Showing posts with label Border Patrol. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Border Patrol. Show all posts

March 29, 2019

A Secret at The Border in Arizona; A Border Officer is Undocumented


Marco A. De La Garza Jr. spent nearly six years as a federal officer with Customs and Border Protection, working on the front lines of America’s southern border in Arizona and doing his best to keep undocumented immigrants out of the United States.

A Navy veteran, he was known for going the extra mile: One day, while off duty, he rushed out of a barbecue at his in-laws’ house in Sierra Vista, Ariz., when he spotted an undocumented man being chased by the Border Patrol. He tackled the runner and held him until the agents caught up.

Few knew Mr. De La Garza’s secret: He was undocumented, too.

The nation’s main border protection agency had hired an unauthorized immigrant to police the border — one of at least four cases of undocumented workers revealed to be working at federal immigration agencies in recent years. 

Mr. De La Garza, 38, was born in Mexico, and had lied about his citizenship status and supplied his employer with a fraudulent Texas birth certificate that falsely said he was born in Brownsville, Tex.

“In retrospect, I fully understand now that I was being selfish in my desire to serve my country that I had so loved,” he wrote after he was indicted by a federal grand jury on three counts of passport fraud and making false statements on his application for a federal law enforcement background check.

Mr. De La Garza agreed to plead guilty to one count of passport fraud, and the other two counts were dropped. On Thursday he was sentenced in Federal District Court in Tucson to one year of probation and a $1,000 fine. Judge Raner C. Collins said his service to the country “ought to count for something.”

Before the brief hearing, Mr. De La Garza was surrounded by friends and relatives, including his two daughters, aged 2 and 4, who are United States citizens. He stood quietly before the judge dressed in a black suit.

The Trump administration has pushed employers to stop hiring undocumented workers, urging the use of electronic verification tools and document checks and conducting hundreds of workplace raids to arrest and deport unauthorized immigrants. The fact that one was working in its own federal ranks shows the difficulty of ascertaining work status in a nation where the labor of immigrants is considered crucial in many industries. There are an estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants in the country. 

Federal authorities also must field a work force that by design reflects the heavily Hispanic communities across the Southwest they are expected to police. Agents sometimes have relatives, friends and neighbors whom they know or suspect are undocumented. In South Texas, one of the most heavily traveled migrant corridors in the country, Border Patrol agents or their spouses have sometimes hired undocumented housekeepers, as do many of their neighbors.

Mr. De La Garza’s deception was unusual for Customs and Border Protection, the largest law enforcement agency in the country, with nearly twice the staff of the F.B.I. Yet it was not unprecedented. There have been at least three other cases of undocumented people working as Customs officers or Border Patrol agents who were prosecuted in federal court in recent years.

One of those cases involved Oscar Antonio Ortiz, a Border Patrol agent in the San Diego area, who first applied for work in the weeks after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Like Mr. De La Garza, Mr. Ortiz was a Mexican citizen with a fraudulent birth certificate who had also served in the Navy. But once he was hired by Border Patrol, Mr. Ortiz got involved, along with another agent, in human smuggling: transporting migrants for money into the United States, sometimes in their Border Patrol vehicles, according to court documents. Mr. Ortiz, who had been assigned to the Border Patrol station in El Cajon, Calif., was sentenced in 2006 to five years in prison.

Mr. Ortiz was later deported and now lives in Mexico. His lawyer, Stephen P. White, said his client had believed, like Mr. De La Garza, that he was born in the United States, based on what his parents told him and the fraudulent birth certificate they had provided him.

A photo of Marco De La Garza submitted as part of a court filing.

 A photo of Marco De La Garza submitted as part of a court filing.
“He got security clearances, background checks multiple times and was as surprised as anybody else to find out that he wasn’t a U.S. citizen when he got arrested on the alien smuggling charge,” Mr. White said.

Mr. De La Garza worked at the port of entry in Douglas, Ariz., about 120 miles southeast of Tucson. He lived with his wife and children about 40 miles west of Douglas in the town of Hereford, and appeared to relish his job, filling his home with mugs, clocks and other trinkets bearing Customs or Navy logos.
He was born in Matamoros, Mexico, and lived for most of his childhood in Mexico with his mother, moving to the South Texas city of Brownsville as a teenager. In 2003, at the age of 23, he enlisted in the Navy and served on the U.S.S. Greeneville, a nuclear submarine. He received an honorable discharge in 2008, and went to work for Customs and Border Protection in 2012, earning a spot as a squad leader at the agency’s basic training academy in Georgia.

The authorities appeared to first learn that Mr. De La Garza was actually a Mexican citizen around the time he applied for a United States passport in 2017.

Mr. De La Garza wrote in a letter he submitted to Judge Collins that he had believed in his youth that he was American.

“Growing up, my parents told me that I was a U.S. citizen, and my whole childhood I was led to believe this was true,” he wrote. “Because of that, I grew up thinking I would do my duty one day and join the U.S. military.”

Both of his parents tried to discourage that idea, and when, as a teenager in Mexico, he asked for his birth certificate, he was told the truth. His mother, he wrote, “told me that I had been lied to my whole life and I was and had been all along, a Mexican citizen. I refused to believe that to be the truth, and still came to America with my U.S. birth certificate that she had given me.”

The birth certificate was a legitimate government-issued document that was based on fraudulent information. Prosecutors said that it listed Brownsville as his place of birth in December 1980. In reality, he was born in Mexico in October 1980.

The midwife listed on the Texas birth record was convicted in 1984 of conspiracy to make false statements on birth certificates, prosecutors said. 

Nonetheless, Mr. De La Garza used that birth certificate to claim American citizenship, including for his five-year background check for Customs and Border Protection in October 2016 and on his passport application in October 2017.

Citing his lack of any criminal history, federal probation officials recommended to the court that he serve one year of probation with no prison time. Mr. De La Garza told the judge in his letter that he hoped to one day legalize his immigration status, and his lawyer, Matthew H. Green, said that under the Immigration and Nationality Act, he was eligible as a veteran to apply for citizenship one year after the date of his criminal conviction.

But it remains unclear whether Mr. De La Garza will be allowed to remain in the United States. He faces the possibility of being deported, but Mr. Green said that he had been told that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials decided against removal proceedings.

“That’s what we have to look forward to at this point, applying for naturalization in a year,” he said.

In a letter to the court, Mr. Green said his client had one hope: “Mr. De La Garza and his family ask only one thing from the United States — they ask for a second chance.”
Rebekah Zemansky contributed reporting.

November 27, 2018

See How They Run See How They Choke See The Children Cry Mr.Trump, Feeling Safer?

A migrant girl from Honduras, part of a caravan of thousands traveling from Central America, cries after running away from tear gas thrown by U.S. border agents. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)
A little girl from Honduras stares into the camera, her young features contorted in anguish. She’s barefoot, dusty, and clad only in a diaper and T-shirt. And she’s just had to run from clouds of choking tear gas fired across the border by U.S. agents.
A second photograph, which also circulated widely and rapidly on social media, shows an equally anguished woman frantically trying to drag the same child and a second toddler away from the gas as it spreads.
The three were part of a much larger group, perhaps 70 or 80 men, women and children, pictured in a wider-angle photo fleeing the tear gas. Reuters photographer Kim Kyung-Hoon shot the images, which provoked outrage and seemed at odds with President Trump’s portrayal of the caravan migrants as “criminals” and “gang members.”
Trump officials said that authorities had to respond with force after hundreds of migrants rushed the border near Tijuana on Sunday, some of them throwing “projectiles” at Customs and Border Protection personnel.
Migrant caravan crisis escalates with tear gas at border fence
U.S. authorities fired tear gas at members of a Central American migrant caravan who had rushed the fencing along the U.S. border with Mexico on Nov. 25. 
The chaos erupted Sunday around the bustling San Ysidro border crossing, which Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen said was closed “to ensure public safety in response to large numbers of migrants seeking to enter the U.S. illegally.” But Democratic leaders, human rights advocates, and others focused on the images of the two children in particular. Many pointed to the children left gagging from the gas attack as evidence that Trump’s push against a caravan of asylum seekers from Central America had gone too far.
“Shooting tear gas at children is not who we are as Americans,” tweeted Tom Perez, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. “Seeking asylum is not a crime. We must be better than this.”
Gavin Newsom, the Democratic governor-elect of California, argued that images of kids sprinting from tear gas run counter to American ideals.
“These children are barefoot. In diapers. Choking on tear gas,” he tweeted. “Women and children who left their lives behind — seeking peace and asylum — were met with violence and fear. That’s not my America. We’re a land of refuge. Of hope. Of freedom. And we will not stand for this.” 
Others, such as Democratic Rep.-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, noted that the families at the border crossing were fleeing violent conditions in Central America and had the right to seek asylum.
Unlike the relatively bipartisan criticism of Trump’s now-abandoned family-separation method of deterring migrants, the initial outrage at the tear-gassing of children appeared to come primarily from Democrats and critics of the president.
Some on the right expressed the view that the migrants could avoid getting tear-gassed by not hurling projectiles or by not attempting to cross the border “illegally.”
Trump’s response in an early-morning tweet on Monday was to call for Mexico to return the migrants to their home countries, and to again threaten to “close the border permanently.”
That’s never been done, and experts interviewed by The Washington Post on Sunday night knew of no provision explicitly allowing Trump to permanently close the borders. Most of the border, with the exception of designated crossings, is already closed, which doesn’t stop migrants from entering. 
So it probably would not solve Trump’s problems with asylum seekers, who, by law, must be allowed to present their claims if in fact they are able to cross the border anywhere.
“This is yet another of several Trump attempts to change what he disparagingly calls the policy of ‘catch and release’ without or against legal authority,” said Yale Law School’s Harold Hongju Koh, legal adviser to the State Department during the Obama administration. “All have been blocked. What he does not understand,” Koh said in an email, “is that everyone crossing our Southern border is not illegally present. Those with valid asylum claims have a legal right to assert those claims and remain.”
Closing the border “permanently” or otherwise would conflict with the asylum laws, agreed Peter S. Margulies, an immigration law expert at Roger Williams University School of Law.
Had the migrants made it to the border and presented themselves as asylum seekers, U.S. officials would have been required by federal law to consider their claim before sending them back to Mexico. Indeed, they are required to do so whether the migrants cross at a designated point of entry or anywhere else. 
U.S. District Judge Jon S. Tigar forcefully reminded Trump of that law last week when he issued a nationwide restraining order against the president’s plan to consider asylum requests only from migrants who cross at legal checkpoints. It was Tigar’s ruling that prompted Trump to lash out last week against the “Obama judge” and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, which in turn brought a rare rebuke from Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.
Trump’s legal options appear limited. “The border is very long,” Margulies told The Post. But if the administration can “stop people just short of the border, there’s a better argument that those people are not entitled to asylum. I think it would be terrible policy and I think it would be morally repugnant,” he said, “but the administration would be on better legal footing.”
Attempting to stop them short of the border appears to be just what Trump may be planning. 
The Post’s Joshua Partlow and Nick Miroff, citing Mexican officials and senior members of President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s transition team, reported that the administration is working with the incoming government of Mexico on a plan that would require asylum seekers to wait in that country while their claims moved through U.S. courts.
While Trump hinted at such a possibility in a tweet Saturday, he did not offer any detail. He could try to invoke an exception to the law called “safe third country,” which permits the government to keep asylum seekers in another country, in this case, Mexico, under a bilateral agreement while their claims are being considered in the United States.
However, there are several catches to that provision, American Civil Liberties Union immigration attorney Lee Gelernt told The Post on Sunday night. If and when an agreement is worked out, the law says, “there needs to be an assurance that individuals waiting on the Mexican side are safe, not just from the Mexican government but from gangs” and others.
"We believe it would be impossible for the U.S.” to make that assurance, he added.

August 9, 2018

"Border Patrol" is a Useless Job Done by Useless People Even with $k Still The Gov. Can't Keep Them

'Found all these jugs of clean water here, better throw it out because it might save an Illega's life.Who want that?'

Molly Osberg

In the decades since a bunch of xenophobic guys on horses institutionalized their mounted patrols with a federal budget and a badge, the Border Patrol has spent a lot of time and money convincing prospective agents that prowling the border and punching children is a cool job only fit for cowboys and/or the baddest of dudes.
During this latest Trump-mandated hiring spree, Customs and Border Protection has promised $10,000 cash bonuses, depicting the position as a rugged, never-ending country music video, starring you, featuring ATV rides across the desert, paid hikes, and majestic teams of horses. In its advertising deals the agency cuts right to the heart of the demographic most likely to see starving and assaulting immigrants as the natural evolution of the mythology of the American West: CPB has sponsored rodeos, Dallas Cowboys games, and NASCAR races. Naturally.
But none of these extremely on-brand efforts, or even the $297 million contract the Border Patrol signed with an outside recruitment firm last December, seem to be making a dent in its long-time struggle to hire and retain agents. One might imagine false advertising has something to do with this, considering that working at Border Patrol is often not often one long walk-about in the desert, or that working at CBP is the kind of thing that happens to people who wanted to be in the FBI when they grew up but couldn’t even get accepted by ICE. Morale at CBP is ranked near the bottom of a list maintained by nonpartisan Partnership for Public Service: At No. 315, it’s right above working at Veterans’ Affairs.
And as Mother Jones reports today, it seems that multi-million-dollar contract with the recruitment firm Accenture is mostly being used to hold prospective agents’ hands through the application process, which has already been made less rigorous as the Trump Administration demands more bodies at the border:
Specifically, CBP will remind applicants to take their entrance exam, help them schedule it, and provide them with unspecified “helpful information” about the test, which about half of applicants fail. Accenture will then help them schedule medical exams and fitness tests. CBP says applicants also need encouragement to complete job interviews and polygraph and drug tests. The “one-on-one encouragement and guidance” will include texts, calls, and emails. The agency says its applicants will “loose (sic) interest” and seek higher-paying jobs without such a hands-on approach. A CBP spokesperson, who requested anonymity, says Accenture’s work will help applicants complete tasks “in a timely manner” and “should speed up the time to hire” them.
As for what benefits actually await them, if applicants don’t “loose (sic) interest” during all those backgrounds checks and polygraph tests and actually end up in, say, Arizona, Politico has a fascinating story today about some scenes playing out on the border. According to the magazine, which spent time with those National Guard members sent to the border by the Trump administration in April, the soldiers are mostly acting as unarmed lackeys to border agents.
Agents who manage to go through the whole process with the help of text messages from a recruiter—which, by the way, is estimated to cost $40,000 per person employed—might not get the full cowboy experience. But they may get their own personal national guardsman to shovel “Snuggles the Mustangs’” shit while they’re out running over migrants with their trucks. 
Molly Osberg
Molly Osberg is a Senior Writer with the Special Projects Desk, which produces investigative and enterprise work across all of Gizmodo Media Group's web sites.

July 24, 2018

Can You Abolish or Break Up ICE? BBC Informs You Through This Video

The border is been used by GOP Presidents (the idea of the wall first came from Pres.Bush and abandoned because of the cost and because it wasn't working) but particularly by the present President as a political tool or issue. Perhaps that is why the issue is never gone away only gotten worse. Isn't time to stop and reassess what to do? If something doesn't work and the problem just gets bigger and very uglier, when you get a President without scrupples who never thinks how his descissions affect people or the nation; Only how it affects his family finances and for him politicly. Nothing else matters even if we have to make nice with our enemies by throwing our institutions under the bus.

If we stop looking at the problem politicly and look at it in a scientific way we could change this problem that is obvious to me some politicians like to keep alive for their own political purposes.
You figure out what is really wrong and what you would need to solve the problem. Not just to make it better but to solve it.

Scientifically we have the tool to patrol the border even without human beings. We did it in Syria and are doing it in the war in Afghanistan and Iraq fighting the Taliban now and 'dash' before that. We have soldiers there but they have the help of technology to know where the enemy is.

There are areas, the most famous being area 51, Los Alamos in which we keep off the public. No one can go there unless they are permitted to go. How do they have been doing it? These places use electronics to control the traffic in those areas. We could take the money for a wall that is 100% political, promised because it sounded good to people who did not know better. Throwing the national Guard, Ice officers there has not solved the problem but made it easier by having those 'Coyotes' make tunnels and watch with cheap drones the concentration of agents and going a different route or just waiting them out. The wall hides where those people are on the other side. You need to see from above what is going on and send the truck with water to pick them up. No need to separate anybody and spent millions up keeping all these people in cages. We also need to get rid of zero everything. Anybody who says we would get or do a zero something should have their job reduced to zero. Starting with The Attorney General. Let's watch and see what other people say about ICE, in my mind, as constituted is a menace to ordinary American, not just the border problem. How many Americans have been detained, arrested, deported because they did not have a passport? Do you carry with a passport/ Do you have a passport? But they made this program consistent with what we learn in Germany. 

 Can You abolish ICE?:

October 27, 2017

Right After Emergency Surgery 10yo Detained by Border Patrol

Immigrant advocates are protesting the Border Patrol's apprehension this week of a 10-year-old girl with cerebral palsy who is in the country illegally after she was operated on at a Texas hospital.

Federal immigration officers intercepted the child as she and a cousin, who is a U.S. citizen, were in an ambulance being transferred between two hospitals so that she could receive emergency gallbladder surgery. 

Rosamaria Hernandez was brought to the United States illegally from Mexico when she was 3 months old, according to her family and immigrant advocates involved in her case. She was traveling in an ambulance to Driscoll Children's Hospital in Corpus Christi when federal immigration officers stopped the vehicle at a checkpoint.

The Border Patrol agents followed the ambulance to the hospital. When the hospital discharged the child, Border Patrol agents took the 10-year-old into custody instead of allowing her cousin to take her back to her parents, who are also in the country illegally, in Laredo.

The young Mexican national has now been transported to a government-contracted juvenile shelter in San Antonio, 150 miles from Laredo, and put into deportation proceedings.

The Border Patrol defends its agents, saying they escorted Rosamaria to the children's hospital to ensure she received appropriate medical care and then processed her according to U.S. immigration laws.

In an open letter addressed to the Department of Homeland Security's acting secretary, Elaine Duke, the advocacy group DreamActivist says Rosamaria was told: "she has two options; sign voluntary departure or spend up to 3 weeks in detention."

"Families should not have to decide between getting life-saving help, or being deported," the group said in the letter.

Democrats in Congress recently demanded the homeland security secretary rein in immigration agents making an increasing number of arrests at or near hospitals, churches, and schools. Immigrant advocates are calling it the latest outrage under President Trump's aggressive immigration enforcement.

Alex Galvez, a lawyer representing Rosamaria, tells Newsweek that "this wouldn't have happened during the Obama administration."

"This current administration wants to send a clear message to all undocumented immigrants — that if you want to go to [a] hospital, you better think twice about it because you might be deported," he told the magazine.

July 30, 2017

A Boy (16) is Egg on to Drink Juice by Border Guards Except it was Methamphetamine and He Died

Newly released surveillance video shows a teenager drinking liquid methamphetamine, which he claimed was juice to US Customs and Border Protection agents, shortly before he convulsed and died from the drug. The teen's family believe he was coerced by the agents to drink the deadly substance.
Cruz Marcelino Velazquez Acevedo, 16, from Tijuana was trying to enter the US at the San Ysidro Port of Entry near San Diego on November 18, 2013, when Customs officers asked him about two drink bottles of an amber-colored liquid in his backpack.
Velazquez Acevedo told the officers the bottles contained apple juice.
Officers didn't believe him and did an initial test on the liquid, but one that is not effective at revealing liquid methamphetamine.
At a secondary inspection site area, Velazquez Acevedo sipped the liquid in an effort to prove it was juice.
The new video, released by Velazquez Acevedo's family via their lawyer Eugene Iredale, shows the teen, wearing a white hoodie, pick up one of the bottles and sip it. He took four sips of the liquid in total.
The bottles contained liquid methamphetamine, a highly toxic form of the illegal drug that has been on the rise because it's easier to traffic as a liquid, which is what Velazquez Acevedo was trying to do.
Officers suspected the bottles contained liquid methamphetamine, but encouraged him to drink it regardless, resulting in his death, argues Iredale.
In the video, the officers appear unconcerned that Velazquez Acevedo is drinking the liquid in front of them, smiling at each other and chatting.
"It's true that Cruz was doing something that was against the law. And that he did not have to be doing. That's a fact," Iredale told NBC.
"It's also true that they did not point their guns at him or physically threaten him but in a social context in which this occurred, they knew exactly what they were doing."
Shortly after ingesting the liquid, Velazquez Acevedo began sweating and screaming in pain, before convulsing and shouting the words "mi corazon" [my heart] repeatedly, according to a lawsuit filed by the family in a Californian federal court.
The lawsuit argued that rather than immediately seeking out medical attention after agents suspected the teen had ingested drugs, border officials placed him in custody. He was later taken to the hospital and died a few hours later.
His family settled the lawsuit against Customs and Border Protection for $1 million back in March.
The San Diego County’s Medical Examiner’s Office ruled his death accidental.
Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a Californian Democrat and member of the House Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security, told ABC news on Saturday she believes the actions of the agents resulted in his death.
"Drug smuggling is wrong and is a crime, but this teenage boy did not deserve a death sentence," she said. "For CBP officers to inflict a summary death sentence is not only immoral, but also illegal."
The US Customs and Border Protection told BuzzFeed News it conducted a nearly-year long review of the incident, which determined in September 2014 "that no further action was warranted and the officers involved were not disciplined."
The San Diego Police Department also investigated the death in 2014, and the US Attorneys Office declined to press charges against the officers involved.

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