November election.

Local Democrats, meanwhile, have blasted the move as political theater, and said the effects of border-processing delays on commerce will hit El Paso and neighboring Ciudad Juárez particularly hard.

“We have a very strong economic relationship with Mexico that goes in both directions, and benefits us locally, statewide and nationally,” state Sen. Jose Rodriguez, D-El Paso, said in a statement.

Those charged with promoting El Paso’s downtown tourism and shopping districts say there will be an economic toll, but acknowledge city leaders and the people who live along this stretch of border have been down this road before.

“The concerns are valid,” said Rudy Vasquez, the marketing communications manager for El Paso’s Downtown Management District. “But one thing I can say for sure is that concerns about the impact to retail and downtown business [aren’t] new in that respect.”

It’s unclear how many agents from the El Paso area have been reassigned to California and Arizona. Local news reports put the number at more than 100. U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, who represents the country’s busiest inland port, said the total number of agents sent from Texas is 575, though his office didn’t detail how many were deployed from each field office. A Customs and Border Protection spokesman declined to confirm a number for “operational security reasons.” The spokesman also declined to say how long the agents would be away.

Rodriguez, citing a report from the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, said Mexican shoppers accounted for more than $4 billion in retail sales in Texas cities in 2012, up from $2 billion in 2006.

“Now, faced with a refugee pilgrimage to safety in the U.S. during a holiday season that celebrates the traditions of sanctuary, the administration not only is preparing to meet them with force, it is apparently willing to choke commerce in so doing,” the state senator added.

But some other border residents say the Trump administration has the right to do what it needs to ensure America is only letting in immigrants who don’t pose a threat.

As she sat in Ciudad Juárez’s Mariachi Bar on Tuesday afternoon, Brianna Puckett, a 25-year-old American citizen, said she was worried she’d get trapped in cross-border gridlock on her way home to El Paso. But she said it’d be worth it.

“I think the U.S. is doing what it needs to do,” she said, conceding that her political opinions aren’t too popular in a part of Texas that regularly supports Democrats.

Puckett added that her Salvadoran grandmother is a legal immigrant to the U.S. Of the would-be asylum-seekers in the migrant caravan, she said, “I feel like there is a process, but a lot of people aren’t going through the process.”

Gracie Viramontes, a marketing specialist who was in downtown El Paso on Tuesday promoting the city’s upcoming Small Business Saturday, said she isn’t too worried about some delays on the bridges.

El Paso and Ciudad Juárez have withstood drug wars, divisive elections, peso devaluations and economic downturns, she said. The politics of the day doesn’t stand a chance against holiday traditions that have guided border communities for decades.

“You know what, we’re fronterizos, this is the way life is. Business will continue as usual,” she said. “Either way, family is family. If they have to wait 10 hours to [cross] and see their family, then they’re going to wait 10 hours.”

DOD Announces Units Deploying to Border; Ft. Bliss to Serve as ‘Base Support Installation’

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Co. – The Department of Homeland Security has requested the Department of Defense to provide a range of assistance, including planning, engineering, transportation, logistics and medical support to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. 

According to officials, this request for assistance will “enhance CBP’s ability to impede or deny illegal crossings and maintain situational awareness as it contributes to CBP’s overall border security mission.”

DOD forces in support of the DHS and CBP are under the command of U.S. Northern Command. The DHS support operations has been designated Operation Faithful Patriot.

The Secretary of Defense approved the following Title 10 (active-duty) forces and support in response to the DHS request.

• Military planning teams to coordinate operations, engineering, medical, and logistic support
• Helicopter companies to support the movement of CBP tactical personnel
• Engineer battalions to erect temporary vehicle barriers and fencing
• Deployable medical units to triage, treat and prepare for commercial transport of patients
• Temporary housing to support CBP and military personnel
• Light towers, barrier material, barbed and concertina wire, as well as cases of meals ready-to-eat

The following locations have been identified to serve as Base Support Installations (BSI). BSIs are DOD installations located near the operation area and serve as primary logistics hubs, during a response to a request for Defense Support to Civil Authorities.

Bases may be added or subtracted as operational planning continues.

• Arizona: Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Fort Huachuca
• California: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Naval Air Facility El Centro, Naval Base Coronado, Naval Base San Diego, Naval Base Point Loma
• Texas: Fort Bliss, Joint Base San Antonio, Naval Air Station Corpus Christi, Naval Operations Support Center Harlingen, Naval Air Station Kingsville,

The following military units have been identified to deploy to the southwest border in support of CBP.

The number of troops deployed will change each day as military forces flow into the operating area, but the initial estimate is that the DOD will have more than 7,000 troops supporting DHS across California, Arizona and Texas.

• Fort Bragg, North Carolina

o Headquarters & Headquarters Command, 3rd Expeditionary Sustainment Command
o 2nd Assault Helicopter Battalion, 82nd Airborne Division
o Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 16th Military Police Brigade
o 51st Medical Company, 28th Combat Support Hospital
o 172nd Preventive Medicine
o 264th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion
o 329th Movement Control Team
o 403rd Inland Cargo Transfer Company
o Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment, 503rd Military Police Battalion

• Fort Carson, Colorado

o Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division
o Headquarters & Headquarters Company, 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division

• Peterson Air Force, Colorado

o Joint Enabling Capability Team and Aviation Planner from U.S. Northern Command

• Scott Air Force Base, Illinois

o Joint Public Support Element – Public Affairs

• Fort Meade, Maryland

o 55th Signal Company (Combat Camera)

• Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia

o 3rd Combat Aviation Brigade Headquarters, 3rd Infantry Division
o 90th Human Resources Company, 3rd Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Sustainment Brigade

• Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston, Texas

o Defense Logistics Agency Contingency Contracting Team
o 4th Expeditionary Sustainment Command Assessment Team
o Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 505th Military Intelligence Brigade

• Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

o 5th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment, I Corps
o 87th Engineer Sapper Company, 555th Engineer Brigade

• Joint Base Charleston, South Carolina

o 1st Combat Camera Squadron

• Fort Bliss, Texas

o 24th Press Camp Headquarters, 1st Armored Division

• Fort Hood, Texas

o 89th Military Police Brigade, III Corps
o Headquarters, 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade
o 937th Engineer Sapper Company, 8th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade
o 104th Engineer Construction, 62nd Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade
o 289th Quartermaster Company, 553rd Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division Sustainment Brigade

• Fort Knox, Kentucky

o Headquarters & Headquarters Detachment, 19th Engineer Battalion, 20th Engineer Brigade
o 15th Engineer Company (Horizontal), 19th Engineer Battalion
o 541st Engineer Sapper Company, 19th Engineer Battalion

• Fort Campbell, Kentucky

o 887th Engineer Support Company, 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade
o 372nd Inland Cargo Transfer Company, 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade
o 74th Transportation Company, 129th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, 101st Airborne Division Sustainment Brigade

• Fort Riley, Kansas

o Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 97th Military Police Battalion, 1st Infantry Division
o 977th Military Police Company Combat Support
o 287th Military Police Company Combat Support
o 41st Engineer Company (Clearance), 4th Engineer Battalion, 36th Engineer Brigade

Author:  Tech. Sgt. Joe Laws – 

Department of Defense Says it’s Sending 5,200 Troops to U.S.-Mexico Border

At least 5,200 military troops will be deployed to the U.S. border with Mexico by the end of the week, Department of Homeland Security and Department of Defense officials confirmed Monday afternoon.

The troops are in addition to the 2,000 National Guard members who have been in place since April. They are being sent in response to the caravan of Central American migrants that are slowly making their way to the United States after crossing Mexico’s southern border earlier this month.

“Make no mistakes, as we sit right here today, we have 800 soldiers that are on their way to Texas right now,” said Air Force Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy, the chief of U.S. Northern Command, during a press conference.

O’Shaughnessy said that number could change, depending on whether the situation dictates a change in strategy. O’Shaughnessy foretold of an operation that is likely to be very different from the current National Guard activity, which mainly happens behind the scenes and assists federal Customs and Border Protection and Border Patrol agents.

In addition to the boots on the ground, the country’s military is also preparing to deploy three helicopter companies that can transport CBP officials in a moment’s notice. Mobile command and medical units are also at the ready, as is enough barbed wire to build up to 22 miles of makeshift barrier, with another 150 miles still available.

“We have combined command posts where our operational commanders will be working side by side to integrate our efforts and make,” O’Shaughnessy.

The military build-up, which was first reported by Reuters Monday morning, comes as President Donald Trump moves ahead with the notion that criminals and Middle Easterners have infiltrated the caravan, which started out with more than 7,000 migrants but has reduced in size this month. He has presented no evidence to support that claim.

The American Civil Liberties Union immediately blasted the move as nothing more than a costly and unnecessary political ploy.

“Sending active military forces to our southern border is not only a huge waste of taxpayer money, but an unnecessary course of action that will further terrorize and militarize our border communities,” Shaw Drake, the policy counsel for the ACLU Border Rights Center in El Paso, said in a statement. “ Military personnel are legally prohibited from engaging in immigration enforcement, and there is no emergency or cost-benefit analysis to justify this sudden deployment.”

Author: JULIÁN AGUILAR – The Texas Tribune

Cruz Suggests Mexico’s Election of “Far-Left Socialist” Lopéz Obrador Means U.S. Needs Border Wall

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said Tuesday that the election of a “far-left socialist” to the Mexican presidency underscores the need for President Donald Trump’s administration to secure the border and build a wall between the United States and its southern neighbor.

Cruz said Mexican President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador, 64, had been running on an “anti-American campaign for a long, long time.”

López Obrador earned more than 50 percent of the vote count Sunday, a landslide compared to Mexico’s historical election results. He ran on a populist agenda in which he promised to put Mexico’s interests ahead of those of foreign governments and investors, leading some to label the candidate as a socialist in the mold of other Latin American leaders.

While responding to an audience question at a campaign stop Tuesday in Waco, Cruz pondered the future of U.S.-Mexico relations if López Obrador, known as “AMLO” in Mexico, were to become the equivalent of former Cuban President Fidel Castro, Venezuelan strongman Nicolás Maduro or his predecessor, Hugo Chavez.

“It could really cause a problem in terms of our relationship with Mexico if he follows through on the anti-America rhetoric,” Cruz said. In addition to the wall, Cruz also repeated his call for the federal government to increase staffing and technology on the border with Mexico.

Cruz stressed, however, that he hoped López Obrador’s fiery rhetoric was limited to campaign-trail stumping and that it would not influence his foreign policy. But the senator said an area of highest concern was López Obrador’s take on immigration.

“One of the areas that could be particularly problematic is he urged Mexicans before the election, ‘Pack up and go up north to America.’ … I’m running in the state of Texas. How would it work if I stood up and said, ‘Elect me and then get the hell out of Texas!’?” Cruz said. “What a profound statement of giving up on your country, telling your citizens, ‘Flee our country because we’re not gonna solve the problem.'”

Claims that López Obrador called for mass migration to the United States during the campaign have been debunked. Instead, PolitiFact reported that López Obrador said his party would defend the rights of migrants who have, out of necessity, left their hometowns to find a better life in the United States.

“It is a human right that we are going to defend,” he said.

López Obrador, who ran unsuccessfully in 2006 and 2012, has reportedly taken a more moderate tone since his historic victory on Sunday, calling for friendship with the United States. Still, observers are waiting to see what happens during Mexico’s five-month-long transition period, during which the president-elect will likely lay out his policy proposals and Cabinet nominees — providing a better look into his administration’s agenda.

Read related Tribune coverage:


Japanese-Americans Imprisoned at Texas Internment Camp in 1940s Watch Border Crisis Unfold with Heavy Hearts

In the small South Texas town of Crystal City, little remains of the massive internment camp that was used to incarcerate thousands of people of Japanese and German ancestry in the 1940s.

But the memories of that imprisonment — and the enduring trauma that came with it — have stalked Hiroshi Shimizu since the day he left the camp in 1947.

“From the time I was born until I was almost five, all I had known was incarceration,” Shimizu said. “You carry that with you every day.”

As a humanitarian crisis has recently unfolded on the border where more than 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their parents after crossing into the country illegally, Shimizu and other Japanese-Americans who were imprisoned at the Crystal City internment camp have watched with heavy hearts, all too familiar with the toll that being confined can take on a child.

Bearing witness to the detention of young children has only been made more painful by the fact that the trauma they’ve been burdened with for most of their lives is now being inflicted on children who have no one to lean on.

“There’s a strong part of me that identifies with what’s happening today, except for the fact that I was never separated from my parents,” said Shimizu, who lives in the Bay Area. “It’s difficult to conceive of what’s going on …” he said, before choking up and letting his response linger in quiet sadness.

For months, the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy has led to the separation of thousands of migrant families who crossed the border together but were separated after the federal government began criminally prosecuting all adults who entered the country illegally. Because youths cannot be sent to jails, children — some of whom are reportedly just a few months old — have been taken from their parents and placed in federal custody.

Even now that President Donald Trump signed an executive order meant to halt the family separations that his administration’s policy caused, it remains unclear how or when families may be reunited — if they’re reunited at all.

For some Crystal City internees, the parallels that have emerged between today’s immigration crisis and the internment of Japanese-Americans are chilling.

Scores of Japanese-American families were torn apart in the 1940s when the federal government forcibly relocated and incarcerated citizens of Japanese ancestry and immigrants it considered “enemy aliens” in detention camps across the country following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor during World War II. In some cases, children were rounded up with no idea where they were going, how long they were going to be held or whether their parents had been deported to another country.

And as questions continue over how long the migrant families will be separated, some of the Japanese-Americans who were held at Crystal City have been left to agonize over whether the legacy of trauma that followed their mass incarceration — post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders — will be handed down to the children who have been detained away from their parents.

“The thought of being torn from their parents and being placed in a separate facility unknown miles away from where their mother is possibly being deported causes so much anxiety,” said Satsuki Ina, a therapist from the San Francisco area who was also held at Crystal City. “I think these children are being damaged.”

Like some of today’s detained children, Ina was separated from her father who was sent to a camp in North Dakota while she was held in Texas with her mother and brother from 1944 to 1946. Her reaction to her father’s return two years later was indicative of the trauma she had already suffered.

“I cried whenever he came close to me. I had no idea who he was,” Ina said. “Here was somebody who was a total stranger, and I was supposed to call him father.”

Her mother suffered from psychological trauma and dealt with back and kidney problems. She also carried a lifelong fear of being left behind — a level of anxiety that Ina says her mother transmitted to her after the family was released and lived in an “atmosphere of fragile safety.”

“I do have this constant state of vigilance and a constant need to prove myself,” she said. “We talk about how much we’re still in the camp.”

Created to incarcerate entire families, the living conditions in the Crystal City camp were better than at other internment camps across the nation. But the feeling of imprisonment was inescapable, with the facility’s 10-foot-high barbed wire fence and guard towers at each corner.

As the outcry over the current separation and detainment of children has grown across the country, federal officials have defended the conditions in which the children are being held once they make it to a shelter or foster home. They’ve offered up photos of tidy beds provided to the children and have pointed out that children are being educated and are allowed time to play.

“I heard that just yesterday they were saying they had good food and books and TV and all those kinds of things they were being taken care of very nicely, but they were confined and they were without their parents,” Shimizu said. “I don’t care how they try to paint that picture. It’s a horror.”

Many of Shimizus’ memories from the camp are tried to the strong relationships he had with his family and he remembers playing and exploring the grounds with other children, but even the fond memories are overridden by the shadow of incarceration.

“We were inside these fences,” he said. “We couldn’t go beyond.”

The Shimizu family was imprisoned at an internment camp Crystal City, Texas until September 1947. Courtesy Hiroshi Shimizu

“Imprisoning these children,” even if they’re allowed to “play games and watch Moana,” is additionally troubling to Ina, who, given her work as a therapist, is well aware of the severe effects living in a state of fear and terror can have on the developing brain of a child. That sort of irreparable harm is only intensified if children are detained without their parents, who can at least provide some comfort, she added.

The experiences of the Crystal City internees also serve as examples of how the lasting trauma of detention can be inherited by even the youngest of migrant children who are currently detained.

Born in the Crystal City camp in 1945, Larry Oda says he has no memories of being at the camp because his family was released about a year later. But he grew up hearing from his parents about what it was like to lose everything, and he remembers the reactions of others when the painful memories of being rounded up are relived. That’s left him to carry the weight of his family’s detention his entire life, constantly living in fear of being blamed for something he didn’t do.

“We were imprisoned for the way we looked. There was no reason,” said Oda, who lives in Monterey, California. “So I felt that I had to make sure I did everything right, that I didn’t make waves. Otherwise, I would be targeted again.”

The fate of today’s separated families is unknown, and there appears to be no guarantee that every family will be reunited. Some children have been placed in state-licensed facilities, many of which have a long history of regulatory inspections that have uncovered serious health and safety deficiencies. Others have since been moved to foster homes. An untold number of children are now hundreds if not thousands of miles away from where their parents are being detained. Some parents have even been deported without their children.

Even if a clear path for reunification was in place, some of the Crystal City internees struggle with the reality that the detained migrant children might not overcome the scars they now share.

For Shimizu’s family, life after the internment camp meant a return to San Francisco. His family had lost everything during their imprisonment, but his father, who worked for a Japanese-American newspaper before the war, put everything he had into starting over. He helped start up another local newspaper that was tailored for Japanese-Americans, and he served as the editor of the Chinese section. Three years before he died, he had become the president of the company that owned the paper.

But Shimizu knows that the prospect of recovery may not be available to all of the migrant children who have been so deeply traumatized by the separations from their parents.

“I can’t really imagine the process you would have to go through to become whole — they’ve just been so injured,” Shimizu said. “The longer this goes on, the harder the journey will be for them.”

Author:  ALEXA URA – The Texas Tribune

El Paso Border Patrol Sector Kicks Off Construction of Trump’s Wall on Border

SANTA TERESA, N.M. — A groundbreaking Monday for a new border barrier in New Mexico signals the beginning of the fulfillment of President Donald Trump’s best-known campaign promise, federal officials said.

“The president has started his project,” Agent Aaron A. Hull, chief of the U.S. Border Patrol’s El Paso sector, said as he stood a few feet from the existing fence that will be replaced by the new barrier. “This is the beginning, in this sector, of the president’s border wall – very much so.”

The project will include 20 miles of new bollard-style wall up to 30 feet tall, including five feet of climb-resistant material, Hull said. The new barrier will extend west from Santa Teresa, New Mexico — a town located about 13 miles northwest of El Paso — and will replace shorter vehicle barriers, which agents said are not effective to deter illegal crossers or drug smuggling.

Agents in the sector, which includes El Paso and Hudpseth counties in Texas and all of New Mexico, said new construction will also begin soon in parts of Texas’ Rio Grande Valley, Arizona and San Diego.

Hull said the new construction was mandated by the president’s January 2017 executive order on immigration and will take about a year to complete. The 20 miles of barrier will cost more than $73 million, which will come from 2017 Department of Homeland Security funding.

Hull said the Santa Teresa area was chosen for the initial groundbreaking because it’s one of the busiest crossing points in the sector. In fiscal year 2017, agents apprehended more than 25,000 undocumented immigrants and seized more than 34,000 pounds of marijuana and 140 pounds of cocaine throughout the sector. Agents also reported being assaulted 54 times during that fiscal year.

“The president has set the standard for us. And the standard is operational control,” Hull said. “Operational control means our ability to detect, deter and deny illegal entry, maintain situational awareness and provide the appropriate law enforcement response.”

Hull also told reporters that he and his agents met with units of the National Guard that will be deployed to the border. Trump ordered National Guard units to reinforce the Border Patrol last week.

“We’re nowhere near deploying yet but we have conducted initial outreach with both the New Mexico National Guard and the Texas National Guard,” he said.

Monday’s press event came the same day that an environmental group announced they are appealing a federal district court’s ruling that allowed the administration to move forward with border wall construction. The Center for Biological Diversity sued the administration last year, alleging the Department of Homeland Security illegally waived several environmental laws in order to fast-track the wall’s construction.

“Converting existing vehicle barriers to border wall is wasteful, unnecessary, and just as damaging as building a new border wall,” said Randy Serraglio, a conservation advocate at the Center. “This newest section of border wall is an insult to people living on both sides of the border and a serious threat to Mexican wolves and other wildlife that need to move across the landscape to survive.”

Federal District Judge Gonzalo Curiel ruled in favor of the administration in March.

Read related Tribune coverage:

Author:  JULIÁN AGUILAR – The Texas Tribune

Senator Cornyn: Statement on the Administration’s National Guard Announcement

AUSTIN–U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) released the following statement regarding the Trump Administration’s announcement that he will authorize Governors to deploy the National Guard to help support law enforcement along the southern border of the United States:

“Utilizing the men and women of the National Guard in a supportive role, as President Obama authorized in 2010, is a commonsense way to temporarily assist law enforcement along the border.

It’s critical that the Administration continue to work in close consultation with state and community leaders to ensure the border region can remain safe and prosperous.”


In 2010, President Obama ordered the deployment of 1,200 National Guard troops to the U.S.-Mexico border as a part of Operation Phalanx, a response to increased violence in the region from Mexican drug cartels and illegal crossings.

Senator Cornyn has introduced the Building America’s Trust Act, border security legislation to increase law enforcement resources at our borders, boost trade through ports of entry, and strengthen enforcement of existing laws. The legislation provides both the resources and the plan needed to ensure our law enforcement combatting the flow of illegal immigration and goods have the tools they need to secure our border.

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

Texas State Senator Rodríguez: Statement Against Border Militarization

The following is State Sen. José Rodríguez’s statement on President Trump’s proposal to militarize the southern border:

The President and other Republicans have manipulated the fears of Americans, many of whom know very little about life on the border, into a potent political weapon. In his latest anti-immigrant action, Mr. Trump proposes to use the U.S. military as actors and the border as a stage to create electoral theatre in hopes of appeasing his political base. Mr. Trump is responding to a caravan of women, children, and elderly seeking refuge from violence in Central America that is working through Mexico to raise awareness of their plight. This is morally reprehensible.

We are not Russia or any other totalitarian country that uses our military domestically, against our own residents. By assigning the military to enforce domestic civil laws on immigration — something not previously done — he is sending a message to the world that America is no longer a beacon of hope to those in need or even a free society.

Border communities do not want the military patrolling their backyards; no American community does. In May 1997, Ezequiel Hernandez, an 18-year-old high school student, was tracked by soldiers for 20 minutes before being shot and killed while tending his family’s goats in Redford, Texas. That tragedy occurred in my district, Texas Senate District 29, which has about 350 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. The border has been secured; in fact, apprehensions on the border are at their lowest since 1971. Meanwhile, the movement of millions of residents and billions of dollars in commerce is clogged at understaffed ports of entry. That is where our focus and investment should be — not on using the military as puppets for election year antics.

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