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Border Agents Searched More Phones in February Than All of 2015

cell-phone-app-fbiBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Customs and Border Protection officers have demanded that American citizens turn over their phones and passwords in 25 cases examined by NBC News. 

The phones are being seized at the border and airports.

A New York couple said it happened to them twice while returning from a trip to Canada. Akram Shibly and his wife Kelly McCormick said Shibly was assaulted by officers to get their phone.

In February, 5,000 phones were searched, which is more than all of the phones searched in 2015. Homeland Security data show that Border Patrol agents searched nearly 25,000 phones in 2016, a five-fold increase over 2015.

NBC wrote:

The travelers came from across the nation, and were both naturalized citizens and people born and raised on American soil. They traveled by plane and by car at different times through different states. Businessmen, couples, senior citizens, and families with young kids, questioned, searched, and detained for hours when they tried to enter or leave the U.S. None were on terror watchlists. One had a speeding ticket. Some were asked about their religion and their ethnic origins, and had the validity of their U.S. citizenship questioned.

What most of them have in common — 23 of the 25 — is that they are Muslim, like Shibly, whose parents are from Syria.

Congressman Among Activists Handcuffed at Sit-In at ICE Office

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez was among several immigrant advocates briefly handcuffed by federal officials for staging a sit-in at the regional ICE office Monday to protest President Trump’s immigration policies.

The Democrat from Illinois joined other activists at the Chicago office, rallying against increased targeting of undocumented immigrants for deportation, the USA Today reports. 

Federal Protection Service officers gave the protesters three warnings before placing them in handcuffs. But agents had a change of heart and allowed the protest to continue.

“They threatened us with arrest. We said ‘We’re ready to go to jail,'” Gutierrez told reporters after ending the protest. “We stood up to the bullies here…Unfortunately, tonight and tomorrow they will continue to prey on very vulnerable, defenseless people in their homes in the darkness of the night.”

Gutierrez said he was concerned after meeting with ICE officials, who gave incomplete answers about whether raids would be carried out in churches, schools and other sensitive places.

Border Patrol Prisoner Commits Suicide After Being Detained

jail2photo

Archive photo of a man in jail.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Mexican man who was arrested on an immigration charge hanged himself in the El Paso County Jail.

Norberto Santa Cruz, 42, of Juárez, was arrested on a warrant for an illegal reentry charge, a sheriff’s spokeswoman told the El Paso Times. 

Santa Cruz died Saturday, a week after he was on life support following the attempted suicide.

The motive is unclear because no note was found.

Santa Cruz was arrested on March 3 after climbing onto a train and illegally crossing the order.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI to Honor Special Agent Killed 75 Years Ago in Virginia

FBI Special Agent Hubert J. Treacy Jr.

FBI Special Agent Hubert J. Treacy Jr.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

FBI Special Agent Hubert J. Treacy Jr. was killed 75 years ago when he was shot trying to take two U.S. Army deserters into custody in March 1942.

Now the FBI is honoring Treacy with a memorial in Abington, the Virginia town where he was shot, WSET.com reports

On Monday, local law enforcement officials and family members of Treacy plan to dedicate a memorial in his honor.

Helping make the dedication possible were the town of Abingdon, the Society of Former Special Agents – Blue Ridge Chapter, and the FBI Agents Association.

Man Who Jumped White House Fence Was Found with Mace, Letter to Trump

white house big photoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service said a man who breached security at the White House over the weekend was carrying a backpack with mace and a letter for President Trump.

An agent discovered Jonathan T. Tran, 26, of California, near the south entrance to the executive residence, CNN reports

Tran said he wanted to talk to the president.

“No, I am a friend of the President. I have an appointment,” Tran said when approached by an officer, according to a report released Saturday by the Washington Metropolitan Police Department.

Tran said he “jumped the fence.”

Tran is expected to be charged with unlawful entry and arraigned in federal court on Monday.

ATF, FBI Investigate Suspicious Fire at Islamic Center in Michigan

police lightsBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI and ATF have joined an investigation into a fire that gutted the Islamic Center of Ypsilanti in Michigan.

No one was in the building, which also includes a mosque, when the fire broke out, ClickOnDetroit.com reports

“The FBI is currently working with the Pittsfield Township Department of Public Safety and the ATF to determine the cause of fire that occurred at the Islamic Community Center,” the FBI said in a statement. “If in the course of investigation, information is developed suggesting a hate crime or another federal crime, logical investigation will be conducted to identify the individual(s) responsible and authorities will coordinate with the United States Attorney’s Office to identify the best course of action towards prosecution.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) released a statement Sunday afternoon:

“We urge state and federal agencies to use their full resources to investigate this fire to determine a cause and, if it is determined to be arson, a possible motive,” said CAIR-MI Executive Director Dawud Walid. “Anyone who has information about this fire, or saw anything suspicious at the time of the blaze, should immediately contact law enforcement authorities.”

Authorities said the fire appears to be suspicious.

Muslims have been the targets of hate crimes at increasing rates since Donald Trump became president.

Des Moines Register: ATF Tobacco Investigation Schemes Is ‘Highly Questionable’

atf badgeBy Editorial Board
The Des Moines Register

It’s getting harder and harder to tell the good guys from the bad guys.

First there was the scandal involving federal agents who helped route guns to Mexican drug cartels. Then it was revealed that law enforcement officials nationwide have routinely abused forfeiture laws to seize the property of law-abiding citizens.

Now there are signs that agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives used highly questionable — arguably illegal – cigarette sales in order to fund a secret bank account used to pay informants.

And we’re not talking about a handful of rogue agents raising a few thousand dollars. The evidence points to tens of millions of dollars being raised by law enforcement officials through the same schemes used by the criminals they were supposed to be apprehending.

The operation, detailed in a recent report from the New York Times, wasn’t authorized by the Justice Department, the agency under which the ATF operates, and that appears to have been by design. It gave agents access to a bank account that, because it was off the books, wasn’t subject to the usual level of oversight.

The scheme itself was built on a complex series of transactions, some of which involved the sale and shipment of water and snacks disguised as cigarettes.

To read more click here. 

Sen. Schumer: Trump’s Plans to Cut TSA Budget by 11% Is Dangerous

airport scanner 2By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s plans to cut 11% from the TSA’s budget would “spell real trouble for security,” Sen. Chuck Schumer said Sunday.

The cuts are meant to free up money to increase funding for immigration enforcement programs and the construction of a wall along the Mexico border.

Schumer, D-N.Y., called the cuts a “cash raid for the borer wall,” Newsday reports. 

“You’re not going to quietly pillage the federal funds that protect New York on my watch,” said Schumer, who serves as the Senate Minority Leader, directing his message at the White House.

Under Trump’s plans, the Coast Guard also would be cut by 14%.

The TSA cuts would eliminate a $20 million program to train flight crew members in firearms training in the event of a hijacking. The plan also calls for cutting $45 million in grants for local law enforcement to increase patrols in and around airports.

Other Stories of Interest