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Posts tagged ‘United States Border Patrol’

Mexico Captures Third Man Linked to ‘Fast and Furious’ Slaying.


MEXICO CITY  — Mexico has arrested a third man wanted over the 2010 murder of a U.S. Border Patrol agent whose death drew attention to a botched operation to track guns smuggled to Mexico that embarrassed the U.S. government.

Mexican police in the northwestern state of Sinaloa said they had captured Ivan Soto Barraza, suspected of participating in the murder of U.S. agent Brian Terry, who was killed in a shootout in the Arizona borderlands in December 2010.

The killing of Terry was linked to a U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sting operation dubbed “Fast and Furious,” which allowed weapons to slip across the border to Mexico.

Mexican Interpol agents working with federal and state police captured Soto, 30, near the town of El Fuerte late on Wednesday and took him to a prison in Hermosillo, Sonora, on Thursday where he awaits extradition, a police spokesman said.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation also took part in the operation to track down Soto, the spokesman added.

A number of guns bought in the Fast and Furious scheme were recovered from crime scenes in Mexico. Two tracked by the ATF were also retrieved from a remote spot in southern Arizona where Terry was killed in a shoot-out with suspected bandits.

It was unclear if the weapons were used in his murder.

Terry’s slaying set off a political firestorm when it brought to light the ATF sting in which about 2,000 weapons were sold to buyers believed to be straw purchasers for Mexico’s powerful drug cartels.

Congressional Republicans slammed the government for the program, and called on Attorney General Eric Holder to resign. The program also strained ties between Mexico and Washington.

In December, Terry’s parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against federal officials over his death.

The operation had been envisioned as a way to track guns from buyers to senior Mexican drug cartel members.

Robert Heyer, Brian Terry’s cousin, issued a statement on behalf of the Terry family in response to the arrest.

“Brian’s family is pleased to hear of another arrest and we remain hopeful that two additional fugitives believed to be in Mexico will be arrested. Questions remain unanswered about the death of Brian, including details on the failed gun trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious,” he said.

Five Mexican men have been charged over Terry’s killing, and following the arrest, only two now remain at large.

Manuel Osorio Arellanes, one of the men in custody, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in the case in October in a deal with prosecutors that spared him the possible death penalty.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: Newsmax.com

Mexican Officials Upset Over US Border Security Plan.


Officials in Mexico are upset by plans by the United States to spend tens of billions of dollars for additional fencing and other security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“Mexico is convinced that our public policies should be coordinated and should recognize the importance of the border for competitiveness, job creation, and the social well-being of both countries,” Mexican Foreign Minister Jose Antonio Meade said.

“We are convinced that fences don’t unite. They are not the solution to the immigration phenomenon and they don’t jibe with a modern and secure border,” said the foreign minister. “They don’t contribute to the development of the competitive region that both countries seek to promote.”

Last week, a Senate committee earmarked $46 billion to double the U.S. Border Patrol and to build 700 more miles of anti-immigrant fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border, reports GlobalPost.com.

The influx of Mexican immigrants has plummeted in recent years with new fencing and the U.S. economic downturn. The U.S. Border Patrol detained about 1.6 million undocumented immigrants in 2000 and just over 260,000 last year, the website says.

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said on Tuesday that the Senate’s border security amendment should help immigration reform pass in the House.

Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona — known for her own tough immigration policies — also praised the border surge amendment, claiming it as a “victory” for her state.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Bill Hoffmann

Ryan: House Will Do Immigration Its ‘Own Way’.


Image: Ryan: House Will Do Immigration Its 'Own Way'

By Todd Beamon

Sen. Paul Ryan said on Wednesday that the U.S. House of Representatives would not take up the Senate’s version of the sweeping immigration legislation that the Upper Chamber is expected to vote on this week — instead taking up its own version of the legislation.

“We’re not going to bring up the Senate bill,” Ryan, the Wisconsin Republican and chairman of the House Budget Committee, told Sean Hannity on Fox News. “We’re going to do it our own way, on our own time, in a very methodical way — because we want to make sure we get this right.”

The bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators proposed the sweeping reform legislation in April. It has been debated for nearly three weeks in on the Senate floor, and a final vote is expected by Friday.

The border enhancement measures include doubling the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents, to a total of 40,000, and for the increased use of surveillance technology along the border. This would include unmanned drones, cameras, and ground sensors.

In addition, the amount of border fencing would be doubled, from 350 miles to 700 miles. Currently, about 40 miles of fencing is situated along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Ryan, the 2012 GOP vice presidential candidate, said that the border amendments to the Senate bill brought the legislation closer to the House’s thinking, but that they’re not enough.

“We want to make sure we get it right,” he said.

The House plan would include “real triggers on the border, real triggers in the e-verify system, which is basically another way of saying, ‘If you’re not here legally, you can’t get a job,’” Ryan said.

“We want to get those things right to make sure this bill works,” he added. “We want immigration reform that works for our country, that works for national security, that’s good for our economy — and we don’t want to be in the same boat 10 years down the road.”

Under the House plan, illegal immigrants would be given probationary status for five years while the border is being secured and the e-verify system is being developed and made operational, Ryan said.

If those “triggers” do not occur, the illegals would lose that status and become ineligible for legal permanent residency, he said.

The verifications would be done by the General Accounting Office, the nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, Ryan said.

“We want to make sure that people who didn’t do things the right way make amends with the law, acknowledge that they didn’t follow the law and also get at the back of the line — so that people who did things right, who came here legally in the first place, who waited in line, who paid the fees, get through the system first,” he said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rep. Ryan: Senate’s Border Security Measure Likely to Boost House Prospects.


Image: Rep. Ryan: Senate's Border Security Measure Likely to Boost House Prospects

By Matthew Auerbach

Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin said on Tuesday that the Senate’s border security amendment is likely to go a long way toward helping immigration reform pass in the House, reports The Washington Times

“We’re going to take our time,” said Ryan, the GOP’s vice presidential nominee last November.

“The border-security triggers are very important,” he explained. “And so that’s going to be probably the keystone of the House legislation, which is, first, you’ve got to secure the border.”

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The Senate on Monday approved the addition of 20,000 more border patrol agents for the Mexican border and put in place a requirement to install 700 miles of fencing within a decade.

“I think that that passing helps make this final passage even more likely,” Ryan said.

“I think that making sure that we’re emphasizing the border is going to be secure and under control so the rest of immigration reform can come alongside it after the border is secured makes getting a final law that much more likely,” he added.

“But the House will do its own legislation. It won’t do the Senate.”

Ryan believes the Senate’s emphasis on border security is more in tune with what House lawmakers want to see in immigration reform, according to The Hill.

“What the Senate just did is, they moved closer to the House’s position, which obviously makes final legislation more likely,” Ryan added.

Ryan said he had every expectation that the House plan would be “similar” to the Senate’s bipartisan proposal.

“Similar, but we’re going to make sure we do it right,” Ryan said.

“We’re going to make sure we secure the border. We’re going to make sure we have the E-Verify system up and running and fix legal immigration.”

He added that the House intends to take up the immigration reform issue in July.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Sessions: Immigration Bill Includes ‘Shocking Changes’.


Image: Sessions: Immigration Bill Includes 'Shocking Changes'

By Todd Beamon

Sen. Jeff Sessions on Friday blasted the increased border security measures added to the sweeping immigration legislation making its way through the U.S. Senate, noting “some shocking changes that actually further weaken the underlying bill.”

“We have identified grave and deep flaws in the modified bill,” the Alabama Republican said in a statement. “The special interests who wrote these provisions know exactly what they do and designed them not to work, but I fear some of the senators who sponsored this amendment have no idea they’re even there.”

On Thursday, Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer and two GOP senators, Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of North Dakota, introduced an amendment to the immigration reform bill proposed by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators in April.

The amendment calls for the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents to be doubled, to a total of 40,000, and for the increased use of surveillance technology along the border. This would include unmanned drones, cameras, and ground sensors.

In addition, the amendment would double the amount of border fencing required under the legislation, from 350 miles to 700 miles. Currently, about 40 miles of fencing is situated along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Sessions, who has long criticized the legislation, said the new amendment — all 1,187 pages of it — “was dropped on the Senate floor” on Friday. “Members and staff have only until Monday afternoon to read through this modified proposal.”

He charged that the amendment did not change the legislation’s “amnesty-first framework.”

“Instead, it goes even further and creates an automatic amnesty for future illegal aliens. If you overstay your visa in the future, you can still apply for a green card and become a citizen.

“It is permanent lawlessness,” Session said. “Joined with existing language that restricts future enforcement, it guarantees unending illegal immigration.”

The additional Border Patrol agents cannot be hired before 2017, under the amendment, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has only five years to raise the total number of hires to 20,000.

Sessions cited data from the National Association of Former Border Patrol Agents that say the hiring of so many agents could normally take up to 20 years because of background checks and other factors.

“It’s never going to be happen,” the senator said.
Further, American taxpayers could end up paying as much as $38 billion under the amendment because visa fees would increase for legal immigrants, but not for illegals, Sessions said.

Under the 2007 reform legislation that died under heavy criticism in the Senate, amnesty applicants had to pay up to $8,000, compared with only $2,000 in the current proposed legislation — which is “subject to numerous waivers. This favors illegal over legal immigrants,” Sessions said.

“The Gang of Eight’s proposal, modified or not, still guarantees three things: amnesty, lower wages, and higher unemployment.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

House Republicans Rip Senate Border Security Plans.


Image: House Republicans Rip Senate Border Security Plans

By Todd Beamon

Even though senators reached an agreement to increase border security in the sweeping immigration reform bill they plan to vote on next week, two House Republicans said on Thursday that the plan will not fly in the lower chamber.

“I think it’s absurd,” Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas told Sean Hannity on Fox News. “The president right now has the money, the manpower — everything he needs to secure the border. He doesn’t have the will.”

For his part, Rep. Steve King of Iowa said: “I only have confidence that we’re not going to get border security out of these people. They were never serious about it. No, these promises are not going to be followed through.”

Two GOP senators — Bob Corker of Tennessee and John Hoeven of South Dakota — announced on Thursday an agreement to strengthen border security as part of the immigration reform bill introduced by the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” senators in April.
Under the agreement, the number of U.S. Border Patrol agents would be doubled, to a total of 40,000, and the use of surveillance technology would be increased along the border. This would include unmanned drones, cameras, and ground sensors.

The agreement also would double the amount of border fencing required under the legislation, from 350 miles to 700 miles. Currently, about 40 miles of fencing is situated along the U.S.-Mexico border.
These changes are still not enough, Gohmert and King told Hannity.

“In ’86, it was the promise of enforcement later and amnesty now,” King said. “That was the case all along. In 2006, we passed a border security fence act. The fence was never built.

“The only way you can trust these people is only if they support this: secure the border, no legalization until that border is secure, then, let’s start the talks on something else. That’s really the only way we get this done.

“They’re not serious,” King added. “They want to undermine the rule of law — and anything that legalizes is a path to citizenship, which is, of course, amnesty.”

Gohmert referenced the “virtual fence” that was supposed to be built along the border under the 2006 legislation signed by President George W. Bush. The fence was to be a string of towers that would use cameras, radar, and ground sensors to see who was coming across in real time.

However, the project — which spent $2.4 billion between 2005 and 2009 — was plagued by delays, and its funding was halted in 2010 by Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. “We love this country, and we know we need a secure border,” Gohmert said. “The president can do it right now.”

He urged the House to take no action on legalizing immigrants until the border was verified as secure by the governors of the states encompassing it.

Both congressmen said they feared that after each chamber passes its own version of immigration reform, members of the lower chamber will be pressured to support the Senate legislation in conference.

“We’ve raised this alarm for about a month and a half,” King said.

House Speaker John Boehner has pledged to not bring an immigration bill to the floor without strong support of Republicans, King said.

“The goal is to secure the border before anything comes up in the House and then we will take this topic up,” he said. “If they had done this in 2006, we wouldn’t be here today having this conversation.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Senate Immigration Deal Doubles Number of Border Agents, Builds 700-Mile Fence.


A flood of new federal agents and high-tech surveillance devices would be dispatched to the southwestern border with Mexico under a deal aimed at winning passage of an immigration bill in the U.S. Senate, congressional sources said on Thursday.

The proposal, which could be formally offered as an amendment to the sprawling immigration bill as early as Thursday, would double the overall number of U.S. border patrol agents, according to senior Senate Democratic aides.

That would mean assigning 21,000 new officers to the southwestern border in an attempt to shut down future illegal crossings by foreigners.

The bipartisan bill, which was crafted by a group of eight senators and is supported by President Barack Obama, currently calls for adding 3,500 Customs and Border Protection officers by 2017.

The plan also calls for building 700 miles of border fencing or walls, on top of the 650 miles already constructed, Senate aides said.

At a price tag of around $40 billion to $50 billion, the amendment, if passed, would represent a potentially massive investment of federal resources in securing the border.

While the legislation would authorize these security programs, it would be up to Congress in the future to actually appropriate the money for them.

The deal represents a significant win for Republicans who have been clamoring for tougher border security measures. But Democrats could also claim a victory in fending off Republican attempts to delay legalizing 11 million undocumented residents until new border security measures were in place.

However, one of the aides said the newly legalized residents would not get “green cards” allowing permanent resident status until the border security measures were in place. Gaining permanent resident status would take 10 years under the bill, giving the federal government a decade to install the added border manpower and equipment.

During debate of the bill by the Senate Judiciary Committee last month, some lawmakers were skeptical that such a huge investment would be a smart use of federal dollars and they questioned whether 700 miles of new fencing was even practical.

But supporters of the legislation are hoping to capture the votes of more undecided Republican senators with this deal, improving chances of a major rewrite of immigration law in the more conservative House of Representatives, which is controlled by Republicans.

Besides the additional agents and fencing, the measure also calls for employing large amounts of unmanned aerial drones, radars, and other surveillance devices to catch or deter illegal crossings.

The plan brought a harsh reaction from at least one civil liberties and human right group.

Christian Ramirez, director of the Southern Border Communities Coalition, said the huge build-up in agents, surveillance hardware, and fencing “is expensive and extreme.”

In a telephone interview with Reuters, Ramirez expressed fears that adding so many more armed officers would compound problems already being experienced involving fatal shootings of bystanders on either side of the border.

“The current force on the U.S.-Mexico border is already excessive. What makes matters worse is that there are no checks and balances” on border patrol activities, Ramirez said.

Border patrol officials were not immediately available for comment.

© 2013 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.
Source: NEWSmax.com!

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