drugs

Illegal immigrants who commit crimes face lesser punishment than U.S. citizens

According to Sen. John McCain, a member of the Senate’s Gang of Eight, criminals will not be legalized under the proposed bipartisan immigration bill.

“Anyone who has committed crimes in this country is going to be deported,” the Arizona Republican declared on the Senate floor last week.

However, as Washington Examiner columnist Byron York recently reported, “the bottom line is an immigrant could have more than three misdemeanor convictions in his background check and still qualify for legalization.”

Furthermore, the following chart published June 21 by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, a nonprofit organization that opposes liberalization of immigration law, compares the consequences for an array of crimes and discovered that while illegal immigrants might be exonerated and legalized, U.S. citizens and legal immigrants face years of incarceration or temporary expulsion from the country.

The Gang of Eight’s bill would allow illegal immigrants who entered the country before Dec. 31, 2011, and committed up to three misdemeanor offenses including but not limited to assault, battery, identity or document fraud, tax evasion, to remain eligible for Registered Provisional Status. Meanwhile, U.S. citizens and persons who entered the country legally could incur up to $100,000 in fines,15 years of imprisonment, or be prohibited to reenter the country for up to 10 years.

“What it [the Gang of Eight bill] indicates is this is more than just an amnesty, it’s an amnesty for all kinds of violations,” said FAIR’s media director, Ira Mehlman. “We say nobody is above the law, but apparently illegal immigrants are.”


 

Multnomah County: Mexican Drug Cartels Issue a Prescription of Death

A well known fact, most of the illicit drugs killing Oregonians are produced, manufactured and smuggled into the state by drug cartels operating out of Mexico.

On June 4th the Oregon Medical Examiner (OME) reported 223 deaths in 2012 were caused by the illicit drugs; the preceding number of drug deaths being third highest number since 2002. The types of drugs by the numbers that killed 223 of the state’s residents last year were 147 from heroin, 19 from cocaine, 93 from methamphetamine or 33 from a combination of the preceding drugs.

When it came to illicit drug related deaths in the state last year, according to the OME, Multnomah County had the dubious distention of leading all 36 Oregon counties with 103 illicit drug related deaths (80 heroin, 15 cocaine, 28 methamphetamine or 18 from a combination of drugs).

Putting these numbers into perspective, Multnomah County residents are approximately 19.05 percent of Oregon’s population of 3.83 million, yet the county experienced 46.13 percent of the states illicit drug deaths.

Not only last year, but over the last seven years Multnomah has led all Oregon counties in OME reported illicit drug related deaths by number and percentage:

- 2006 the county had 95 drug deaths (44.60 percent);
- 2007 the county had 101 drug deaths (47.64 percent);
- 2008 the county had 106 drug deaths (46.28 percent);
- 2009 the county had 94 drug deaths ( 44.13 percent);
- 2010 the county had 87 drug deaths (43.50 percent);
- 2011 the county had 119 drug deaths (49.58 percent);
- 2012 the county had 103 drug deaths (46.13 percent).

Totaling the preceding numbers from seven years of OME reports, Multnomah County had 705 of the 1,530 illicit drug related deaths recorded in the state; 46.08 percent of the states drug deaths.

Moving beyond the OME report’s body counts, a look at the current Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC) prison population gives a picture of who is most likely dealing the drugs killing the state’s residents.

On May 1st in the DOC prison system there were 166 foreign nationals (prisoners with immigration detainers) incarcerated for drug crimes, 151 of those prisoners declared their country of origin being Mexico, that’s 91.00 percent of the foreign nationals in prison for drug crimes.

Locally, cases adjudicated in Multnomah County Circuit Courts have sent 46 Mexican nationals (30.46 percent of Mexicans convicted in the state for drug crimes) to serve time in DOC prisons.

A reasonable solution, to reduce future drug deaths, to keep the Mexican drug cartels in-check, to keep the drug cartels from easily distributing cartel drugs, drugs that are killing far too many of the county’s residents, Multnomah County’s elected officials, the county commissioners and sheriff, shouldn’t equivocate about providing the resources to enforce of the state’s drug laws.

Furthermore, the county commissioners and sheriff should put aside any pretense of political correctness about offending the county’s Hispanic community, many whom are undocumented residents, and fully cooperate with all federal law enforcement agencies, like Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) agency, because the illicit drugs poisoning and killing the county’s residents don’t discriminate against any one communities race, religion, country of origin or immigration status.

David Olen Cross of Salem writes on immigration issues and foreign national crime. He can be reached at docfnc@yahoo.com.

Fuel-saving measures hamper Border Patrol efforts

Budget cuts have hampered the U.S. Border Patrol’s work in its busiest sector on the Southwest border, agents said Friday, with the agency introducing fuel conservation measures in the Rio Grande Valley that have agents patrolling on foot and doubling up in vehicles.

The Border Patrol instituted the changes after the across-the-board government spending cuts known as sequestration. The constraints come as Congress moves deeper into the debate over comprehensive immigration reform and Republican legislators push for stronger border security components as a precursor to any path to citizenship for immigrants who have entered the country illegally.

 

Drug fighters run on fumes

COQUILLE — After 25 years of battling crime, the area’s multi-agency anti-drug task force could run out of money in a little more than a year.

Running out would force the South Coast Interagency Narcotics Team to depend on already cash-strapped local governments.

Cal Mitts, SCINT’s director, said the team has enough grant money to continue operations for approximately 14 months.

The team, which borrows detectives from local police agencies, leads anti-drug investigations by its member agencies. It relies on federal and community grants to pay its staff.

“We’re 100 percent grant-funded,” Mitts said.

The problem? Grants have dried up. And the financial crunch is coming at a time when use of both methamphetamine and heroin is rebounding in the area.

“They’re both up considerably,” Mitts said.

Combating meth has been one of SCINT’s primary missions throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. One of the most noteworthy victories came in 2005, when SCINT and other agencies arrested 15 people in the Barview area in a project named Operation: Black Ice.

The number of meth labs in the area shrank after state legislators moved a key precursor chemical behind pharmacy counters. Starting in 2006, any psuedoephedrine purchase required a prescription.

But shutting down the labs didn’t stop meth. Mitts said criminal drug trafficking organizations in Mexico have filled the gap.

In May, a task force of state and federal law enforcement agencies arrested more than 30 people in Klamath County suspected of operating a meth-trafficking ring.

The Oregon Department of Justice said it had found links between the traffickers and Mexican cartels.

I would comfortably say 90 percent — basically all of our drugs — are coming from south of the border,” Mitts said.

While methamphetamine is seeing a resurgence in the area, its nothing like what’s being experienced with heroin.

Despite popular perceptions, Mitts said heroin has a long history in the area.

“In the ’80s and ’90s, there was a lot more of it,” he said. “It was black tar as opposed to powdered — or ‘gunpowder.’”

Still, Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier — who once served as a special prosecutor for the team — said arrests for the drug were relatively uncommon.

“In the seven years I was there, I could probably count on both hands and my toes the whole number of heroin cases we had,” Frasier said.

But the epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse that hit the nation in the past decade brought with it a new generation of heroin users.

“With the safeguards that have been put in place since that rise, the people who cannot obtain the pain pills that they could in the past are looking on the street,” Frasier said.

Both Mitts and Frasier said heroin is now cheaper on the South Coast’s black market than prescription opiate-based painkillers.

“It’s alarming to see the age demographics,” Mitts said. “They keep getting younger.”

The veteran officer said he’d be hard-pressed to name anyone the team had arrested recently over the age of 30.

Over the past decade, the team has relied heavily on community and federal grants to pay its salaries.

Congressman Peter DeFazio, D-Ore., said that from 2003 through 2010 — the year before the House Republican leadership banned all earmarks — he managed to secure more than $1 million to fund the team. The last earmark was the biggest — about $600,000 — and SCINT has lived on it ever since.

“Unfortunately, the Republican ban on earmarks remains in effect, to the detriment of programs like SCINT, but I will continue to fight to fund it in any way I can,” DeFazio said.

Mitts said the team supplements federal money with smaller community grants, including one from the Coquille Indian Tribe.

Mitts said if the agency can’t secure more outside funding, its only option will be to turn to the county and its partner city governments for help.

“What we’re going to have to see is the different municipalities stepping up,” he said.

But Coos County Sheriff Craig Zanni said his agency is already exceeding its commitment to SCINT.

“We already house the team and fund it by providing staff out of the department,” Zanni said.

More money?

“Unless the commissioners hit the Powerball jackpot, I doubt it,” he said.

In its heyday, SCINT had four detectives, an administrative aide, an intelligence analyst, a director and a special prosecutor. Mitts said he’s currently operating with two full-time detectives.

A few years ago, the team hit its lowest point: a director and one detective. It could return to that level if the grants aren’t renewed within 14 months or so, Frasier said.

In the meantime, SCINT continues to pursue its mission with the resources it has on hand. Mitts said a recent operation targeting a low-income housing development in Empire netted a number of heroin arrests.

The veteran officer said for investigations like that to be successful, the public has to provide information — and then testify in court.

“We can only do so much with anonymous information,” Mitts said.

What about asset forfeiture?

While SCINT today relies on grants for its survival, it wasn’t always that way.

Coos County District Attorney Paul Frasier, who formerly served as a special prosecutor for the team, said that in SCINT’s early days, the team subsisted primarily on asset forfeitures from drug arrests.

In those days, drug task forces nationwide commonly supported themselves by selling cars, homes and other property seized in raids.

Marijuana not methamphetamine, was SCINT’s cash cow.

“The meth cases generally did not generate a lot of forfeitures,” Frasier said. Chemical contamination makes former meth labs unappealing to potential buyers.

In the late 1990s, Oregon voters passed two ballot measures that would inhibit the team’s ability to profit from asset forfeitures.

The first was Measure 67 in 1998, better known as the Oregon Medical Marijuana Act. Because so many marijuana growing operations are being conducted under the auspices of the act, prosecutions and subsequent seizures prove difficult, Frasier said.

Then, in 2000, Oregon voters passed Measure 3, which prevented law enforcement from retaining the proceeds from forfeited assets.

“With the lack of funds being available for SCINT to operate, it basically went into a shutdown mode,” Frasier said.

The Legislature loosened the law in 2008, allowing police to keep as much as 63 percent of forfeiture proceeds. But Frasier said the continued difficulty in prosecuting marijuana growers means the process remains relatively unprofitable.

Lack of options for treating opiate addiction

Increasing opiate addiction on the South Coast is straining the resources of treatment providers.

The area badly needs residential services and increased access to Suboxone for detox purposes, said Diedrie Lindsey, director of ADAPT Counseling and Treatment Services. ADAPT provides drug and alcohol treatment services to people on parole and probation through Coos County Community Corrections.

“With opiate addiction, people get three days into the seizure and they’ll hurt so bad they’ll go out and use,” she said.

Suboxone is a drug containing the semi-synthetic opiate buprenorphine and a chemical called nalaxone, which blocks opiate receptors in the central nervous system. Lindsey said the drug is one of the most effective ways to help patients detox, but he knows of only one provider in the area.

Lindsey said ADAPT sees 16-20 people on parole and probation as part of its contract with Coos County, and about 260 people total.

Border apprehensions wildly exaggerated in formula behind Senate bill, say critics

The 90 percent apprehension goal set by Senate and House bills seeking to rein in illegal immigration while establishing a path to citizenship for those crossing into the U.S. from Mexico is based on fuzzy math, according to critics.

The goal, which is supposed to give teeth to legislation some view as amnesty, would depend on a Department of Homeland Security formula for determining the success rate of catching illegal border crossers. That formula requires visual or physical evidence for determining someone got past the border patrol, evidence that simply isn’t left behind in most cases. The result, say critics, is a wildly exaggerated success rate for catching illegal border crossers.

“To calculate it, border patrol officers go out and look for physical evidence of crossings… you know, ‘I saw this person cross and I didn't get him.’ Or, ‘I saw footprints in the sand,’” John Whitley, an economist who analyzed such statistics while he served as the director of the DHS’s Program Analysis & Evaluation department under President Bush, told FoxNews.com.

The problem is that, no matter how hard border patrol officers try to find physical evidence of successful illegal crossings, they can’t find everything.

“We know that this method of calculation understates the number of successful crossings, because you're excluding anyone you don't have physical evidence for,” Whitley said.

Using that method, Department of Homeland Security data already indicate a border security effectiveness rate of 84 percent -- close to the 90 percent target.

Some congressmen are concerned about the numbers.

“To just look for footprints and have a guesstimate – that would be outrageous,” Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, told FoxNews.com.

“We can't go along with a bill that says, ‘Hey, we have a 90 percent requirement for security’ – when there is no way to verify whether or not the 90 percent is accurate.”

In addition to not being accurate, the DHS methodology presents other problems, according to critics. For instance, an administration looking to artificially inflate the border effectiveness rate could simply call Border Patrol officers off from looking for signs of successful crossings and assign them to other tasks.

“There is no way we could trust this Department of Homeland Security to verify,” Gohmert said. “And there are independent sources that we could trust. We could have drones and other monitoring where we can find out exactly how many make it across without being apprehended.”

Other methods of estimating border crossings show a much lower apprehension rate.

“Survey data, recidivism data, and press reports about the Vader radar system all put it in the 50 percent range,” Whitley said, referring to the DHS’s new airborne Vader radar system which, during a test last winter in the Sonora Desert, indicated that the Border Patrol caught 1,874 people but missed 1,962 who successfully crossed.

The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment on Monday.

But groups that support more immigration said that border enforcement should not be a priority in the first place.

“Government obsession with the particulars of border enforcement metrics misses the point,” said Alex Nowrasteh, an immigration analyst at the CATO institute. “We know from experience that increasing legal immigration opportunities, especially for lower-skilled guest workers, is the best way to eliminate unlawful immigration. Border Patrol should operate as a funnel to channel would-be unlawful immigrants into the legal market rather than an agency that separates willing workers from willing employers.”

Policy questions aside, the formula some say is flawed makes the pending Senate bill being touted by Marco Rubio R-Fla., and others problematic, according to sources on Capitol Hill.

“It doesn’t make sense if you’re allowing the Department of Homeland Security to judge themselves,” a GOP Senate staffer told FoxNews.com. “They can game the system, game the statistics, and then end up meeting the requirements.”

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced Tuesday that he would introduce an amendment that would put Congress, not the DHS, in charge of making the determination about whether the border is 90 percent secure.

“My amendment requires Congress to vote every year on border security. If Congress votes that the border is not secure, elements of immigration reform will cease to go forward and visa programs will be slowed," Paul said in a press release.

As of now, the 90 percent goal remains only that, a goal – and the path to citizenship provisions for illegal aliens would be implemented even if the 90 percent target were not met. The only consequence of not meeting the target is the creation of a government committee that would issue a report with recommendations for meeting the target.

Gohmert says he does not want the bills to pass.

“Let's secure the border. And then we can get a deal worked out very, very quickly after that. But not until the border is secure.”

The writer of this piece can be reached at maxim.lott@foxnews.com or on twitter at @maximlott
 

Drugs, deaths and driver cards

Drug abuse is a deadly problem in Oregon and especially in Marion County as reported in the Statesman Journal.  Certainly, the demand for drugs is high and when there is demand a market is created.  However, is it the intent of the Oregon Legislature to make drug dealing easier?  One would think so with the passage of SB 833, a bill giving driver privilege cards to illegal aliens with virtually useless ID requirements to obtain the card. This appears to be an open invitation for cartel operatives to move into our state and distribute drugs even more easily.

Protect Oregon Driver Licenses has filed a referendum to overturn this egregious law in an effort to slow down drug cartel operatives in Oregon and to protect Oregon's citizens.  Can you help?  Visit ProtectOregonDL.org and find out what you can do to stop the insanity.

 

Marion County drug deaths up in 2012

Nineteen people suffered drug-related deaths in Marion County in 2012 — nearly double the number from 2011, according to statistics released from Oregon’s state medical examiner.

That makes the county one of three in Oregon where drug-related deaths rose last year, while the state as a whole saw a 7 percent drop.

Heroin deaths in Oregon climbed 2.5 percent to 147, the highest number on record. In Marion County, heroin deaths doubled from five to 10 in 2012.

The rise in heroin overdoses is due in part to Oregon’s crackdown on prescription drug abuse, police said.

In 2009, the state legislature passed a law that created a database for doctors and pharmacies to track prescriptions for drugs such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and Methadone. Doctors started uploading information to the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program in July 2011.

By 2012, prescription drug overdose in Oregon dropped by 12 percent.

The problem is that some prescription holders have switched to heroin.

“A lot of people get on (opioids) legitimately from an injury or those types of things,” Salem police Lt. Mark Keagle said. “If people become addicted to Oxycontin, and they cannot get it, then it pushes them to find some medicine or some substance that will keep them from going through withdrawals.”

Prescription Oxycontin commands a street price of up to $60 per pill in Salem, Keagle said. That makes heroin a cheaper alternative.

Unlike prescription pills that stay potent for years, heroin, which is harvested from poppy plants twice a year, loses its potency over a period of months, Salem police Lt. Steve Birr said.

“We can tell when there is a new harvest because we will suddenly have people dropping dead from overdoses,” Birr said. “What got them high one day will kill them the next.”

Also out of sync with state statistics is the number of deaths associated with methamphetamine use in Marion county. Half of the deaths in Marion County were connected to methamphetamine, but the statewide percentage was at 40 percent.

In Multnomah County, where about half of the state’s drug-related deaths occur, methamphetamine accounted for 27 percent.

Dr. Karen Gunson, the state’s medical examiner, thought the proximity of the county’s major cities to Interstate 5 could be one reason why methamphetamine use was higher.

I-5 is a major highway for drug traffickers smuggling methamphetamine from Mexico, which is where most of the meth sold in the U.S. is manufactured, Gunson said. The proximity of cities such as Salem, Keizer and Woodburn to the interstate make them easy points of distribution.
 

MISSING: 266 Illegal Overstays that ‘Pose National Security’ Risks

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cannot find 266 potentially dangerous foreign nationals who have overstayed their visas, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

According to testimony from Rebecca Gambler, director of the Homeland Security and Justice for GAO, on May 21, 2013 before the House Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security, DHS identified 1,901 illegal overstays of concern in 2011. As of March 2013, 14 percent remain missing.

Of those that pose security threats, 266 could not be located, and nine individuals had been arrested.


 

Bruce Broussard and U-Choose Education Forum present: Illegal Immigration

Alert date: 
May 31, 2013
Alert body: 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Monday June 3, 2013

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT:

Debra Mervyn: debrauchoose@gmail.com

 

Sunday, June 16th, 4:00 PM, Channel 11

Bruce Broussard and U-Choose Education Forum present:

Illegal Immigration

Are the new state laws good for Oregon and its citizens?

Should illegal immigrants be given Oregon Drivers Licenses?

How do illegal immigrants impact jobs in Oregon?

Is in-state tuition for illegal immigrants fiscally sound policy when budget short-falls in our higher education system are cutting deeply?

We can do something to counter this new legislation.

Referendum to Voters- Protect Oregon Driver Licenses- www.protectoregondl.org

Bruce Broussard has been a leading and provocative conservative voice in Oregon for over thirty five years. His TV show, Oregon Voters’ Digest focuses on the social and political issues that are important to all the people living in the Pacific Northwest. Bruce will interview two experts on the impact of illegal workers on the nation and on Oregon.

 

  • Jim Ludwick, founder of Oregonians for Immigration Reform(OFIR) , and
  • Cynthia Kendoll, OFIR current president,

They will discuss instate tuition (House Bill 2787), drivers licenses for illegal immigrants (Senate Bill 833), and a referendum being launched by OFIR to enable Oregonians to vote on these very important issues.

Oregon Voters Digest shows are repeated on Tuesdays at 12:00 Noon on Channel 23, and Fridays at 8:00 on Channel 22. Later they will be posted on Oregon Voters Digest’s U-Tube site.

Cartel towns pose challenge for immigration reform

Just across the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, stands a dormitory-style shelter filled with people recently deported from the U.S. and other migrants waiting to cross the border.

The long rows of bunk beds offer immigrants a place to rest on their long journey. But the shelter is no safe haven in a town controlled by the Gulf cartel. Armed men once showed up and took away 15 men, who were probably put to work as gunmen, lookouts or human mules hauling bales of marijuana into the United States.

As Congress takes up immigration reform, lawmakers may have to confront the reality of this place and others like it, where people say the current system of immigration enforcement and deportation produces a constant flow of people north and south that provides the cartel with a vulnerable labor pool and steady source of revenue.

"This vicious circle favors organized crime because the migrant is going to pay" for safe passage, said the Rev. Francisco Gallardo, who oversees immigrant-assistance efforts for the Matamoros Catholic diocese.

If Congress sends more resources to the border, the government will also need to account for shifting patterns in immigrant arrests.

The cartel controls who crosses the border and profits from each immigrant by taxing human smugglers. At the shelter, the cartel threat was so alarming that shelter administrators began encouraging immigrants to go into the streets during the day, thinking they would be harder to round up than at the shelter.

There have been record numbers of deportations in recent years and tens of thousands landed in Tamaulipas already this year, the state that borders Texas from Matamoros to Nuevo Laredo. Arizona is often singled out as the busiest border crossing for immigrants entering the U.S., but more and more migrants are being caught in the southernmost tip of Texas, in the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley sector.

Apprehension statistics are imperfect measures because they only capture a fraction of the real flow, but the arrest numbers are definitely shifting.

Arrests in the Tucson, Ariz., sector dropped 3 percent last year, while Rio Grande Valley arrests rose 65 percent. In March alone, the Border Patrol made more than 16,000 immigrant arrests in the Rio Grande Valley sector, a 67 percent increase from the same month last year, according to the agency.

Immigrant deaths are also up. The sector reported last month that about 70 bodies were found in the first six months of the fiscal year, more than twice as many as the previous year.

The makeup of the immigrants apprehended here is changing, too, driven by people flowing out of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The Border Patrol made 94,532 arrests of non-Mexican immigrants along the Southwest border last year, more than double the year before. And nearly half of those came in the Rio Grande Valley sector.

The Border Patrol is responding by redirecting personnel, including sending most new graduates from its academy to the Rio Grande Valley, according to senior Border Patrol officials.

When immigrants from Central America and Mexico arrive in Matamoros ahead of their trip to America, they are met by smugglers who have to pay the cartel tax for every person they take across the border.

Attempts to cross alone are met with violence. Some immigrants are kidnapped and their families extorted by the organization.

Reported murders in Tamaulipas, the state that borders Texas from Matamoros to Nuevo Laredo, increased more than 250 percent in the past four years, according to the Mexican government. Official statistics are generally thought to undercount the real toll. Soldiers recently killed six gunmen in a clash in Matamoros.

And yet, even with the high-degree of danger for immigrants crossing this part of the border, they keep coming.

Central American migrants continue to use the route up the Gulf Coast side of Mexico and through Tamaulipas because it's the shortest to the U.S., said Rodolfo Casillas Ramirez, a professor at Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales in Mexico City. The smugglers choose the route, and even if immigrants have heard about the violence in Tamaulipas, "they trust that the premium they've paid includes the right of passage," he said.

They continue to leave their home countries for economic reasons. Although the U.S. economy has provided fewer jobs for immigrants during the Great Recession and a long, slow recovery, opportunities south of the border have been even more limited, Casillas said.

That's why the Rev. Alejandro Solalinde, a Roman Catholic priest who founded a shelter for immigrants in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca, said the answer is in regional development, not increased border security.

"This situation has grown because ultimately the migrants are merchandise and organized crime profits in volume," he said during a recent visit to Matamoros.

Rep. Filemon Vela, a member of the House Homeland Security Committee whose district includes Brownsville, said the immigration-reform debate has so far left out discussion of the security and economic development in Mexico.

"The incentive for people to cross over illegally from Mexico will never subside until these individuals feel safe and until they are able to feed themselves and their families," Vela said.

At the 150-bed shelter, more than half of the immigrants have just been deported from the U.S., Gallardo said. The others are immigrants preparing to cross. He said shelter workers constantly chase out infiltrators who are paid by smugglers to recruit inside.

At Solalinde's shelter in southern Mexico, threats from organized crime forced them to bring in four state police officers and four federal ones, who have lived at his shelter for the past year as protection. Solalinde now travels with bodyguards after having fled Mexico for a couple of months last year following threats.

One immigrant at the Matamoros shelter was a 48-year-old man who would only give his name as "Gordo" because he feared for his safety. He said he had arrived two days earlier after traveling from Copan, Honduras. Gordo said he had lived in Los Angeles for 10 years but had been in Honduras for the past four. He was trying to make it back to California, where he has a 15-year-old daughter.

Asked about his prospects for successfully crossing the river, he said: "It's difficult, not so much for the Border Patrol" but for the cartels.
___

Associated Press Writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego contributed to this report.

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