The latest arrest numbers don’t tell the whole story. As the crisis deepens, the U.S.-Mexico border is becoming increasingly volatile and dangerous.
The big border headline this week was that U.S. authorities arrested or turned away more than 144,000 people at the southwest border in May, including more than 100,000 family units and children, far exceeding previous monthly totals this year and putting us on pace for illegal immigration levels not seen in 13 years. The U.S. Border Patrol apprehended on average 4,200 people a day last month and now has more than 19,000 people in custody.
These numbers tell us the migrant crisis is deepening, despite efforts by the Trump administration and the Mexican government to contain it. But beyond the numbers is something yet more disturbing, a reality not often reflected in media coverage of the crisis: the border itself is spinning out of control.
For one thing, it has become an incredibly dangerous place for migrants. In just the past week, two migrants died shortly after being taken into U.S. custody: a 33-year-old Salvadoran man, who had a seizure within minutes of his arrest, and a 40-year-old Honduran woman, who collapsed less than a half-hour after crossing the border. Last Saturday, a transgender woman from El Salvador died four days after being released from U.S. custody. Two weeks ago, a Guatemalan teenager died at a Border Patrol station from what appears to be influenza.
Many others have died, or nearly so, trying to cross the border. Last month, an infant drowned in the Rio Grande when a raft carrying migrants capsized. On Thursday, a Guatemalan woman died in the Arizona desert after falling ill and being left behind by the group she was traveling with. On Wednesday, Border Patrol agents resuscitated a six-month-old boy after rescuing him and his mother from the river. A week ago, agents rescued a double amputee and a paraplegic after smugglers on the Mexican side threw them into the water.
As a result of migrant caravans originating in Central America, large groups continue to show up on the border. In the past eight months, Border Patrol has encountered more than 180 groups of 100 people or more, up from 13 last year and just two the year before that. The largest group, which crossed the border in downtown El Paso, was more than 1,000 people. More than 2,200 people were arrested in El Paso on Memorial Day, including a group of 430.
The borderlands have always been a hotbed of brazen criminality, but federal authorities say the volume of people now coming across illegally is sapping its ability to combat ongoing drug and human trafficking operations, which continue apace. Two weeks ago, U.S. authorities in Arizona tracked and seized an ultralight aircraftcarrying a half-million dollars’ worth of meth and fentanyl. Agents continue to find smuggling tunnels up and down the border. On Monday, a 23-year-old man, a U.S. citizen, was killed in a firefight at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in California. Afterward, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers found two Chinese nationals hidden in the man’s truck.
As the situation deteriorates, Mexico has suddenly sprung into action—mostly with what amounts to window dressing. In response to President Trump’s threat to impose punitive tariffs on Mexican imports if the government doesn’t do more to prevent illegal immigration, Mexico has ordered 6,000 National Guard troops to its southern border with Guatemala, promising it will quickly reduce the numbers of Central Americans crossing that porous border (it won’t). Mexican authorities also arrested two organizers of a controversial activist group that’s been behind several large caravans, and on Wednesday apprehended a group of 1,000 migrants in southern Mexico who said they were headed to the United States to claim asylum.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan was in Guatemala last week working out a plan to assist in the tracking and interdiction of smuggling networks in that country. Dozens of DHS agents and investigators have been dispatched to Guatemala for this purpose, and according to one news report, Guatemala’s ambassador to the United States recently told a Democratic member of Congress that his country would welcome U.S. troops to help secure the northern border.
It’s hard to say where all this is leading. Mexican and American officials say they are nearing an agreement that would deport Guatemalan asylum-seekers who enter the United States to Mexico, and send Honduran and Salvadoran migrants to Guatemala, but it’s unclear if such a scheme would satisfy Trump, or survive a challenge in the courts.
What’s clear, for now, is that the crisis is entering a new and uncertain phase. As pressure mounts to do something about the sharp spike in illegal immigration, and Mexico puts pressure on criminal smuggling networks and cartels that are profiting off the crisis, we should expect more confrontation at the border and throughout Mexico, and, for those trying to get into the United States more danger and uncertainty.
by Adam Kredo • Washington Free Beacon
An Iranian citizen identified as a senior member of the country’s Basij military force was caught trying to enter the United States posing as a cancer researcher, according to multiple sources familiar with the situation who told the Washington Free Beacon that the Trump administration should begin investigating how the individual was granted a U.S. visa in the first place.
Seyed Mohsen Dehnavi, who has been identified as a member of Iran’s highly vetted volunteer Basij force, was turned away from entering the United States at Boston’s Logan Airport.
Sources familiar with the situation said that Dehnavi is billing himself as a medical researcher and was to assume residency at a Boston-based hospital. He was detained earlier this week at Logan Airport along with his family and later sent back to Iran. Continue reading
by Elizabeth Harrington • Washington Free Beacon
Immigrations and Custom Enforcement cannot account for all visa overstays due to inefficiencies in the agency, according to a new report.
ICE arrested just 0.4 percent of visa overstays it could account for, according to an audit by the inspector general.
The agency has 27 different databases used to investigate and track immigrants who remain in the country past the deadline issued on their temporary visas. The lack of a cohesive system has “produced numerous inefficiencies,” making ICE ineffective at catching visa overstays who may pose security risks, according to the audit.
“Department of Homeland Security IT systems did not effectively support ICE visa tracking operations,” the inspector general said. Continue reading
by Blake Neff • The Daily Caller
The inaccurate term, first noted by Campus Reform, is promoted by the school’s “Inclusive Language Campaign,” which is throwing up posters around campus to encourage the use of friendlier language.
UMD’s Multicultural Involvement and Community Advocacy office, an official organ of the university, is running the campaign. The posters tell students that “words have power” and people should be cautious, lest they offend people with the terms they use. Continue reading
An operative working for Islamic State has revealed the terror group has successfully smuggled thousands of covert jihadists into Europe.
By Aaron Brown • Express
“Just wait,” he smiled.
The Islamic State operative spoke exclusively to BuzzFeed on the condition of anonymity and is believed to be the first to confirm plans to infiltrate western countries.
Islamic State, also referred to as IS and ISIS, is believed to be actively smuggling deadly gunmen across the sparsely-guarded 565-mile Turkish border and on to richer European nations, he revealed. Continue reading
By Noe Leiva • Yahoo
Honduran authorities have arrested five Syrians intending to make it to the United States with stolen Greek passports, triggering alarm Wednesday in the wake of the Paris attacks launched by Syria-linked jihadists.
The Syrians were arrested on Tuesday as they flew into Toncontin airport serving the Honduran capital and failed to make it past airport security checks, a police spokesman, Anibal Baca, told reporters.
“Five Syrian citizens have been detained and will be taken to our offices to be investigated because it is suspected they are carrying false documents, passports stolen in Greece,” Baca said. Continue reading
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has confirmed that eight Syrians were taken into custody at the Laredo port of entry.
by Brandon Darby & Ildefonso Ortiz • Breitbart
Two federal agents operating under the umbrella of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) are claiming that eight Syrian illegal aliens attempted to enter Texas from Mexico in the Laredo Sector. The federal agents spoke with Breitbart Texas on the condition of anonymity, however, a local president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) confirmed that Laredo Border Patrol agents have been officially contacting the organization with concerns over reports from other federal agents about Syrians illegally entering the country in the Laredo Sector. The reports have caused a stir among the sector’s Border Patrol agents.
The sources claimed that eight Syrians were apprehended on Monday, November 16, 2015. According to the sources, the Syrians were in two separate “family units” and were apprehended at the Juarez Lincoln Bridge in Laredo, Texas, also known officially as Port of Entry 1.
Border Patrol agent and NBPC Local 2455 President Hector Garza told Breitbart Texas, “Border Patrol agents who we represent have been contacting our organization to voice concerns about reports from other agents that Syrians crossed the U.S. border from Mexico in the Laredo Sector. Our agents have heard about Syrians being apprehended in the area from other federal agents.” Agent Garza added, “At this time, I cannot confirm or deny that Syrians have crossed, for security reasons.”
Agent Garza further stated that in matters as sensitive as Syrians crossing the border from Mexico, it would be highly unlikely that federal agencies would publicize it or inform a broad group of law enforcement. He did say that Local 2455 is taking the reports seriously and that they “will be issuing an officer safety bulletin advising Border Patrol agents to exercise extra precautions as they patrol the border.”
Breitbart Texas can confirm that a Syrian did attempt to enter the U.S. illegally through Texas in late September. The Syrian was caught using a passport that belonged to someone else and U.S. authorities decided against prosecuting anyone involved due to “circumstances.”
by Terry Eastland • The Weekly Standard
With his aggressive executive action on immigration, President Obama has struck a constitutional nerve in the body politic. The first lawsuit challenging the president’s action was filed last week by a coalition of 18 states led by Texas. Oklahoma is about to file, and other states may do so as well.
As for the two houses of Congress, House Judiciary Committee chairman Robert Goodlatte told The Weekly Standard that the House “should litigate the issue.” Probably a majority of his colleagues agree. Goodlatte expects that soon after the new Congress is sworn in, the House will authorize the filing of a complaint that the new Republican Senate will then vote to join. Continue reading
Many people in Washington seem to be talking about the prospect of the president unilaterally legalizing the status of several million people who entered the country illegally as though it were just another political question. But if reports about the nature of the executive action he is contemplating are right, it would be by far the most blatant and explosive provocation in the administration’s assault on the separation of powers, and could well be the most extreme act of executive overreach ever attempted by an American president in peacetime.
I am more open to some form of amnesty than most people around here, I suspect, though the form I could support (as part of a deal that included more serious border control and visa enforcement) would involve legalization short of full citizenship, for reasons well articulated by Peter Skerry here. But the question of how to address the complicated problem of the status of the more than 10 million people who are in our country without legal authorization is a matter for the political system as a whole to address. Continue reading
Nearly a year before President Obama declared a humanitarian crisis on the border, a team of experts arrived at the Fort Brown patrol station in Brownsville, Tex., and discovered a makeshift transportation depot for a deluge of foreign children.
Thirty Border Patrol agents were assigned in August 2013 to drive the children to off-site showers, wash their clothes and make them sandwiches. As soon as those children were placed in temporary shelters, more arrived. An average of 66 were apprehended each day on the border and more than 24,000 cycled through Texas patrol stations in 2013. In a 41-page report to the Department of Homeland Security, the team from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) raised alarms about the federal government’s capacity to manage a situation that was expected to grow worse. Continue reading
Texas Senator Ted Cruz appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace to discuss his proposal to solve the border crisis. The interview took place shortly after we learned the U.S. Border Patrol was under heavy fire from 50.-caliber weapons fired by Mexican cartels.
“What I want to do is solve the crisis,” Cruz told Wallace. “I agree with the president in one respect. We are seeing a humanitarian crisis. We’re seeing tens of thousands of young children coming in illegally, being brutalized, being mistreated by global transnational drug cartels.” Continue reading
If the president came to see the disastrous effects of Washington’s policy in person, he might want to act.
In 2012, I alerted the federal government to the growing problem of unaccompanied minors making the treacherous journey across Mexico to reach the United States. At that point the minors could annually be numbered in the hundreds or thousands.
In recent months, tens of thousands of children have come across the border and are now housed in federal facilities across the U.S., the result of failed federal policies and Washington’s indifference to securing the border. Continue reading