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Tag: immigration

Border Patrol Agents Accidentally Run Over Migrants, Killing One of Them, CBP Says

By Steve Neavling

A Honduran man was killed and another migrant rushed to the hospital after a Border Patrol vehicle accidentally ran over them in Kenedy County near Kingsville, Texas, last week, CBP said in a news release.

The incident occurred about 1 p.m. on April 29, when Border Patrol agents spotted fresh footprints in an area known for smuggling activity. 

As the agents searched for migrants, they ran over two men who were hiding in tall grass. The agents didn’t know they hit the men until a group of migrants emerged and informed them of what had happened. 

The migrants helped the agents locate the men, one of whom died at the scene. The other was transferred to a hospital via air ambulance and released later in the day.

“The initial investigation indicates BPAs were not aware anyone was burrowed in the grass nor were they aware anyone had been run over by a vehicle until informed by a migrant,” CBP said. 

The Kenedy County Sheriff’s Office and CBP Office of Professional Responsibility were called to the scene and are reviewing the incident.

Biden Taps Ed Gonzalez, a Texas Sheriff, to Head ICE

Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez has been nominated to head ICE.

By Steve Neavling

President Joe Biden plans to nominate Ed Gonzalez, a Texas sheriff and outspoken critic of Donald Trump’s immigration policies, to lead Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the White House announced Tuesday.

Gonzalez was elected sheriff of Harris County, which includes Houston, in 2016 and reelected in 2020. 

Gonzalez will likely face opposition from Republicans during his Senate confirmation hearing, which has not yet been set. 

ICE has not had a permanent leader since 2017. 

Gonzalez has criticized Trump’s deportation policies and the separation of migrant children from their families. 

His law enforcement career began in the Houston Police Department, and he later served three terms on the Houston City Council. 

Gonzalez has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Houston Downtown and a master’s degree from the University of St. Thomas. 

Border Patrol’s Encounters with Migrants Continue to Rise in Southern Arizona

By Steve Neavling

The number of migrants who are coming into contact with Border Patrol in Southern Arizona continues to rise. 

At the Yuma Sector, agents encountered about 11,800 migrants in March, an increase from about 5,100 in February, Tucson.com reports, citing CBP statistics.

At the Tucson Sector, agents encountered about 19,800 migrants in March, an increase from about 14,600 in February. 

Most of the encounters involved adult migrants without children, but the number of families traveling together and children traveling alone also is rising sharply. 

The Biden administration attributed the rise “to reasons which include violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty” in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.

Republicans blames Biden’s laxer border policies. 

Senate Confirms Mayorkas As Homeland Security Secretary

Alejandro Mayorkas is sworn in as DHS secretary. Photo via DHS.

By Steve Neavling

The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Alejandro Mayorkas as President Biden’s homeland security secretary, making him the first immigrant and Latino to lead the department.

He was confirmed by a 56-43 vote, with strong opposition from Republicans. 

Mayoraks is the first confirmed secretary in nearly two years.

About two weeks ago, Sen. Josh Hawley, a Missouri Republican, blocked the fast-track confirmation process for Mayorkas, almost dashing Biden’s hopes for a quick confirmation. But a week later, the Senate Homeland Security Committee advanced his nomination to a full vote in Congress.

Mayorkas, 61 served as deputy homeland security secretary from 2013 to 2016 under President Obama and played a prominent role in the creation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program (DACA). A former U.S. attorney in California, Mayorkas also served as director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services during Obama’s first term.  

Born in Cuba, Mayorkas and her family arrived as refugees in the 1960s, settling in Southern California. His mother was a Holocaust survivor. Mayorkas graduated from the University of California-Berkeley and earned a law degree from Loyola Law School. 

At his confirmation hearing, Mayorakas pledged to combat homegrown domestic extremists, which has become an increasing national security threat. 

“The threat of domestic extremism is one of the greatest challenges that the Department of Homeland Security confronts,” Mayorkas said at the hearing, calling the Jan. 6 siege on the U.S. Capitol “horrifying.”

Judge: Acting Homeland Security Director Wolf Likely Serving in Role Unlawfully

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf is likely serving in his role unlawfully, a Maryland judge ruled said.

In the ruling, Judge Paula Xinis blocked the Trump administration’s new asylum restrictions because Wolf appears to lack the authority to introduce them, The Hill reports.

“In sum, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs are likely to demonstrate (former acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin) McAleenan’s appointment was invalid under the agency’s applicable order of succession, and so he lacked the authority to amend the order of succession to ensure Wolf’s installation as Acting Secretary,” Xinis’ said in a 69-page ruling on Friday.

The judge’s decision comes a month after the Government Accountability Office determined that Wolf and Ken Cuccinelli, a senior official performing deputy secretary duties, were not appointed through a valid process and therefore aren’t legally qualified to hold their positions. The GAO said their appointments violated the laws detailing who can fill Senate-confirmed posts.

The White House has said it’s not acting on the findings.

Largest ICE Raid During COVID-19 Pandemic Leads to 2,000+ Arrests

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A six-week ICE operation netted more than 2,000 arrests of undocumented immigrants, most of whom have been charged or convicted of a crime.

The operation, which ran from July to August, led to arrests in communities across the country, CBS News reports.

About 85% of those arrested had been charged or convicted of crimes ranging from domestic abuse to robbery. Those without criminal charges involved immigrants who did not leave the country after a judge ordered them to be deported.

It was the largest operation since the coronavirus pandemic.

ICE has limited its operations amid COVID-19 to avoid outbreaks among detainees. ICE arrested 94,500 arrests inside communities in this fiscal year, as of Aug. 22. During the same time period last year, ICE arrested more than 143,000 people.

Virtual Surveillance Towers Show Promise As Alternative to Steel, Concrete Border Walls

Construction of a border wall, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

Steel and concrete border walls get all the media hype, but a new mobile technology may prove to be a far more effective and inexpensive way to combat illegal immigration.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is trying out telescoping surveillance towers on the Arizona border that can track illegal crossers with infrared and daytime cameras, along with laser range-finders, NPR reports. Capable of tracking a target miles away, the autonomous surveillance towers can be mounted on a pickup truck and operated remotely.

“The camera sees something, it’s going to alert and send that information to an agent in the field. So my iPhone will have an app on it and that information will come directly to me,” Kelly Good, deputy executive director of CBP’s Program Management Office Directorate, says.

Steel and concrete walls, however, appear to be the Trump administration’s priority.

“We now are in a time where we can build this virtual border wall technology. We have that already. I mean, you got the autonomous surveillance towers,” Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat from a border district, says. “But there’s political pressure from the White House. They’re saying, ‘Build me the wall. Get me miles.’ “

Feds Find ‘Most Sophisticated Tunnel in U.S. History’ at Border with Mexico

Inside the unfinished tunnel, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The discovery shocked federal agents: An unfinished tunnel that ran from San Louis, Ariz., to a Mexican neighborhood featured a ventilation system, electrical wiring, water lines, a rail system and extensive reinforcement.

“This appears to be the most sophisticated tunnel in U.S. history, and certainly the most sophisticated I’ve seen in my career,” Carl E. Landrum, acting chief patrol agent with the Border Patrol’s Yuma sector, said, The Associated Press reports.

Discovered by Homeland Security Investigations in late July, officials believe it was intended for smuggling.

The tunnel was 3 feet wide and 4 feet high.

Excavation work on the tunnel, via ICE.