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
From immigration to abortion to the power of unions, the Supreme Court is entering this election year with a full plate of politically charged cases.
by Sam Baker • NationalJournal
The Court hasn’t officially agreed to hear this one yet, but most experts think it will—and that a decision will come by the end of June. That’s certainly the Obama administration’s hope; winning at the Supreme Court is the only way Obama will be able to implement his Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents program, or DAPA, which would allow some 4.3 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the country.
A ruling for the Obama administration would allow DAPA to take effect—and Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton has said she would stretch the policy even further. A loss for the administration, on the other hand, would vindicate Republican criticisms that DAPA went too far, and would give a Republican president a way out of the program without rolling back any legal protections himself. Continue reading
Dozens of alleged refugees have entered Germany on fake Syrian passports, which were produced using technology similar to that used to forge documents for some of the perpetrators of the Paris attacks, the German Bild newspaper reported Tuesday, citing government sources.
Last week, two French citizens posing as refugees were arrested in Austria on suspicion of having links to the November 13 Paris terror attacks. The suspects, of Algerian and Pakistani descent, were allegedly using fake Syrian passports and are believed to have entered Austria with some of the Paris attackers in October. Individuals posing as refugees entered Germany using passports made by the same means as those found on the suspects arrested in Austria.
“They contain the same features of forgery,” one of the sources told the German media outlet.
Stolen genuine documents were so intricately altered by counterfeiters that the forgery was not detected immediately, meaning those who entered the country on fake passports have not yet been found, according to the newspaper. Continue reading
By Nayla Rush • Center for Immigration Studies
I attended USCIS’s Asylum Division Quarterly Stakeholder Meeting last week. It was led by John Lafferty, chief of the Asylum Division. Those present were, for the most part, USCIS staff and immigration lawyers in charge of representing asylum seekers and refugees.
Here are a few things I learned:
The Asylum Division suffers from a high staff turnover. Loss of trained staff means recruiting and training others to do the job. It is also understaffed. Officers have a hard time meeting quotas set by the president.
In 2000, there were only 5,000 asylum cases and no backlog. There are now 120,000 cases, hence the backlog. Continue reading
The refugee crisis exists because America has indulged foolish foreign policies. To get out of this mess will require wisdom, not more of the same.
by Luma Simms • The Federalist
I was neither born nor bred in this country. I don’t have Ivy League credentials. Unlike elitists and pundits informed as much by cocktail parties as they are by polls and studies, I’m informed by blood, kin, and culture.
I was born in Baghdad to Christian parents who emigrated the old-fashioned way—legally—and for an old-fashioned reason: The treatment of Christians, like my family, by Muslims in the surrounding culture.
I cry at the “Star Spangled Banner,” and I cry when my naturalized home wages war against my birth home. I am an American. I am also Iraqi, and a Moslawii down to my dialect and my cooking. Continue reading
By Patrick Goodenough • CNSNews.com
Since the Paris terror attacks on November 13, the State Department has admitted 132 Syrian refugees into the United States, and all 132 are Sunni Muslims.
No Christian, Druze, Shi’ite, Alawite, or member of any other religious minority in Syria has been admitted over that period, according to data from the State Department Refugee Processing Center.
The majority of the 132 Syrian refugees permitted to resettle in the U.S. since November 13 (72) are male, the minority female (60). Of the 132 total, 39 (29.5 percent) have been men between the ages of 14 and 50. Continue reading
by Mac Thornberry • RealClearPolitics
The ISIS attack on Paris has been a wake-up call for the world. A network of terrorists exploited weaknesses in Western intelligence networks, border controls, and law enforcement to savagely attack soft targets and inflict devastating casualties. To protect America, Congress has rightly acted on one of these weaknesses and strengthened the screening of Syrian refugees. Paris has more lessons to teach. Increased vetting of refugees is a good first step, but to stop an attack in the United States there are other lessons we must learn, and learn quickly.
First, there are many avenues by which ISIS operatives can come from their training grounds across the globe, including Iraq and Syria, to carry out attacks against the West. Approximately, 30,000 individuals have traveled from other countries to join ISIS, with as many as 5,000 of them from Europe and the United States. Those from Europe do not need a visa to enter the United States, and our northern and southern borders may be a route fighters use to enter the United States. Continue reading
by Tim Kane • National Review
Understand that the debate about Syrian refugees in the United States is a political sideshow. It has nothing to do with ending the crisis in Syria itself, nothing to do with helping France and Lebanon fight Jihadi terror, and nothing to do with xenophobia. Should the United States offer refuge to Syrians fleeing the war? Absolutely. But let’s get some perspective.
First, the terror attacks in Paris (and Beirut) represent a global war on Western civilization, not on all humanity. Second, one study found that 13 percent of Syrian refugees have a positive view of ISIS. That fact should chill you. Third, there should be no doubt that ISIS is using the refugee crisis to infiltrate the West (including our allies, France, Germany, and Turkey). That explains fact number four: 53 percent of Americans are opposed to accepting any Syrian refugees here. This is a commonsense response, even if you and I believe it is incorrect. It is shameful for politicians to call this a racist reaction, which is the lowest, commonest trick in the Left’s political playbook. Continue reading
Although the Obama administration currently refuses to temporarily pause its Syrian refugee resettlement program in the United States, the State Department in 2011 stopped processing Iraq refugee requests for six months after the Federal Bureau of Investigation uncovered evidence that several dozen terrorists from Iraq had infiltrated the United States via the refugee program.
After two terrorists were discovered in Bowling Green, Kentucky, in 2009, the FBI began reviewing reams of evidence taken from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that had been used against American troops in Iraq. Federal investigators then tried to match fingerprints from those bombs to the fingerprints of individuals who had recently entered the United States as refugees: Continue reading
But now he says it would be “un-American.”
by Hannity.com Staff
President Obama has offered some heated rhetoric in response to suggestions that the U.S. might want to reconsider it’s policy as it concerns accepting refugees from Syria. The president has called Republican plans to put a hold on accepting Syrian refugees a “potent recruitment tool” for ISIS and “un-American.”
Just today, the President tweeted out:
Slamming the door in the face of refugees would betray our deepest values. That’s not who we are. And it’s not what we’re going to do.
by Ian Hanchett • Breitbart
Representative Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) argued “we need to temporarily suspend this visa waiver program” between the US and Europe because “it could just be a matter of hours, before someone travels through these different borders, someone who’s become a foreign fighter, who’s been fighting in Syria, and ends up here on the United States soil” on Monday’s broadcast of CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
Gabbard said, “I think as we watch this manhunt going on across Europe, I’m reminded of a vulnerability and a weakness that must be addressed. We’ve got a visa waiver program that really does not address the vulnerability of the open and porous borders between Syria and Turkey, and that — we’ve seen already how many foreign fighters from across Europe are able to travel through those borders, and are not being tracked and are not being — they’re not able to be addressed going through that. So, we need to temporarily suspend this visa waiver program until the intelligence community gets a handle on this, and exactly how large it is, and what’s going on.” Continue reading
Even Nancy Pelosi isn’t pressuring House Democrats to fall in lock-step with her precious Barack.
According to this, Democrats from the House of Representatives met with the Department of Homeland Security to discuss how DHS was planning to screen Syrian refugees who are coming into the United States. This was in preparation for a vote over a bill introduced in the House that would limit the number of refugees the U.S. takes in and even possibly pause the refugee program for a time. To make a long story short, it didn’t go so well – Continue reading
How nearly seventy ISIS operatives have been arrested in America in the last 18 months — including refugees who had been given safe haven, but ‘turned to terror’
• Federal and local law enforcement agencies have made dozens of arrests of men and women suspected of ISIS involvement
• Analysis shows that they include refugees who entered the United States as refugees
• Increasing pressure from Republicans not to accept refugees from Syria on scale demanded by White House
• Ted Cruz plans to introduce legislation forbidding refugee status to Syrian Muslims and moves also under way to defund settling refugees
By Ben Ashford • Dailymail.com
The terror group has set its sights on Washington, D.C. as it vows to further infiltrate the West and ramp up its blood-soaked offensive.
President Obama insists that ‘slamming the door’ on Syrian refugees fleeing ISIS would be a betrayal of American values. Continue reading