Homeland Security

Obama Responds To Border Crisis by Ordering Even More Incentives for Illegal Entry

Washington, D.C. - June 6, 2014) While an unprecedented number of illegal alien minors surge across the border – incentivized by lax enforcement and promises of amnesty – the Obama administration has just announced it is expanding a program that defers the deportation of illegal aliens. In June of 2012, the Obama administration bypassed Congress with an executive action that put into place Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). The program, otherwise known as the DREAM Act, grants a reprieve from deportation and work authorization to broad categories of “young” illegal aliens. Yesterday, the Department of Homeland Security announced that a two-year renewal process has begun and encourages those not already enrolled to do so.

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for America Immigration Reform (FAIR) called yesterday’s action “reckless and irresponsible.” Stein observed that, “even while we’re watching the chaotic result of this administration’s non-enforcement policies at the border, the president is implementing even more incentives guaranteed to create more chaos.”

According to White House sources, the number of unaccompanied illegal alien minors entering the United States could be more than 60,000 this year, a 90 percent increase over 2013 and up to 130,000 by 2015. A recent memo from the Border Patrol estimates the numbers could be even higher. The surge is overwhelming local border officials and forcing them to transport the aliens further north for processing and release.

Since its implementation in 2012, more than 560,000 illegal aliens have applied for relief from deportation under the DACA program. While the program limits eligibility to those who have resided in the United States since June 2007, the message being sent to Mexico and throughout Central America is that illegal entry is rewarded, further amnesty legislation is pending and in its absence, the president will enact it by executive action.

“President Obama has responded to the border crisis by issuing a memorandum ordering a ‘unified and coordinated federal’ response," Stein continued. “It’s laughable because the problem has been created by Obama’s six-year ‘unified and coordinated federal’ campaign to dismantle enforcement. Now he’s pretending to repair the very thing he deliberately broke by expanding benefits.”

“If President Obama believes the flood of illegal alien minors at the border is a humanitarian crisis then he needs to send a strong message throughout Mexico and Central America that the United States will enforce its laws and he needs to discourage parents from sending their children on a dangerous journey north,” Stein said. Renewing a program (DACA) that indefinitely delays enforcement of our immigration laws just perpetuates the problem.”

About FAIR

Founded in 1979, FAIR is the country’s largest immigration reform group. With over 250,000 members nationwide, FAIR fights for immigration policies that serve national interests, not special interests. FAIR believes that immigration reform must enhance national security, improve the economy, protect jobs, preserve our environment, and establish a rule of law that is recognized and enforced.

Arizona rushes aid to site holding migrant kids, complains of fed plan bringing them to state

PHOENIX — Angry about the federal government sending from Texas to Arizona immigrants who are in the country illegally, Arizona officials say they are rushing federal supplies to a makeshift holding center in the southern part of the state that's housing hundreds of migrant children and is running low on the basics.

Gov. Jan Brewer's spokesman, Andrew Wilder, said Friday that conditions at the holding center are so dire that federal officials have asked the state to immediately ship the medical supplies to the center in Nogales...

... the (illegal) immigrants were mostly families from Central America fleeing extreme poverty and violence.

...432 unaccompanied minors detained in Texas arrived in Nogales on Friday, with 367 more expected both Saturday and Sunday.

...children will be vaccinated and checked medically. They will then be sent to facilities being set up in Ventura, California, San Antonio, Texas, and Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

...17 or younger. The official estimated three of every four were at least 16.

...the program that has shipped unknown thousands of adult migrants and their children to Arizona since last month shows no sign of stopping, he said...
.
Homeland Security started flying immigrants to Arizona from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas last month after the number of immigrants, including more than 48,000 children traveling on their own, overwhelmed the Border Patrol there.

The immigrant children were flown from Texas, released in Arizona, and told to report to an ICE office near where they were traveling within 15 days.

Brewer sent an angry letter to President Barack Obama...she hadn't received a response to her letter by Friday...

...Officials say about 100 lawyers and paralegals will be enrolled as members of AmeriCorps in a new division called "justice AmeriCorps."

Immigration officials can immediately return Mexican immigrants to the border, but they are much more hard-pressed to deal with Central American migrants who illegally cross into the U.S. In recent months, waves of migrants from nations south of Mexico have arrived in Texas.

The Homeland Security official said that legally, only their parents or guardians can take custody if the government makes the children eligible for release.

DHS releasing into US an untold number of immigrants caught crossing Mexican border

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is releasing inside the United States some immigrants who have crossed illegally into the country amid a surge in traffic across the Mexican border in southern Texas. But how many remains a mystery because the government won't disclose the number.

The Homeland Security Department started flying immigrants to Arizona from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas last month ...

...the immigrants were mostly families from Central America. They were flown from Texas, released in Arizona, and told to report to an ICE office ...

Most immigrants arrested at the border in southern Texas are from Honduras, El Salvador or Guatemala and cannot be immediately repatriated...

Word that immigrant families are being released has spread south...

Earlier this week Obama described the influx of children traveling alone as an "urgent humanitarian situation." The Office of Management and Budget told Congress last month that the government would need an extra $1.4 billion to deal with the situation.
 

 

DHS tells American border guards to run away from illegal immigrants hurling rocks at them, fleeing in vehicles

Top administration officials have directed 21,000 border patrol officers to retreat whenever illegal immigrants throw rocks at them, and to avoid getting in front of foreign drug-smugglers’ vehicles as they head north with their drug shipments.

“Agents shall not discharge firearms in response to thrown or hurled projectiles… agents should obtain a tactical advantage in these situations, such as seeking cover or distancing themselves,” said the instructions, issued Mar. 7, under the signature of Michael Fisher, chief of U.S. Border Patrol.

Agents were also directed to keep their weapons holstered when drug smugglers drive by.

Agents can’t use guns against “a moving vehicle merely fleeing from agents,” say the instructions.

The new instructions do allow agents to use guns to defend themselves from vehicles that drive at them. “Agents shall not discharge their firearms at a moving vehicle unless the agent has a reasonable belief that… deadly force is being used against an agent,” the new instructions say.

However, the instructions also suggest that officers be penalized if they don’t step back. Agents “should not place themselves in the path of a motor vehicle or use their body to block a vehicles’s path,” according to new instructions.

The new curbs were praised by advocates for greater immigration, including Juanita Molina, director of the Border Action Network. New Jersey Democratic Sen. Robert Menendez, and Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Menendez is one of the drafters of the June 2013 Senate immigration bill, which would boost the inflow of legal immigrants and guest workers up to 40 million over the next decade. During the same period, roughly 40 million Americans will turn 18.

 

 

Obama Deportations Definitely Not Record-Breaking

In its first four years the Obama administration deported 3.2 million aliens, averaging just over 800,000 per year. Pro-amnesty advocacy groups, administration officials, lawmakers, and lazy reporters all have claimed this is a record, but it is not. In fact, according to historical DHS statistics, this is the lowest total and annual average since the mid-1970s.

Bloomberg News reporter Bill Selway wrote this last week:

The ordinances come as Obama's administration has faced pressure from Democratic lawmakers and Hispanic backers to scale back deportations, which hit a record 409,900 in the 2012 budget year. During his five years in office, the Obama administration has sent 1.93 million people back to their home countries, close to what President George W. Bush did in eight years and nearly as many as in the 108 years before Bush took office.

The statistic in the first sentence refers to the number of deportations claimed by ICE for 2012, not total deportations. In order to achieve this "record," ICE juiced its numbers by counting certain Border Patrol cases as ICE removals, which had not been done in prior years. (Border Patrol deportations are usually counted as "returns".) So ICE's deportation record under the Obama administration is about as valid as Barry Bonds' home run record.

Because the Obama administration has blurred the lines of which agencies can take credit for deportations, the only fair way to assess their performance is to count all deportations done by all the DHS agencies. These are reported every year in the DHS Yearbook of Immigration Statistics in Table 39, which shows the number of "removals" and "returns" by all immigration enforcement agencies going back to 1927.

There we find that the total number of aliens "sent back" under first four years of the Obama administration is just over 3.2 million (not 1.93 million, as Selway wrote). This is an annual average of just over 800,000 sent back per year. Official numbers for 2013 have not been released yet, but the total will be about the same, with just over 400,000 Border patrol deportations and about 370,000 attributed to ICE.

That is nowhere near the totals under George Bush's administration, which were over 10.3 million total deportations with an annual average of 1.2 million (see the table below).

 

 

The real record for deportations belongs to the Clinton administration. Obama's total is lower than the last six administrations, even lower than Jimmy Carter's.

Sure, illegal border crossings, which generate the lion's share of all deportations, have slowed some during the Obama administration, and that's one reason why the Border Patrol is deporting fewer aliens, but the plain fact remains that the Obama administration has not deported more people than any recent previous administration – not even close. The other reason the Obama deportation numbers are low is because interior enforcement has been nearly dismantled due to executive-decree amnesties and so-called "prosecutorial discretion," which shields at least 90 percent of the illegal population from enforcement.

The most egregious reporting malpractice in Selway's article is the absurd claim that Obama's deportation numbers are "nearly as many as in the 108 years before Bush took office."

I expect the pro-amnesty advocacy groups to keep spouting bogus statistics to support their outrageous demands for an end to all deportations, but there's no excuse for reporters at national news organizations to keep accepting it at face value.

Mexico kidnappings for ransom surge to unprecedented levels with estimates of victims in the tens of thousands per year.

MEXICO CITY — Even amid an unprecedented rash of kidnappings in Mexico, the snatching of John Jairo Guzman stood out.

Assailants shoved the 41-year-old Colombian into a waiting vehicle in broad daylight on a recent Friday. Luckily, a passer-by used a cellphone to make a video and posted it on YouTube. Within days, three of the assailants were identified as Mexico City policemen.

The officers are now fugitives. Their boss, a supervisor in the internal affairs unit tasked with cleaning up police corruption, denied knowledge of the crime.
But investigators tracked the GPS trail from his radio and his vehicle, putting him at the scene as well. Another video taken by a passer-by later surfaced in which the chief's vehicle is visible at the Sept. 20 crime scene. The supervisor is now jailed. Guzman, the victim, is still missing.

Related: Police linked to mass killing

Guzman's abduction is one of 1,205 kidnappings that had been reported this year in Mexico through the end of September, marking a sharp rise in such crimes. But since the vast majority of Mexican families refuse to report abductions to authorities, in part due to fear of police involvement or dread that criminals will exact revenge for reporting the crime, experts believe the reality is far worse than the official tally.

"The problem is, I would say, almost out of control," said Juan Francisco Torres Landa, a Harvard-trained lawyer who is secretary general of Mexico United Against Crime, a pressure group.

Not only are kidnappings becoming much more common, abduction rings slay more of their victims after they receive a ransom payment than ever before.
"The only thing they want is to get their money," said Jose Antonio Ortega Sanchez, president of the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, another advocacy group. Once payment is made, Ortega Sanchez said, "they just murder them."

The spokesman for President Enrique Pena Nieto on crime issues, Eduardo Sanchez Hernandez, wasn't available Thursday for comment, but he's said previously that authorities have broken up 70 kidnapping rings this year, and that a TV and radio campaign of public service ads urging citizens to tip police to abductions was reaping results.

"At the end of the day, they have substantially increased reports of kidnapping and extortion in comparison to other administrations," Sanchez said.
Sanchez noted, however, that many victims still fail to report kidnappings, and that the real level of abductions is a "black number," or unknown.

A glimpse at the magnitude of the kidnapping surge came Sept. 30, when Mexico's national statistics institute issued an annual report based on extensive house-to-house polling about how often citizens suffer from crime.

The survey found that just over 1 percent of those who'd suffered an abduction reported it to authorities. It estimated the number of kidnappings in the previous year to be 105,682. This includes not only lengthy abductions for ransom, but also what Mexicans term "express kidnappings," in which victims are taken at knife- or gunpoint to ATMs and forced to withdraw cash and turn it over, usually going free after a few hours or a day.

The number also includes migrants taken hostage by organized crime as they travel toward the U.S. border and victims of "virtual kidnappings," in which callers telephone residences, often at random. As screams erupt in the background, callers tell those answering that a child or loved one has just been snatched off the street and demand an immediate bank deposit or payoff.

"The methodology that (the statistics institute) follows is flawless," said Torres Landa. "That number, 105,682, means that there are 12 kidnappings per hour. Twelve kidnappings per hour is credible. ... I frankly believe it."

Even going by official reports of those who file complaints to state and federal authorities, kidnappings are up more than 60 percent this year, Torres Landa said.

Victims range from tycoons to owners of corner businesses.

"Anybody can be kidnapped. In Guerrero (state), you're seeing ranchers being kidnapped who only have six or eight head of cattle," said Eduardo Gallo y Tello, who has been active on the issue since his daughter was abducted and slain 13 years ago.

Anti-crime activists lament both a sharp rise in reported kidnappings and what they say is a lack of government response to the crime wave.
"I've not heard a single authority raise their hand and say, 'I'll be responsible for this problem,' " said Francisco Rivas, head of the National Citizens Observatory, an umbrella group of civil society organizations.

Kidnappings, which arose around 1970 in Mexico, spiked in the latter part of the 1990s but then fell at the turn of the century. They began to rise again around 2007, when organized crime groups took to kidnapping as an alternative revenue source to drug trafficking, and some activists say the groups may be behind roughly half of all abductions.
Pena Nieto came to office 11 months ago promising to reduce soaring homicides, kidnapping and extortion that coincided with his predecessor's all-out war on organized crime. In his state of the union address Sept. 2, Pena Nieto said the murder rate had dropped 13.8 percent. But the figure has been questioned, and his aides have urged Mexican media to downplay coverage of crime.

Ortega Sanchez, of the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, accuses Pena Nieto of engaging in a cover-up.
"The policy of President Pena Nieto is not to talk about (kidnappings) because this frightens investors and frightens Mexicans as well," said Ortega Sanchez. "Mexican media believe this and have stopped talking about it."

Even as officials trumpet new arrests of alleged kidnappers, scattered signs of involvement by corrupt police in kidnapping gangs continue.
In early October, the government announced the arrest of 13 federal police officers in Acapulco, saying they were among an 18-member criminal gang behind four kidnappings and seven murders.

"Almost always in kidnappings, there is a police officer or former police officer involved. This is indisputable," said Isabel Miranda de Wallace, head of a group, Stop the Kidnappings, that she formed after the 2005 abduction of her 25-year-old son. A former state policeman was among those convicted in that case.

She said one of the reasons citizens are reluctant to file reports about kidnappings is the fear that some police are in cahoots with criminals.
"The victims feel vulnerable because they know that whatever they tell police goes straight to the criminals," Miranda de Wallace said.

Another reason is that investigations rarely unfold with rigor, and prosecutions are commonly bungled, experts and activists said. Police have been known to urge victims to lie to help convict presumed kidnappers in other cases by saying they were involved in their own case.

Some 12,000 people are now in prison on charges of taking part in kidnappings, but most are lower-level members of gangs, like guards or food couriers, said Ortega Sanchez.
"They don't catch the leaders, and they form new gangs and keep on kidnapping," he said.

The surge in kidnappings has prompted calls for the government to designate an "anti-kidnapping czar" to force coordination among city, state and federal law enforcement agencies and increase convictions.

"With the creation of an anti-kidnapping czar, we will not see results immediately," Alejandro Marti, father of a kidnapping victim and founder of an activist group, Mexico SOS, wrote in a column in mid-October. But over the longer term, he said, it may help "reduce this crime by a significant amount."

ICE's Chris Crane Blasts Lobbyists Pushing Amnesty

Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) National Council president Chris Crane, who represents about 7,000 ICE agents and support staff, wrote to a group of lobbyists, special interests, and political figures on Tuesday to question why they support granting amnesty to America’s at least 11 million illegal aliens.

“Each of you receiving this letter today has played a major role in pushing so-called ‘comprehensive immigration reform,’ the Rubio-Schumer immigration bill or is pressing the House to advance similar legislation,” Crane wrote to the group of special interests. “During recent years, ICE officers have documented extraordinary political abuses at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and ICE that have threatened public safety and undermined the ability of ICE agents and officers to enforce the laws enacted by Congress."

"I cannot recall any of you speaking out publicly against these abuses or requesting a meeting with ICE Officers to address our concerns,” Crane stated bluntly.

Recipients of the letter included Karl Rove; Chamber of Commerce president Tom Donohue; National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguia; Casa de Maryland executive director Gustavo Torres; National Council of Chain Restaurants executive director Rob Green; American Action Forum president Doug Holtz-Eakin; casino mogul and major GOP donor Sheldon Adelson; Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg; and corporate executives from companies like:

  • General Electric
  • Disney
  • McDonald’s
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Coca-Cola
  • The Cheesecake Factory
  • Hilton Hotels
  • Hyatt Hotels
  • General Mills
  • Wendy’s
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Darden Restaurants (Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse, Seasons 52, the Capital Grille, Bahama Breeze, Eddie V’s, and Yard House)
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Verizon

Also included on the letter were executive of lobbyist associations like the National Association of Home Builders and the American Hotel and Lodging Association.

“ICE officers arguably know more about our nation’s broken immigration system than any group in the United States,” Crane wrote. “Yet President Barack Obama and the Gang of Eight actively prohibited them from having input. Only influential and affluent groups and wealthy individuals like you were given an opportunity to provide real input on our nation’s new immigration laws."

"As ICE officers fought a very public battle seeking to add measures that would provide for public safety and national security, you did nothing to assist or support us, but in fact—through your advocacy – put officers and the public at risk,” he claimed.

“As a result, the Senate passed an immigration bill that will fail America,” Crane wrote. “While this legislation may satisfy your personal financial or political objectives, it undermines immigration enforcement and worsens the immigration problems currently experienced in the United States.”

Crane added that the letter recipients are using their lobbyist influence to “fight for special protections and legalization for violent criminal offenders and gang members illegally in the United States” but they “must realize that in doing so you sacrifice the safety of every man, woman and child residing in the United States, regardless of citizenship.”

“Certainly you must know that when you fight for legislation that protects criminal aliens who assault law enforcement officers, you increase the risk to every police officer, sheriff’s deputy, and federal agent across our nation; officers whose lives and welfare should hold some value to you and the organizations you represent,” Crane wrote.

Crane said it is up the House of Representatives to protect the safety of Americans from lobbyists.

“Only the U.S. House of Representatives now stands between the American people and the potential destruction of federal immigration enforcement,” Crane wrote. “Yet the groups represented on this letter are spending enormous sums of money or wielding enormous amounts of influence in an attempt to intimidate the House into passing a plan similar to that adopted by the Senate – a bill that not one member of the Senate had the time to read before voting on.”

Crane said that America’s future depends on these lobbyists being stopped.

“It is a sad day in America when the political class in Washington, and groups that can deliver votes and money, have more influence in writing our immigration laws than everyday American citizens and the law enforcement officers sworn to protect them,” Crane wrote. “I hope you stand with law enforcement and stand for the rule of law -- if for no other reason than out of compassion for the lives that we can protect if we finally begin to enforce our nation’s immigration laws.”

Crane then turned his attention to directly questioning the intent of these lobbyists’ and special interests’ push for amnesty.

“Are you really willing to support an immigration plan that will put officers and the public in danger simply because it includes special items that advance the financial or political interests of your group or company?” Crane asked. “Are we in law enforcement not worthy of your respect? Do you believe that our experience and advice is without value in creating new immigration legislation?"

"I am requesting a meeting with each of you to discuss the answers to these questions, as well as to speak to you about the field experience of immigration officers and agents who daily witness a side of our nation’s immigration crisis that many in the media and indeed our government actively work to conceal from the American public,” he said.

Many of these special interests actually met with President Barack Obama on Tuesday at the White House to plot out an immigration push on Capitol Hill. Obama met with McDonald’s, Marriott, and other CEOs and executives on Tuesday at the White House to plan an amnesty strategy.

“What's been encouraging is, is that there are a number of House Republicans who have said, we think this is the right thing to do, as well,” Obama said about the meeting, according to USA Today. “And it's my estimation that we actually have votes to get comprehensive immigration reform done in the House right now.”

U.S. Immigration Officers Give Frightening Warning

Chris Crane, president of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Council, which represents immigration enforcement officers, recently called on Congress to resist immigration reforms that harm his officers’ ability to do their jobs:

ICE officers are being ordered by [Administration] political appointees to ignore the law. Violent criminal aliens are released every day from jails back into American communities. ICE Officers face disciplinary action for engaging in routine law enforcement actions. We are barred from enforcing large sections of the Immigration and Nationality Act, even when public safety is at risk. Officer morale is devastated.

If this were the U.S. Capitol Police, the Secret Service, or the military, Congress would be outraged, the President would react firmly and swiftly, and pundits and groups from across the country would be demanding this problem be fixed. Sadly, though, nothing is being done to fix this broken and dangerous state of affairs.

In fact, the situation is even scarier. As the ICE letter points out, President Obama continues to order ICE officers to ignore ever-growing sections of immigration law and undertake actions that create a risk to public safety. The Senate has passed a gargantuan immigration bill that includes mass amnesty, tons of handouts to special interests, and enough waivers and exemptions to make Obamacare officials jealous.

Notably, the Senate bill does little to actually support the hard-working men and women of ICE and other immigration enforcement agencies. Even worse, amnesty would make the work of ICE even more difficult by encouraging more illegal immigration and adding new classes of provisional immigrants who have special rules that apply to them.

It is sad that it has come to this: “ICE officers are pleading with [Congress] to…stand with American citizens and the immigration officers who put their own personal safety at risk each day to provide for public safety.” U.S. law enforcement officers should not have to beg Congress just to enforce existing laws.

Congress should reject amnesty, which would only further harm our immigration officers’ effort, and instead use the budget process to give ICE and other immigration agencies the resources they need to do their jobs effectively. Then Congress should demand that President Obama uphold immigration law, not selectively enforce it.

Report: Deportations plummet in 2013, lowest since 2007

 

Authorities deported fewer illegal immigrants in fiscal 2013 than at any time since President Obama took office, according to secret numbers obtained by the Center for Immigration Studies that suggest Mr. Obama’s nondeportation policies have hindered removals.

Just 364,700 illegal immigrants were removed in fiscal 2013, according to internal numbers from U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement that CIS released Wednesday — down 11 percent from the nearly 410,000 who were deported in 2012.


SPECIAL COVERAGE: Immigration Reform


Homeland Security officials didn’t dispute the numbers, but said their own counts are still preliminary.

The administration has testified to Congress that it has enough money to deport 400,000 every year, but Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies at CIS, said Mr. Obama and the Homeland Security Department have placed so many illegal immigrants off-limits for deportations that they cannot find enough people to fulfill that quota.

“The policies that they’ve implemented, especially prosecutorial discretion and the new detainer policy, are dramatically suppressing interior enforcement,” Ms. Vaughan said. “Even though they are finding out about more illegal aliens than ever before, especially more criminal aliens, the ICE agents in the field have been ordered to look the other way.”

ICE spokeswoman Gillian Christensen said the agency has not tried to hide its new priorities, which have led to changes in the demographics of deportations.

“Over the course of this administration, DHS has set clear, common sense priorities to ensure that our finite enforcement resources are focused on public safety, national security, and border security,” she said.

“ICE has been vocal about the shift in our immigration enforcement strategy to focus on convicted criminals, public safety and border security and our removal numbers illustrate this,” she said.

The CIS report is bound to shake up the immigration debate going on in Congress.

Immigrant-rights advocates argue that Mr. Obama is removing too many people and have called for him to halt all deportations until Congress acts.

Indeed, immigrant-rights advocates cheered the new numbers, saying that if ICE confirms them, it will mean Mr. Obama is beginning to curb excessive enforcement.

“The dragnet deportation of 400,000 immigrants annually does nothing to make our streets safer, and constitutes a huge expenditure of government resources,” said Ruthie Epstein, policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union.

But those who want to see a crackdown say the administration is already ignoring most illegal immigrants, and said the latest numbers back that up.

Ms. Vaughan said that ICE agents and officers are encountering more immigrants than ever, including those with criminal records, which makes the drop in deportations more surprising. She said there’s a “target-rich environment” but the administration has hamstrung deportations.

The 364,700 deportations are the lowest since fiscal year 2007, which was in the middle of the last time Congress debated immigration.

Mr. Obama and his appointees at the Homeland Security Department have issued several policies designed to put illegal immigrants in the interior of the U.S. off-limits from deportations.

Probably the most famous of those is called Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, or DACA, which applies to so-called Dreamers, the young illegal immigrants who were usually brought to the U.S. as minors by their parents and are considered among the most sympathetic cases in the immigration debate.


Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/oct/30/deportations-plummet-2013-lowest-2007/?page=2#ixzz2jJj4nPkx
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Mexican cartels hiring US soldiers as hit men

Mexican cartels are recruiting hit men from the U.S. military, offering big money to highly-trained soldiers to carry out contract killings and potentially share their skills with gangsters south of the border, according to law enforcement experts.

The involvement of three American soldiers in separate incidents, including a 2009 murder that led to last week’s life sentence for a former Army private, underscore a problem the U.S. military has fought hard to address.

"We have seen examples over the past few years where American servicemen are becoming involved in this type of activity," said Fred Burton, vice president for STRATFOR Global Intelligence. "It is quite worrisome to have individuals with specialized military training and combat experience being associated with the cartels."

"It is quite worrisome to have individuals with specialized military training and combat experience being associated with the cartels."

- Fred Burton, STRATFOR Global Intelligence.

The life sentence handed down in El Paso District court July 25 to an Army private hired by the Juarez Cartel to be the triggerman in a 2009 hit in this border city is the most recent case.

Michael Apodaca, 22, was a private first-class stationed at nearby Fort Bliss Army Base and was attached to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade when he was recruited and paid $5,000 by the Juarez Cartel to shoot and kill Jose Daniel Gonzalez-Galeana, a cartel member who had been outed as an informant for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Apodaca, who was the triggerman in the May 15, 2009, hit, was sentenced in El Paso District Court July 25.

Last September, Kevin Corley, 29, a former active-duty Army first lieutenant from Fort Carson in Colorado, pleaded guilty in federal court in Laredo, Texas, to conspiracy to commit murder-for-hire for the Los Zetas Cartel after being arrested in a sting operation. Ironically, that cartel was itself founded by Special Forces deserters from the Mexican Army.

Arrested with Corley in connection with the case was former Army Sgt. Samuel Walker, 28. He was convicted of committing a murder-for-hire in November 2012 and sentenced to 15 years in prison June 21.

Walker served in Afghanistan with Corley’s 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 4th Infantry Division platoon between 2010-2011. Shortly after their return, they made contact with the undercover DEA agent they thought was a member of Los Zetas.

According to his plea agreement, Corley was introduced to undercover agents posing as members of Los Zetas cartel in September 2011; he admitted to being an active-duty officer in the U.S. Army responsible for training soldiers. He told his contact he could provide tactical training for members of the cartel and purchase weapons for them. In later meetings, Corley discussed stealing weapons from military posts and military tactics. On Dec. 23, 2011, he agreed to perform a contract killing for the cartel in exchange for $50,000 and cocaine.

Burton said some soldiers become corrupted by gangs after joining, while others are gang members who enlist specifically for the training they can get.

“There has been a persistent gang problem in the military for the past six to eight years,” Burton said, adding that cartels greatly value trained soldiers from the U.S., Mexico and Guatemala as sicarios – hit men.

More recently, the May 22 murder of Juan Guerrero-Chapa, 43, a former lawyer for the Gulf Cartel, in a mall parking lot in an affluent suburb of Fort Worth has raised concerns due to the military precision with which it was carried out.

"Obviously, the nature of this homicide, the way it was carried out indicates –– and I said indicates –– an organization that is trained to do this type of activity," Southlake Police Chief Stephen Mylett said following the attack. "When you're dealing with individuals that operate on such a professional level, certainly caution forces me to have to lean toward that this is an organized criminal activity act.”

While Mylett acknowledged the murder was a “targeted affair conducted by professional killers,” he would not confirm or deny suspicions that current or previous military was involved.

“The case is still being investigated,” Mylett said.

A task force consisting of the Southlake Police Department, Texas Department of Public Safety, FBI, DEA, and Department of Homeland Security is investigating the case.

But an expert on Mexican cartels, who declined to be identified, said the “operation was brilliant and disciplined.”

“I would be asking the question -- if military was involved -- if I was leading the investigation based on the MO, geography and precision,” said the expert. “I don't have any information to confirm, but we know that a hit team came in and out and there was also a stand-alone recon team.”

Using American servicemen could make it easier to carry out a murder in the U.S. since they can more easily move across the border. And the lure of quick money has proven tempting for theses soldiers given the dismal military pay scale.

Apodaca’s fee for killing Galaena was nearly three times his monthly pay. A sergeant like Walker makes around $2,500 per month, and Corley $4,500. Both hoped for $50,000 each and drugs from their “Los Zetas” connection.

Growing ties between U.S.-based gangs, which have long infiltrated the military, and the Mexican cartels could be making American soldiers even more readily available to the cartels south of the border. The FBI National Gang Intelligence Center reports its concern with gang members with military training poses a unique threat to law enforcement personnel because of their distinctive weapons and combat training skills and ability to transfer these skills to fellow gang members. As of April 2011, the NGIC has identified members of at least 53 gangs whose members have served in or are affiliated with U.S. military.

According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, Hispanic prison gangs along the Southwest border region are strengthening their ties with cartels to acquire wholesale quantities of drugs. There are also strong indications that in exchange for a consistent drug supply, gangs smuggle and distribute drugs, collect drug proceeds, launder money, smuggle weapons, commit kidnappings, and serve as lookouts and enforcers on behalf of the cartels, according to law enforcement sources.

The NDIC has also found that gang-related activity and violence has increased along the Southwest border region, as U.S.-based gangs seek to prove their worth to the drug cartels, compete with other gangs for favor, and act as U.S.-based enforcers for cartels which involves home invasions, robbery, kidnapping and murder.

Army officials have sought to address the issue of gang and cartel influence within their ranks with tighter recruiting standards. A spokesman told FoxNews.com that current recruiting efforts are much more stringent than even four years ago, and that anyone sporting a gang-related tattoo is no longer accepted for enlistment.

“A person like Michael Apodaca would not even be allowed to enlist today,” Army Maj. Joe Buccino, spokesman for the Fort Bliss Army Base in El Paso, told FoxNews.com. “We’re more selective than during the height of Iraq.”

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