national security

In support of “deportation raids”

Pres. Trump’s new drive for swift deportation of illegal aliens began on Sunday, July 14.  Now we see the predictable hysteria from open borders advocates. 

Here’s a great explanation of the fundamental necessity of deporting illegal aliens. The writer, Brandon Judd, is president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), representing approximately 16,000 Border Patrol agents.

We’ve added bold font for emphasis to parts of his discussion.

ICE DEPORTATION RAIDS – HERE'S THE TRUTH (THAT EVEN PELOSI AND CLINTON DON'T WANT TO ADMIT)

By Brandon Judd, Fox News, July 14, 2019

[abstract below; see the full article here]

Our nation’s capital is paralyzed by political gridlock. Democrats and Republicans often refuse to fight through the gridlock, and the American people they are supposed to serve pay the price. There is no better example of this than our illegal immigration disaster.

The United States became the greatest nation on earth because of our Constitution, which is the foundation of the laws that govern our land.  From the beginning of our country’s history, we’ve believed in the rule of law which has provided opportunity and prosperity to all who reside within our borders.  We are the envy of the world – which is the reason we face illegal immigration rates not seen by other nations year after year.

Given our prosperity, freedom and opportunity, it is unfathomable that Democrats are so intent on destroying one of the pillars that has supported our great nation for so long, the rule of law.

Consider three of the countries from which so many people are fleeing today –Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador.  All three countries are rich in natural resources. All three countries have seaports, which allow for trade with other countries. They all have an able and willing workforce. So why aren’t they prosperous? Because all three countries have governments that fail to uphold the rule of law.

Consider Mexico and its gun laws. 

Of all the nations that hold free elections, Mexico has some of the strictest gun laws.  Notwithstanding those laws, Mexico has the highest murder rate of all free nations. And most of the murders are committed with illegal firearms.

They have extremely tough gun laws, but because bribery runs rampant and the laws aren’t evenly enforced, they mean nearly nothing. Many of Mexico’s citizens who can’t bribe their way out of obeying gun laws are ruled over by armed mobs of drug traffickers, common thugs who have zero respect for laws.

Mexico’s gun laws sound eerily similar to our immigration laws. The United States has some good immigration laws. The laws are intended to provide for an orderly immigration system. Immigration is supposed to work for the benefit of the United States, not for the benefit of lawbreakers who have no respect for our laws.  We are a country of immigrants, most of whom came to the United States legally.  The U.S. accepts more legal immigrants than any other nation in the world, yet we still have an illegal immigration problem that is out of control.

The major breakdown and the key magnet drawing people to cross our borders illegally is our failure to enforce the laws that currently exist.

The highly-publicized Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids which kicked off Sunday are the only examples you need to see in order to understand the complete breakdown in the rule of law. This breakdown is why people from other countries feel so empowered to come to the U.S. illegally.

Some of the most powerful people in the United States, including Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and former first lady, Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, are helping people in the United States evade justice.

Nobody should wonder why we face a crisis at the border greater than anything we experienced during the Obama administration.

Powerful people are intent on upending the rule of law.  They would rather see the fabric that made our society the envy of the world torn to shreds, traded for personal power and political gain. 

Incessantly attacking, dehumanizing and endangering our law enforcement officers and agencies who are simply trying to enforce the laws that our legislators enacted in the first place is wrong.

Attacking the rule of law is wrong.

If this continues we face a fate similar to the countries so many are fleeing.

Some New York Clerks Refuse To Issue Driver’s Licenses To Illegal Aliens Under New Law

Some county clerks in upstate New York say they will refuse to comply with the state’s new law granting driver’s licenses to illegal aliens.

Clerks in Erie, Rensselaer, Niagara and Allegany counties say they won’t adhere when the law, signed Monday by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, takes effect in six months.

“In the memo of the bill, they talk about the reason why they’re passing this bill is to make sure that people who are here illegally can get to and from work,” Erie County Clerk Michael Kearns said, according to the New York Post. “It is illegal to hire people in the state of New York or anywhere that are here illegally. There’s an inconsistency there.”

 

 

In a letter to County Aattorney Michael Siragusa, Kearns asked for state representation in a lawsuit over the legislation in federal court, WIVB in Buffalo reported.

“After a review of the act, I am convinced that it is inconsistent with federal law,” Kearns wrote in the letter. “More importantly, however, complying with the act puts me and other county clerks in the untenable position of having to decide whether to uphold federal law or the newly enacted state law. I anticipate being sued in either event.”

Kerns said motor vehicle agencies in the area will instead send applicants who state employees believe are in the country illegally to the bureau in Syracuse.

"Speaking with WIVB, Kearns also reportedly suggested the bill may be a violation of the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, which would make it illegal to knowingly hire illegal immigrants,” Fox News reported.

"When asked if he is prepared to lose his position if he doesn’t comply with the law Kearns told the television station, “He [Governor Cuomo] has the power. However through my research, working through my legal team, we have to be charged. There has to be some charges, and I get to answer those charges. It’s almost one of those things we’re preparing for. I hope it doesn’t happen.”

Cuomo’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request for comment. His support for the bill appeared in doubt Monday after he voiced concerns that U.S. immigration officials could use state license information to target immigrants for deportation.

The governor asked for a legal review by the office of Attorney General Letitia James, who said she supports the bill but wouldn’t speculate on the federal response.

Supporters of the bill include the state Business Council and immigrant advocates who think licenses would help immigrants get jobs.

Republican lawmakers argue that illegal immigrants shouldn’t be rewarded for violating the rules.

Cuomo signed the Green Light Bill into law Monday night, making New York the 13th state to allow foreigners in the U.S. illegally to obtain driver’s licenses.

Kearns told 7 Eyewitness News “I’m not going to break the law. I can’t, in good conscious, do this.”

“It’s more than just driving. It’s a privilege. It’s a gateway document, it’s a breeder document, and I’m not going to be a part of that,” Kearns said.

illegal to knowingly hire illegal immigrants,” Fox News reported.

Can we accommodate the poor of the whole world?

We hear so much angst from the media about compassion, welcoming the stranger, the Statue of Liberty, immigrants made this country, etc. – below is a sober, up-to-date, realistic account showing the fast-approaching consequences of open borders policies being forced on citizens by current politicians.

We need to elect sensible, honest people to Congress and state legislatures who put the interests of U.S. citizens first, respect our history and laws, and will actually enforce necessary limits on immigration.  “Throw the bums out!”   See here to learn who the Oregon bums in Congress are.  Some more information on Oregon’s bums and braves is here.  Let’s look around for replacements of the bums.

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The Next Influx: The Entire World's Poor and Dispossessed;

Tens of Thousands of "Exotics" and "Extra-Continentals" from around the Globe Moving Through Panama, by Todd Bensman, Center for Immigration Studies, July 1, 2019

EXCERPTS ONLY: See the complete article here.

Like the proverbial "bulge in the belly of the snake," unusually high numbers of non-Latino migrants, obviously not from Central America, are now reportedly passing from Colombia through Panama on their way to the U.S. southern border. Their numbers range to the tens of thousands, whose vanguards we have already seen at the U.S. Southwest Border in recent months: Cameroonians, Ghanaians, Congolese, Haitians, Cubans, and some from the Middle East.

Word of their successful entries into the United States this year clearly reached home countries because now a swell numbering as many as 35,000 is on an infamous migrant passage through which migrants have long funneled from South America to North America: the Darien Gap.

I am told this by two eye-witnesses who have just returned from the Colombia-Panama region on either side of the Gap. One of them is Panama-based author and freelance journalist Chuck Holton, who just visited the Colombian side in the frontier border town of Turbo, which is notorious as a migrant staging area for U.S.-bound migrants to be smuggled through the Darien Gap passage into Panama. The other source is Diane Edrington, a Mississippi-based nurse practitioner who has worked for years as a Panama Missions volunteer and who just returned from camps I visited in December on the Panama side of the Darien Gap.  ...

Holton told me he interviewed many migrants on the Colombian side who uniformly told him they decided to go to America, claim asylum, and take advantage of the disarray and laws about which they've all heard, from media reporting and those who already made it, that guarantee they will get to live and work for years in the United States, and probably permanently.

"'Trump wants to keep us out, but he can’t do it,'" Holton said he was repeatedly told in Turbo, Colombia as African migrants were preparing to board boats to the jungle trails for 10-day, smuggler-led wilderness treks into Panama. "They were very clear about that. 'If I can get in now, I'm going to get while the getting’s good.'"

Holton said everyone knew to go to American "sanctuary cities," where local authorities won’t cooperate with Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"They have some level of understanding of what a sanctuary city is. 'If we can get to one of those they won’t mess with us; They won’t get us out.'"

The migrants he interviewed also were well aware of the time it takes for their asylum claims to be processed in a severely backlogged American system and that this was a major factor in deciding to leave home. (Migrating for improved lifestyle or economic reasons is not among the factors covered by U.S. asylum law).  ...

Control Flow Policy Out of Control

After my own trip to Panama and Costa Rica, I disclosed the existence of a formal bilateral policy by which both countries systematically transport migrants coming off the Darien Gap through their own territories and on to Nicaragua, where the smugglers can pick them up and keep them moving to the U.S. border.

Controlled Flow would likely spark controversy in the United States if anyone knew about it. The way it works is that Panama feeds, houses, shelters, and medically treats the migrants it collects out of the Darien jungle, then puts them on buses and hands them off to the Costa Ricans, who likewise move them to Nicaragua’s border. In this way, neither country gets stuck for long with large numbers of unwanted migrants, even though this just passes the hot potato problem to the U.S. southern border.

But now, according to Edrington and Holton, the policy is out of control due to the overwhelming pressure of the new influx. …

Of National Security and Marshall Plans

The policy implications of this new higher traffic coming at the border is at the very least two-fold.

During the Democrat presidential debates, candidates put forth as a primary solution to the Central American illegal immigration crisis at the southern border a "Marshall Plan," ala the economic rehabilitation of Europe after World War II, by which Americans would invest billions to build the economies of Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. The idea, according to candidates like San Antonio’s Julian Castro, is that a Marshall Plan would reduce the economic push factors driving hundreds of thousands of migrants to the southern border.

The new influx on its way to the American border puts this idea to a harsh logic fallacy test.

If a Marshall Plan is the ideal solution for mass migration influxes from wherever, what then about Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Cuba and any other country whose population suddenly decide to transfer over the American border? How about a Marshall Plan for the entire world of impoverished nations? These questions should be raised when this particular influx hits the border in earnest.

Secondly, the new influx also must raise security questions when it starts to wash over the border. Migrants from the Middle East and Muslim-majority nations where terrorist organizations operate are in this extra-continental flow and often arrive with no verifiable identification. That’s a national security vulnerability that must be adequately acknowledged and dealt with, especially when one considers reporting about this reputed ISIS plot to send operatives over the U.S.-Mexico border and the recent apprehension in Nicaragua of two Iraqis and two Egyptians reputed to be affiliated with ISIS.  …

Lastly, American lawmakers will need to consider the broader question of how to turn off this flow at its Panamanian and Costa Rican spigot, wide open now due to the Controlled Flow policy. One way, as I've also suggested among this list of eight policy recommendations, is for the United States to help Panama pay for a nonstop airlift of repatriation flights to homelands all over the world. …

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Read the full article at:  https://cis.org/Bensman/Next-Influx-Entire-Worlds-Poor-and-Dispossessed

Trump administration prepares to release Central American migrants 'across the entire nation'

The Trump administration is preparing to send Central American migrants caught along the southern border to Border Patrol stations "across the entire nation," according to a senior Border Patrol official who confirmed the plans Friday.

With more than 4,500 people being caught each day crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, the agency has run out of room at its Border Patrol facilities in the four border states. The agency has started looking at its facilities around the country, which are mostly along the northern border with Canada and coastal states.

That means states from Oregon to North Dakota to Maine may begin receiving planeloads of migrant families in the weeks to come. On Tuesday, Customs and Border Protection sent its first plane full of migrants from Texas to San Diego.

The official confirmed reports on Thursday that the Florida counties of Broward and Palm Beach are under consideration given the size and capabilities of Border Patrol stations in the South Florida region. But he did not say if the decision is final or when the flights would start.

More: Record number of migrants puts 'severe pressure' on Border Patrol facilities

Asked whether any federal funds would be provided to help local communities deal with the relocation of migrants, the CBP official on Friday said he was not "aware" of any such plans.

The CBP official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to brief reporters on the agency's internal discussions, said politics is not playing a role in its search for places to process and release migrant families despite President Donald Trump's commentsthat he wants to send migrants to so-called "sanctuary cities" that do not fully cooperate with federal immigration officials.

"Due to the fact that Democrats are unwilling to change our very dangerous immigration laws, we are indeed, as reported, giving strong considerations to placing Illegal Immigrants in Sanctuary Cities," Trump tweeted last month.

Instead, the CBP official said they are searching only for Border Patrol facilities with the space and computer systems necessary to process large number of migrants each day. The official said the agency is not sending migrants to parts of the U.S. closest to their requested destinations, but making transportation decisions solely on each Border Patrol station's ability to receive large numbers of migrants.

Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw said on Thursday that he was told by local Border Patrol officials to expect flights to start arriving in the area within two weeks, and that South Florida would receive about 1,000 migrants a month.

Officials in both counties complained that the transfers are coming with no apparent plan to house, feed, or care for the migrants after they're released from custody.

Migrants to Florida? Broward and Palm Beach officials worry about migrants dumped in their communities

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican and ardent supporter of Trump, said he didn't know much beyond news reports about plans to release migrants in his state. But he said that if true, it would be a big problem.

"We cannot accommodate in Florida the dumping of unlawful migrants into our state. I think it will tax our resources, our schools, the healthcare, law enforcement, state agencies," he said after a bill-signing ceremony Friday, according to the Miami Herald.

The CBP official could not estimate the average cost of each flight. But on Monday, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which operates the flights, issued a public request for a contractor to handle up to 60,000 migrant transfers a year, with the vast majority of them (88%) being transfers by air.

Border Patrol has complained that its facilities have been overwhelmed by the record number of migrant families crossing the border, most of them requesting asylum to stay in the U.S.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which is responsible for interior immigration enforcement and has more detention space available, has also said it's running out of space.

That led Border Patrol agents in March to begin releasing migrants directly into local communities, at bus stations, community shelters, churches and other places along the border. That's been happening in Tucson since March.

CBP tried shuttling migrants between Border Patrol stations along the southern border, sending busloads of migrants from the flooded Rio Grande Valley sector in eastern Texas to other Border Patrol facilities in central and western Texas.

Now, the agency is looking all around the country to find more facilities that can help process the migrants. The migrants would be processed, given a date to appear in immigration court and then released into the community.

U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons: Criminal Alien Report April 2019

The United States having a significant foreign national population residing within the nations boundaries, be they legally or illegally present in the country, unfortunately includes those who commit crimes.

The extent and impact of foreign national crime on the U.S. citizens and residents of this country is clearly revealed by a simple search on the U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) inmates statistics website under the heading of inmate citizenship.

Here are the countries of origin, moreover, the number and percentage of those countries citizens recently incarcerated in the U.S. BOP prison system (Note: The most recent BOP crime numbers available were from April 27, 2019.).

Inmate Citizenship:

- México 21,719 inmates, 12.1 percent;
- Colombia 1,643 inmates, 0.9 percent;
- Dominican Republic 1,444 inmates, 0.8 percent;
- Cuba 1,166 inmates, 0.6 percent;
- Other / unknown countries 8,957 inmates, 5.0 percent;
- United States 145,263 inmates, 80.6 percent;

Total Inmates: 180,192 inmates.

To explain the meaning of these preceding criminal alien inmate numbers and percentages, I will translate them into words:

Combining April 27th BOP criminal alien inmate numbers, there were 34,929 criminal aliens in the BOP prison system. Alien inmates were 19.4 percent of the federal prison population.

With 21,719 Mexican nationals being incarcerated in the BOP prison system, at 62.2 percent, they were the vast majority of criminal aliens in federal prisons.

The U.S. Federal Bureau of Prisons breaks down the federal prison population into 13 types of offenses. One of the top five offenses, the reason inmates are serving time in federal prisons is for immigration crimes. There were 10,946 inmates in the BOP prison system incarcerated for immigration crimes; they were 6.5 percent of the federal prison population.

David Olen Cross of Salem, Oregon is crime researcher who writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. The preceding report is a service to federal, state, county and city elected and non elected governmental officials to help them assess the impact of foreign national crime in the United States of America. He can be reached at docfnc@yahoo.com. His past crime reports can be found at http://docfnc.wordpress.com/.

Unchecked immigration brings dangerous health risks to U.S.

With the unending caravans of migrants overwhelming U.S. law enforcement, there are huge risks to the health of U.S. citizens.  In earlier waves of high immigration, the health of incoming migrants was a chief point of concern.  There was a careful watch to exclude those with communicable diseases.  Now migrants are pouring in completely uninspected.

Some independent voices are trying to raise the alarm, warning of the epidemics of sickness that might spread quickly through our population.

Contagion invasion, by Daniel Horowitz (Part 1):  What ever happened to the principle of protecting our borders against dangerous diseases?  April 17, 2019.  (Part 2):  The untold public health endemic at our borders and beyond   April 18, 2019.

Here are some other good reports on the situation:

Infectious Diseases Making the Border Crisis Worse, by Andrew Arthur, Center for Immigration Studies, March 13, 2019.

Mumps and Other Infectious Diseases Know No Borders, by Matt O’Brien, Federation for American Immigration Reform, March 6, 2019.

“Crisis” of Seriously Ill Migrants Slams Border Patrol — TB, Pneumonia, Influenza, Parasites, report issued by Judicial Watch, Jan. 7, 2019. 

 

Bad bills in Legislature – Read This

Alert date: 
2019-03-16
Alert body: 

Two very bad bills have been introduced in the current session of the Oregon Legislature.

HB 2932 “prohibits courts from inquiring into defendant's immigration status or requiring defendant to disclose defendant's immigration status at time of plea or at any other time during criminal proceeding.  Requires court to allow defendant, upon request, additional time for plea decision after informing defendant about possible adverse immigration consequences of plea. Declares emergency, effective on passage.”

This bill to protect illegal aliens and legitimize illegal immigration, opening our borders to the world without limit, has 26 sponsors, all Democrats, and may be fast-tracked through the Legislature as certain bills were done in the previous session.

A hearing is scheduled for Monday, March 18, at 1 p.m. by the House Judiciary Committee, which has 11 members, 8 Democrats and 3 Republicans.  There seems little doubt the Committee will approve the bill and send it on to the Legislature for a vote.

Please contact your State Representative and urge him/her to oppose this bill. Whether your Representative is a Democrat, a Republican, or other, it’s worthwhile to express your view.  

You can see an Overview of the bill at:  https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/HB2932, and you can sign up there (in upper right corner) to receive notices of further action on the bill.

Statements by citizens on Legislative bills can be emailed to the Committee that’s hearing the bill (if a hearing has been scheduled.)  The email address for such statements is given on the Committee’s website.  Here’s an example of one filed that way:  https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/CommitteeMeetingDocument/173965. Other citizen statements on HB 2932 will appear as they are submitted.  You can check back here to follow them:  https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Committees/HJUD/2019-03-18-13-00/HB2932/Details

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Another bad bill related to immigration which is of concern now is HB 2015It “eliminates requirement that person provide proof of legal presence before Department of Transportation issues noncommercial driver license, noncommercial driver permit or identification card.  Becomes operative January 1, 2021. Declares emergency, effective on passage.”

See Overview of the bill at:  https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/HB2015?pubDate=2019-03-04-16-33.  It was referred to the House Transportation Committee where a hearing has not yet been scheduled.  You can receive notices of actions on this bill by clicking the top-right link on the Overview page.

Illegal immigration problem bursting at the seams

An investigation by the Immigration Reform Law Institute found that over 1.7 million illegal aliens from Central America and Mexico living in the United States have been ordered removed or have pending final orders of removal, but are still living here.

  “Among the roughly 12 to 22 million illegal aliens living in the United States, we have a population greater than the City of Philadelphia’s that has been ordered removed or has pending final removal orders—from Central America and Mexico alone. Instead of taking on more aliens from caravans, our country should expedite the removal of those who have already received due process and been given removal orders.” 

At the southern border thousands of migrants continue to appear, claiming asylum.

“Once released, asylum seekers receive work permits while their often-meritless claims go through the backlogged immigration court system, which often delays hearings for years. Last year, nearly half of the completed asylum cases that involved aliens who claimed credible fear resulted in the alien failing to appear in court or file an application for asylum. Before 2013, around 1 in every 100 arriving aliens claimed credible fear and sought asylum, but today, that number has spiked to 1 in 10 as a result of encouragement and coaching by unscrupulous anti-borders groups.”

Read the full release here:  https://www.irli.org/single-post/2019/03/12/America-‘Bursting-at-the-Seams’-from-Illegal-Immigration

A real national emergency: U.S. besieged by persons defying immigration law

Why do we send our military to protect countries half way around the world while neglecting the safety and well-being of our own citizens by allowing millions of persons to enter and remain here in disregard of our immigration laws?  Their character and purposes are unknown, and events of recent decades show that many have committed terrible crimes against citizens.

President Trump’s declaration of a national immigration emergency has brought high-decibel cries of alarm from open-borders advocates, whose views are generally reflected in the complicit media.  Critics attack the declaration as something unheard of, a grossly inappropriate action.  They want to deflect attention away from the reasons for the declaration, so they claim procedural impropriety and talk about that instead.

Actually, declarations of national emergency are not as exceptional as alarmists claim.  Several reports give background.  Kris Kobach, former Kansas Secretary of State and an expert on immigration law, has spoken clearly on the subject recently. 

Here are excerpts from an article about the National Emergencies Act by Ken Klukowski, senior legal editor for Breitbart News:

              “… Congress enacted the National Emergencies Act on September 14, 1976, two months before Jimmy Carter was elected president. Since that time and beginning with Carter, presidents have declared 58 states of emergency. …

              “…, the longest-running state of national emergency was the first one ever declared under the National Emergencies Act. On November 14, 1979, President Carter signed Executive Order 12170, declaring a national emergency responding to Iran-sponsored terrorism.

              “That emergency is 39 years old, with no end in sight.

              “There are currently 31 national emergencies. These include President Bill Clinton’s declaration of emergency on October 21, 1995, dealing with narcotics traffickers, to President George W. Bush’s declaration of emergency on September 14, 2001, dealing with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, to President Barack Obama’s declaration of emergency on March 9, 2015, blocking property and suspending entry from certain people causing trouble in Venezuela. …

              “Under the National Emergencies Act, President Trump has full authority to declare an emergency regarding the crisis on the U.S. border for many reasons, such an drug trafficking. For example, most of one of the deadliest drugs killing Americans right now, fentanyl, is made in China, but fully 85 percent of that lethal drug enters the United States through the Mexican border. Such a declaration would be consistent in scope and effect with many of the 31 current emergencies.”

Migrant Caravans Prove a Successful Formula for Mass Illegal Entry to US

Portillo, 38, said she joined the migrant caravan after hearing about it on social media. She brought her 6-year-old daughter from Honduras.

"I was coming with the original caravan that was going to Tijuana, but the first people that arrived in Tijuana were causing trouble, so I decided to sidetrack and not continue on with the group," Portillo said on Feb. 15, through a translator.  "When this other caravan started coming over here, I joined it."
 
She arrived in Piedras Negras, Mexico, on Feb. 4 with 1,800 other mostly Central American migrants, and has been staying in an old factory. Mexican officials say the de facto migrant camp will be cleared out by Feb. 21.
 
Portillo said that while she was in Tapachula, Mexico, the United Nations gave her 3,700 pesos (US $193) for her daughter, to help with food and other necessities.
 
As with many other migrants, Portillo had been told she could easily walk into the United States and claim asylum. However, in reality, it's not quite so simple, as she discovered when she arrived at the old factory after being transported in buses and trucks most of the way.
 
Mexican authorities issued Portillo and her daughter humanitarian visitor visas that are good until July 2020. But she wants to cross to the United States and apply for asylum as soon as possible.
 
Dispersing the Caravan
 
Over the past week, the caravan of mostly Central Americans has been broken into smaller groups and bused to other border cities in Mexico, including Juarez, Acuata, Reynosa, and Matamoros. On the U.S. side of those cities are El Paso, Del Rio, McAllen, and Brownsville.
 
Piedras Negras Mayor Claudio Bres told Mexican media that about 500 of the migrants have had their legal stay in Mexico rejected and now have 30 days to leave the country. Many others were granted a one-year humanitarian visa to live and work.
 
At least 100 criminals were identified among the migrants and subsequently deported, according to Secretary of Public Security of Coahuila José Luis Pliego Corona.
 
About 25 MS-13 gang members who travelled with the caravan also have been deported, according to Coahuila Gov. Miguel Riquelme.
 
"We had around 10 gang members identified. Today, there are around 25 identified, who have been deported by [our] joint efforts with the Mexican government," Riquelme told Mexican media on Feb. 18.
 
President Donald Trump signed a national emergency declaration on Feb. 15, saying the southern border is in crisis. The administration has identified $6.1 billion in the defense budget and $600 million from the Treasury Department to reappropriate toward building more fencing along the border.
 
"If you're going to have drugs pouring across the border, if you're going to have human traffickers pouring across the border in areas where we have no protection, in areas where we don't have a barrier, then it's very hard to make America great again," Trump said on Feb. 15.
 
Marvin Ruiz, 26, said he's fleeing the MS-13 gang, whose members tried to recruit him in Honduras. He said he heard about the caravan on social media and left his wife and child to join it.
 
"My wife and child are in danger now, but I didn't have the finances to bring them," he said.
 
Ruiz has a visitor visa for Mexico that expires in February 2020, but his goal is to get into the United States.
 
"Yes, I will cross river illegally. At the right time, I will go across," he said. He said he has a relative in Georgia.
 
Araceli Davila, 42, traveled from El Salvador with her two children, aged 24 and 14. She also heard about the caravan through social media. She only has a 45-day temporary permit, which expires on Feb. 23. Davila said she applied for a humanitarian visitor visa when in Tapachula, but left with the caravan before she received it.
 
"My brother lives in North Carolina, and I want to go there and work," she said.
 
Illegal Crossings Spike
 
Even running at 150-percent capacity, Customs and Border Protection in Eagle Pass, Texas, can only handle around 20 asylum claims per day.
 
Consequently, illegal crossings into the United States have surged in the area, and Border Patrol has been busy rescuing migrants who attempt to cross the deceptively swift and deep Rio Grande.
 
Many small groups cross easily from Mexico onto one of several small islands in the river under the international bridges; but the second part of the crossing is highly risky.
 
On Feb. 18, border agents saved a 12-year-old Honduran boy's life after hauling him unconscious from the Rio Grande, as he tried to cross with his brother and a Nicaraguan man. Agents pulled the boy's limp body onto their boat and resuscitated him with CPR, according to Customs and Border Protection.
 
"This incident highlights the dangers of attempting to enter the United States illegally," said Del Rio Sector acting Chief Patrol Agent Matthew Hudak. "If not for the training and quick response by our marine agents, this young boy would have lost his life."
 
On the same day, Border Patrol agents arrested a 35-year-old Honduran who crossed illegally into the United States. The man was a confirmed member of the MS-13 gang who had previously been deported in 2006.
 
"Violent criminals continue to illegally cross the border and attempt to enter the United States," Hudak said.  "Our agents remain vigilant to prevent these types of criminals from entering and harming our communities."
 
The Epoch Times watched several groups attempt to cross the river on Feb. 16, with most getting into distress and having to be rescued, while some retreated to Mexico.
 
Border Patrol agents joked that their boat is called "the ferry"—as they basically ferry illegal crosserrs to the United States.
 
Border Patrol apprehended almost 400,000 illegal border crossers in fiscal year 2018. The volume this fiscal year is on target to hit 600,000. Border Patrol agents have encountered 58 groups of 100 or more people so far this fiscal year, compared to 13 total in fiscal 2018.
 
On Feb. 19 Mexican media reported violence on the country's southern border, as a group of at least 600 migrants from Central America forced its way over the border, throwing rocks at police.
 
Caravan Rumors
 
Rumors and folklore are rife in the migrant caravans and this one was no exception. When asked who was organizing it, several people mentioned a Honduran man named Carlos, an unnamed Mexican man, and a lawyer.
 
Portillo said a Mexican man joined the caravan as it passed through Oaxaca, Mexico, and took over the organization, escorting it all the way to Piedras Negras. She said the migrants were told to do what the man said, and that he was getting paid a lot of money to make sure they got to the U.S. border. Portillo couldn't provide the man's name, but said he had already gone back to get another caravan organized.
 
Ruiz said the lawyer was advising them on what to say, what to watch out for, and what to expect when entering the United States.
 
San Diego-based open borders group Pueblos Sin Fronteras ("People Without Borders") has been involved in assisting previous caravans, but there were no verifiable ties to this one. The group provided major assistance to last year's caravan that ended up in Tijuana, Mexico.
 
Another group, Los Angeles-based Al Otro Lado ("To the other side") was also in the Tijuana migrant camp advising migrants on the asylum process and how to deal with certain questions.
 
"It's important to be eligible for asylum," the organization's litigation director, Erika Pinheiro, said over a loudspeaker at the migrant camp at the Benito Juarez sports complex on Nov. 19.
 
"[Withholding of removal] is not a road towards residency and citizenship. That is, you'll only have a work permit; you'll never be able to leave the United States; you can't apply for your family members; you can't vote in the United States. Basically, you won't be deported but it doesn't have many benefits."
 
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen traveled to El Salvador on Feb. 20 to meet with her counterparts from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador to discuss migration and security issues in the region.
 
The meeting is part of a campaign to step up cooperation in the region to bolster border security, target human-smuggling and trafficking organizations, prevent the formation of new migrant caravans, and address the root causes of the migration crisis, according to a Homeland Security statement.
 
The Trump administration announced a $10.6 billion foreign aid package for southern Mexico and Central America on Dec. 18.
 
The administration is also expanding the scope of the Alliance for Prosperity plan that began at the end of 2014. It was started by Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador and has been supported each year since by a U.S. congressional allocation of $460 million to $750 million.
 
The plan was based on a similar one in Colombia that helped to dismantle drug cartels, increase security, and foster economic activity.
 
About half of Central America's population located in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras—lives in poveerty, according to State Department estimates.
 
In 2015, El Salvador and Honduras had the highest global rates of intentional homicides, respectively, according to data from the United Nations. And although the homicide rates in both countries dramatically declined in 2017, according to State Department data, they still exceed those of most countries in the region.
 
However, the migration flow is primarily driven by economic concerns and lack of economic opportunity, and poverty and localized violence aren't grounds for asylum under United States and international law.
 
Asylum-seekers need to prove that they have suffered past persecution or have a well-founded fear of future persecution in their home country because of their race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.
 
But persecution is generally considered state-sanctioned or -condoned, which means the government of the alien's home country is the sponsor of the persecution. For example, in North Korea, the regime itself persecutes Christians

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