Connect with us

Illegal

Illegal immigration on southern border surged 40% in June

The number of illegal immigrants nabbed traversing the southern border surged 40% in June, rebounding from a coronavirus lull that had pushed traffic to its lowest level in years. The resurgence was chiefly powered by adult illegal immigrants from Mexico, who made up nearly 80% of the flow. The number of children and parents —…

Illegal immigration on southern border surged 40% in June

The number of illegal immigrants nabbed traversing the southern border surged 40% in June, rebounding from a coronavirus lull that had pushed traffic to its lowest level in years.

The resurgence was chiefly powered by adult illegal immigrants from Mexico, who made up nearly 80% of the flow. The number of children and parents — who made up last year’s record surge — remained relatively low, at about 10%.

Mark Morgan, the acting chief of Customs and Border Protection, said the numbers weren’t a surprise, but are still “extremely concerning.”

“Therefore, it is imperative that we continue to build the border wall system and enforce CDC policies aimed at protecting the health of Americans,” he said.

The vast majority of border jumpers were quickly returned to their countries, thanks to the coronavirus public health emergency, which allows the government to expel people.

Drug seizures also rose, with cocaine up 50% in June and marijuana and fentanyl up even more. Methamphetamine seizures dropped 15%.

Illegal activity at the border has been one of the heavily watched areas as the country deals with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mr. Morgan said that some of the most troubling tactics, such as smugglers piling migrants into truck trailers, are on the increase. That’s particularly troubling as the summer months bring hotter temperatures.

In one smuggling attempt in late June, Border Patrol agents at a highway checkpoint near Laredo, Texas, rescued two illegal immigrants who’d been sealed inside a steel compartment on a Dodge Ram pickup truck.

The migrants said they’d been inside the compartment for 40 minutes and were unable to move the whole time. One told agents he’d started to hyperventilate and began to fear he would die before he was rescued.

Both migrants said they were paying $6,000 — $1,500 up front and another $4,500 once they reached their destinations of Houston and North Carolina — to be smuggled in.

The driver in that case didn’t tell agents what he was getting paid, according to court documents. But other smugglers driving through that Laredo-area checkpoint reported getting between $1,000 and $5,000 to make the trip.

In another case at the checkpoint near Sarita, Texas, agents rescued four illegal immigrants from the trunk of a Nissan Altima and measured the temperature at 104.9 degrees.

That driver was found with an AR-15 rifle, according to court documents, and he told agents he was stunned they bothered to arrest him.

“Well, I know of a lot of people that smuggle and get caught, and you guys just let them go like nothing,” Jahziel Trevino-Cantu told agents, according to an affidavit filed to justify smuggling charges against him.

Illegal border crossings had been artificially low, due to the coronavirus crisis.

April saw the fewest people nabbed since just after President Trump took office. But the numbers shot up 36% in May and another 40% last month.

They’re still far below last year at this point, when the surge of illegal immigrant families was setting records.

In May and June of 2019, Border Patrol agents nabbed more than 160,000 illegal immigrant children and parents. This year, those two months saw about 5,050 — a drop of 97%.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Continue Reading…

Illegal

Illegal immigrants’ Census exclusion illegal, federal judges rule

President Trump’s attempt to demand the Census Bureau produce a 2020 count that doesn’t include illegal immigrants is illegal, a panel of federal judges ruled Thursday, delivering another blow to the administration’s attempts to shape the census. The judges, acting unanimously, flatly declared Mr. Trump’s July 21 directive unlawful, saying they hoped such a firm…

Illegal immigrants’ Census exclusion illegal, federal judges rule

President Trump’s attempt to demand the Census Bureau produce a 2020 count that doesn’t include illegal immigrants is illegal, a panel of federal judges ruled Thursday, delivering another blow to the administration’s attempts to shape the census.

The judges, acting unanimously, flatly declared Mr. Trump’s July 21 directive unlawful, saying they hoped such a firm statement would also help alleviate fears that illegal immigrants and others might decline to respond to the census.

Mr. Trump had wanted the census to still produce its normal count of all residents, but also to produce another count excluding illegal immigrants. That count, he said, should be used to apportion seats in the House of Representatives.

But the judges said that violates laws Congress has written making clear the full count should be used for apportionment.

It’s the second setback for Mr. Trump, who last year saw his bid to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census crumble because, the Supreme Court ruled, he didn’t check all the right procedural boxes.

“When it comes to matters of the Census, the scoreboard reads: immigrant advocates 2, Trump 0,” said Steven Choi, executive director of the New York Immigration Coalition, one of the groups that sued to stop both census-shaping attempts.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Continue Reading…

Continue Reading

Illegal

Illegal immigrants spread coronavirus in U.S., around world

The administration’s top border official said Thursday that illegal immigrants have a duty to the world to stop coming to the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying some of them are making the trip knowing they have the disease and risk spreading it far and wide. Mark Morgan, acting head of Customs and Border Protection,…

Illegal immigrants spread coronavirus in U.S., around world

The administration’s top border official said Thursday that illegal immigrants have a duty to the world to stop coming to the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying some of them are making the trip knowing they have the disease and risk spreading it far and wide.

Mark Morgan, acting head of Customs and Border Protection, said illegal border crossings rose about 25% in July compared with a month earlier.

Mr. Morgan said dozens are packed inside stash houses and motel rooms, or stuffed into trunks or tractor-trailers, which he called “perfect incubators for COVID-19.”

“It’s not about migrants risking their lives any longer,” he said. “It’s way beyond that. Now they’re risking the lives of everyone they come in contact with.”

He pointed out that the migrants are defying their own countries’ travel rules by making the journey.

“They should comply with the travel restrictions of their own countries and heed the warnings of medical experts. If they do, lives will be saved,” Mr. Morgan said.

CBP encountered nearly 41,000 people attempting to enter the U.S. without permission last month, up from fewer than 33,000 in June. It’s the highest number recorded so far this year, and it signals the end to a lull in illegal immigration. Numbers plummeted in April and May during the height of the coronavirus crisis.

More than 90% of those nabbed are being processed and shipped out of the country immediately, with a two-hour turnaround for most.

The others are, in most instances, special humanitarian cases, such as children who appear to have been abused or trafficked.

The expulsions are happening because the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention triggered part of the Public Health Act, which the administration says allows rejection of any unauthorized migrants.

From March through the end of July, a little more than 98,000 have been expelled under those powers, known as Title 42 because of the section of law they are written into.

By contrast, only about 8,500 were accepted into CBP custody as regular illegal immigrants.

Mr. Morgan said of those, about 60 have tested positive for COVID-19. Those who are expelled and may have had the disease would not generally show in those numbers.

Critics say thousands of valid asylum cases have been excluded under the health emergency.

But Mr. Morgan defended the policy as life-saving because of migrants’ travel conditions. In the early summer last year, during the height of the border surge, CBP was holding up to 20,000 illegal immigrants in fenced-in pens, which Mr. Morgan said would have been a disaster in the era of COVID-19.

“A single COVID illegal alien could infect hundreds of other illegal aliens, as well as our workforce,” he said. “It would be catastrophic. Title 42 is preventing such a catastrophe.”

Even with the constraints, Mr. Morgan said, 10 CBP employees have died “in the line of duty” because of the coronavirus.

Mr. Morgan said the CDC is making decisions on when to lift the public health expulsion order but that the calculation goes well beyond the state of the coronavirus spread in the U.S.

With cases and deaths soaring in Mexico, the staging point for illegal crossers, chances of infections being carried over are high no matter what the trajectory in the U.S. is.

The number of migrants nabbed is just one part of the border story. What is not known is how many eluded agents and sneaked into the interior.

Laredo has become a particular hot spot of truck smuggling in recent weeks, with dozens of migrants packed into tight quarters.

In mid-July, agents at a highway checkpoint west of Laredo nabbed a Freightliner truck with 35 illegal immigrants in the trailer, tucked behind pallets of iron ornaments. Agents measured the temperature inside the trailer at 126 degrees.

According to an affidavit filed in the case, the driver admitted working with a smuggling organization. She said she was supposed to take the 35 migrants from Laredo to San Antonio and expected to be paid $6,500 for the trip.

One Honduran migrant agents found in the trailer said he paid $11,000 to be smuggled to Indianapolis. Two Mexicans, a boyfriend and girlfriend, said they were paying $10,684 for both of them and were headed to South Carolina.

They reported that the man who loaded them into the truck did wear a medical mask.

On Wednesday, agents manning another Laredo-area checkpoint found 53 illegal immigrants inside a refrigerated trailer.

On Monday, agents in Douglas, Arizona, nabbed a Ford F-250 pickup truck that had 30 illegal immigrants piled into the vehicle. All of them were Mexican, and all were expelled back to Mexico under Title 42 authority.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Continue Reading…

Continue Reading

Illegal

Illegal immigration rose nearly 40% amid coronavirus reopenings

America’s reopening after the coronavirus crisis brought a surge of human and drug smuggling to the southern border in May along with a worrying rise in the most abusive smuggling tactics. Border Patrol agents have reported catching a striking number of semitractor trailers, some packed with as many as five dozen illegal immigrants, roaring along…

Illegal immigration rose nearly 40% amid coronavirus reopenings

America’s reopening after the coronavirus crisis brought a surge of human and drug smuggling to the southern border in May along with a worrying rise in the most abusive smuggling tactics.

Border Patrol agents have reported catching a striking number of semitractor trailers, some packed with as many as five dozen illegal immigrants, roaring along border highways and trying to sneak past checkpoints to get to the interior.

The going rate for smuggling, after dipping earlier this year, has shot back up to $15,000 per person in some cases.

The dangers of smuggling also were brought into stark view after a high-speed chase in Arizona on June 2 that ended when a fleeing 17-year-old smuggler swerved to avoid a tire deflation device, lost control of the Honda minivan he was driving and rolled the vehicle, according to Border Patrol agents.

The 17-year-old died, as did one of the four illegal immigrants he was driving. Another was stuck on life support, and one suffered a broken leg.

“Migrants should never listen to the false promises of smuggling organizations, who don’t care about their health and safety,” said Mark A. Morgan, acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection. “Every day, we fight the smugglers who abuse, exploit and treat immigrants as a commodity for their own profit — often leaving them behind to die.”

Border Patrol agents apprehended 21,475 people trying to sneak across the border in May. CBP officers at ports of entry encountered another 1,643 migrants attempting to enter without authorization.

The 23,118 combined is up from 16,789 in April — a 38% increase.

But it’s well below the record-setting May 2019, when 144,116 illegal immigrants were nabbed at the border, including 132,856 caught by Border Patrol agents alone.

More stunning is the change in the kinds of people arriving at the border.

In May 2019, the Border Patrol apprehended 95,961 parents and children — an all-time record for any month.

In the same month this year, they caught just 1,931 parents and children — a drop of 98%. That is up slightly from April, but the improvement is clear.

Homeland security officials say cutting those numbers helped avoid a humanitarian catastrophe that would have resulted with the coronavirus crisis.

During the height of the surge last year, CBP holding facilities had 20,000 people in custody. Some were held for days on end, creating the perfect environment for the spread of disease. Now, the numbers are in the low hundreds, and 96% of the migrants are processed within two hours, CBP says.

Last year, most of the parents and children were Central Americans. Most of those coming across the border now are single adult Mexicans, who are easily returned to their home country.

While the pace of illegal immigration ticked up, CBP said, the flow of illegal drugs soared. Cocaine seizures doubled in May, and methamphetamine, marijuana and fentanyl seizures all rose.

Mr. Morgan said those are all reasons to push forward with President Trump’s border wall.

“Wherever we have built a new border wall system, drug and human smuggling activities have decreased,” he said.

As the pace of illegal activity picks up, so has the pace of prosecutions of those caught smuggling. A Border Patrol highway checkpoint north of Laredo, Texas, has been particularly busy.

On May 28, agents there found 57 illegal immigrants in a trailer. The driver of the truck told agents it was his fifth such trip, and he was getting $1,000 each time.

Later that day, agents stopped a truck with eight illegal immigrants piled on beds in the truck cab’s sleeper area. The driver told agents he was getting $17,000 to smuggle them to San Antonio.

A day later, agents at the same checkpoint stopped a truck with 58 illegal immigrants in its trailer. The driver told agents he was paying off a debt he had incurred in Mexico and that his family would be in danger if he didn’t make the drive.

The first incident with the 57 illegal immigrants turned into something bigger. A week later, Homeland Security Investigations agents spotted a suspicious truck and determined that it came from the same load-up site.

Forty-six illegal immigrants were found in the trailer of this truck, and the drivers told agents they were getting paid $8,000 to drive the truck to San Antonio.

During the coronavirus crisis, agents gave some smugglers a break.

One man stopped in early May with eight illegal immigrants in his truck at the checkpoint in Sarita, Texas, was released without charges. But when agents nabbed him again on June 3 with 19 illegal immigrants, they didn’t look the other way.

As he was being led from his holding cell and fingerprinted, agents said, he insisted they would let him go this time, too.

Instead, he was charged with smuggling.

He was released Thursday on a $75,000 bond, secured by a $2,000 cash payment.

Sign up for Daily Newsletters

Continue Reading…

Continue Reading

Trending