WASHINGTON: According to recent Customs and Border Protection (CBP) data, in February 2019, 76,000 people were either apprehended or deemed inadmissible at a port of entry. Nielsen testifying that crossing apprehensions will increase while reminding us that services at the border are “already severely strained.”
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says the humanitarian and security crisis at the U.S. southern border is at a “breaking point.” According to the U.S. Border Patrol, illegal immigration has reached it’s highest rates since 2007.
Referencing new totals, Neilsen says policies of open borders have “failed the American people.” The secretary blaming the courts and Congress for inaction.
“Activist courts, congressional inaction, and criminals intent on breaking our laws stand in the way of confronting illegal and uncontrolled migration threatening our safety and security. What was a crisis, is now a full-fledged emergency,” Nielsen says.
Some of the issues at the border include
Migrant Protection Protocols
The Migrant Protection Protocols in place requires some asylum seekers to return to Mexico while they await their immigration court hearing. The goal is to hopefully “dissuade those who intend to file false claims.”
Many of the immigrants are now coming from Central America’s Northern Triangle region of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. US Citizenship and Immigration Services report more asylum seekers between 2013-15 than in past fifteen years.
According to Advocacy for Human Rights in the Americas (WOLA dated February 2018) The number of asylum requests by Central Americans is rising because Northern Triangle countries are experiencing record levels of violence. The Council on Foreign Relations reports in Central America’s Violent Northern Triangle
“El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras consistently rank among the most violent countries in the world. El Salvador became the world’s most violent country not at war in 2015, when gang-related violence brought its homicide rate to 103 per hundred thousand. It has since fallen by one third. Nevertheless, all three countries have significantly higher homicide rates than neighboring Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama.”
Crisis for girls
DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen describes the journey of immigrants to the US southern border as “perilous.”
Neilsen says young girls on the trip are “absolutely victims of violence and abuse.” So many young immigrants are sexually abused on the journey that immigration officials now give pregnancy tests to girls as young as 10.
“Very, unfortunately, because of the increase in violence, at ICE, when we have families with children, we have to give every girl a pregnancy test over 10. This is not a safe journey,” Neilsen says.
President Trump has also said that one in three women are assaulted on the journey to the US southern border. Indeed, the trek to the US-Mexico border has been reported to be violent.
Doctors Without Borders says 68.3% of migrants and refugees “entering Mexico reported being victims of violence during their transit toward the United States,” and nearly one-third of women said they’d been sexually abused.
In 2017, a MSF (Medicins Sans Frontieres) special report compiles two years of research into the medical needs of refugees and migrants traveling through Mexico.
Key findings, based on surveys and medical data, indicated that:
- 39 percent of patients surveyed cited direct attacks or threats to themselves or their families, extortion, or gang-forced recruitment as the main reason for fleeing their countries.
- 68 percent of patients reported being victims of violence during their transit through Mexico. The perpetrators of violence included members of gangs and other criminal organizations, as well as members of the Mexican security forces responsible for their protection.
- 31 percent of women have been sexually abused during the journey.
According to DHS, 268,000 individuals have been apprehended since the start of the 2019 Fiscal Year, a 97% increase compared to the previous year. Family units attempting to cross have also increased by 338% and unaccompanied alien children by 54% this year
Gangs, Crime and Criminals
Organized crime is a legacy of decades of war according to the Center for Foreign Relations.
- In El Salvador, fighting between the military-led government and leftist guerrilla groups (1979–92) left as many as seventy-five thousand dead.
- Guatemala’s civil war (1960–96) killed as many as two hundred thousand civilians.
- Honduras did not have a civil war of its own, but nonetheless felt the effects of nearby conflicts. Honduras did serve as a staging ground for the U.S.-backed Contras, a right-wing rebel group fighting Nicaragua’s Sandinista government during the 1980s.
Transnational criminal organizations rule the Northern Triangle. These include domestic organized-crime groups; transnational gangs, or maras. These include groups like Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), the Eighteenth Street Gang (M-18); and pandillas, or street gangs.
Criminal Gangs MS-13 and MS-18
MS-13 and M-18 are estimated to have as many as eighty-five thousand members [PDF]. M-18 began in Los Angeles in the 1960s by Mexican youth. MS-13 is a Salvadoran gang who had fled the civil war in the 1980s. Their presence in Central America grew in the mid-1990s following large-scale deportations from the United States of undocumented immigrants with criminal records.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation estimates there are ten thousand MS-13 members in the United States.
Many of these gangs, or individual gang members, frequently cross the US / Mexico border bringing crime and drugs into the U.S. The more illegal organized
366 Pounds of Meth, Fentanyl Seized at Arizona Border this week. Breitbart.com reports:
“U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers seized approximately 320 pounds of methamphetamine, 32 pounds of marijuana along with heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine worth $1.3 million over the weekend during four vehicle inspections at the Arizona border. The alleged seizures resulted in the arrests of one U.S. citizen and three Mexican nationals.”
According to Breitbart reports from Friday, March 1 to Sunday, March 3:
Customs Border Patrol officers at the Port of Nogales Dennis DeConcini Crossing stopped a 37-year-old Mexican national from Hermosillo, Sonora, in a Ford truck. Officers referred the male driver to a secondary inspection station where a canine alerted to odors. Officers discovered 57 pounds of methamphetamine, with an estimated value of $171,000.
CBP officers assigned to the Nogales Mariposa Crossing stopped a 24-year-old male Mexican national from Nogales, Sonora, in a Jeep SUV. A K-9 led to a concealed cache of drugs consisting of nearly 21 pounds of meth, worth nearly $63,000; more than six pounds of heroin, worth $164,000, five pounds of cocaine, worth more than $121,000; and a pound of fentanyl, worth almost $16,000. Both vehicles and drugs were seized.
Saturday, CBP officers at the Port of Lukeville contacted a 46-year-old Mexican national from Caborca, Sonora, in a Chevrolet truck. Officers discovered more than 214 pounds of meth ($643,000), 32 pounds of marijuana ($16,000), and more than two pounds of fentanyl ($33,000).
On Sunday when CBP officers at the Port of San Luis contacted a 26-year-old woman from Yuma, Arizona, driving a Honda sedan. Officers reportedly discovered packages containing methamphetamine concealed within the fuel tank. The weight of the packages registered at nearly 28 pounds with a value of approximately $83,000.
Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) is in favor of President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration.
Kinzinger was at the border, seeing the situation firsthand. His report is that it is a “really bad situation” because of drugs and human trafficking.
“What I saw was a really bad situation, something I think is deserving of a national emergency — not because of the immigration issue, but because of the drugs and the human trafficking,” Kinzinger says in interviews. “If you think about the cartels, the Sinaloa and the Zetas, they basically make money on two things: One is trafficking humans, the other is trafficking drugs — both of which are over the border. I saw that lots of people die every year as a result of coyotes running and abandoning them. And so, I think it’s important to share that.”
Just what are we paying Congress, both House and Senate for?
If it is not protecting America immigration policies and border. Americans need to demand that Congress, Republicans, and Democrats, work together on this issue, and others, such as healthcare. Holding more hearings, when facts can be read, is grandstanding. That is a fact.
Says Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, “Today we are seeing the results of a failure to act and a broken system.”