illegal immigration

Gov't acknowledges thousands released from jails

The Obama administration reversed itself Thursday, acknowledging to Congress that it had, in fact, released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants from immigration jails due to budget constraints during three weeks in February.

The director of U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, John Morton, said his agency had released 2,228 illegal immigrants during that period for what he called "solely budgetary reasons." The figure was significantly higher than the "few hundred" immigrants the Obama administration had publicly acknowledged were released under the budget-savings process. He testified during a hearing by a House appropriations subcommittee.

Morton told lawmakers Thursday that the decision to release the immigrants was not discussed in advance with political appointees, including those in the White House or Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. He said the pending automatic cuts known as sequestration was "driving in the background."

"We were trying to live within the budget that Congress had provided us," Morton told lawmakers. "This was not a White House call. I take full responsibility."

The Associated Press, citing internal budget documents, reported exclusively on March 1 that the administration had released more than 2,000 illegal immigrants since Feb. 15 and planned to release 3,000 more in March due to looming budget cuts, but Napolitano said days later that the AP's report was "not really accurate" and that the story had developed "its own mythology."

"Several hundred are related to sequester, but it wasn't thousands," Napolitano said March 4 at a Politico-sponsored event.

On March 5, the House Judiciary Committee publicly released an internal ICE document that it said described the agency's plans to release thousands of illegal immigrants before March 31. The document was among those reviewed by the AP for its story days earlier.

The immigrants who were released still eventually face deportation and are required to appear for upcoming court hearings. But they are no longer confined in immigration jails, where advocacy experts say they cost about $164 per day per person. Immigrants who are granted supervised release _ with conditions that can include mandatory check-ins, home visits and GPS devices _ cost the government from 30 cents to $14 a day, according to the National Immigration Forum, a group that advocates on behalf of immigrants.

Morton said Thursday that among the immigrants released were 10 people considered the highest level of offender. Morton said that although that category of offender can include people convicted of aggravated felonies, many of the people released were facing financial crimes. Four of the most serious offenders have been put back in detention. Other people released include immigrants who had faced multiple drunken driving offenses, misdemeanor crimes and traffic offenses, Morton said.

After the administration challenged the AP's reporting, ICE said it didn't know how many people had been released for budget reasons but would review its records.

Traffic stop leads to drugs, arrests

Drugs discovered during an Albany traffic stop Monday afternoon led detectives to Salem, where police arrested two men suspected of dealing methamphetamine.

About two pounds of meth and more than $5,000 in cash were seized.

Police served search warrants on two Salem residences after midnight on Tuesday, busting open the door of one home.

Albany Police Detective Lt. Brad Liles said local drug investigations often lead police out of Linn County, because major traffickers don’t typically live in the area.

And individuals caught with controlled substances often will cooperate with police, he added.

The little fish will sell out the big fish.

“That’s how the drug world works,” Liles said.

Enrique Gallegos-Zaragoza, 32, and Antonio Mendoza-Garcia, 28, both of Salem, were arrested on charges of delivery and possession of methamphetamine, and delivery of methamphetamine within 1,000 feet of a school.

A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement hold was placed on Gallegos-Zaragoza, who also was charged with first-degree child neglect.

Mendoza-Garcia’s initial bail was set at more than $1 million, and he was charged with endangering the welfare of a minor, as well.

Corvallis police and the Salem task force of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency assisted Albany police in serving the search warrants.

Liles said that after the traffic stop, the driver helped police set up a drug buy with Gallegos-Zaragoza in the parking lot near the Roth’s IGA and McDonald’s off Portland Road in Salem.

Gallegos-Zaragoza was arrested at about 6:30 p.m. Police secured his home in a trailer park off Lancaster Drive until a search warrant was obtained.

Further investigation also led police to a house in the 3900 block of N.E. 39th Avenue.

Early Tuesday morning, police served the search warrants on the residences.

The cash was found at Gallegos-Zaragoza’s home.

Police forced open the door on Mendoza-Garcia’s 39th Avenue residence and found the meth.

Liles said an Albany dealer would typically purchase an ounce of methamphetamine for about $1,000, but broken down into user amounts, the value would be much higher.

Dorchester Conference 2013

Over 200 people attended the 49th annual Dorchester Conference in Seaside, Oregon March 8, 9 and 10th.  The conference is great opportunity for conservatives to get together, talk politics and have some fun.  Check out our photos.

Meth investigation leads to three arrests in Keizer

Three individuals were arrested in Keizer on Wednesday following a long-term methamphetamine distribution investigation.

Keizer Police Department detectives working with the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Salem-Area Task Force along with agents from the Oregon Department of Justice served search warrants at the Platinum Spa Auto Detail on River Road N and at the location at Lana Avenue NE as well as a residence at 5270 Woodwind Court N.

Investigators arrested Samuel Diaz-Zermeno, Cesar Leon-Barbosa and Jesus Leon-Barbosa on charges including unlawful delivery of methamphetamine and unlawful possession of methamphetamine.

The investigation started in 2010 when Keizer police detectives got information that Cesar Leon-Barbosa, who owns Platinum Spa Auto Detail, was selling methamphetamine from his business locations with help of his brother Jesus Leon-Barbosa.

Officials said Diaz-Zermeno was contacted as part of this investigation on Wednesday and was found with one pound of methamphetamine.

Investigators recovered more than one and one half pound of methamphetamine, about one and a half ounces of cocaine as well as scales and more than $67,000 in cash.

The street value for the controlled substances is about $25,000.

The three individuals were booked into the Marion County Corrections Facility.

Officials said the investigation is still on-going and additional charges and additional arrests are expected.
 

ICE HOLD - Samuel Diaz-Zermeno, Cesar Leon-Barbosa and Jesus Leon-Barbosa

HB 2787 - express yourself at the Capitol - March 19th @ 1:00pm

Alert date: 
March 6, 2013
Alert body: 

If you traveled to the Capitol early in the morning for the opportunity to testify against HB 2787 last time and never got to speak, there is another chance.  The bill giving instate tuition benefits to illegal aliens has passed the House and moved to the Senate.  The Senate has announced that there will be a hearing on HB 2787 at 1:00pm on Tuesday, March 19 in Hearing Room C.  Bring quarters for the meter ($1.50 an hour).

This bill is misguided and unfair to US citizens from other states that would like the opportunity to attend an Oregon University.  Please, take the time to come to Salem, testify or lend support to those who do.  If you have questions about what to do, please call 503.435.0141.

Your Legislator is under constant pressure from illegal alien advocates to cave in to their demands.  Ask your Legislator to stop this bill in its tracks.  Oregon should not be usurping Federal law to grant benefits to a special group of illegal alien students.

California man found with 4.5 pounds of meth on a bus near Medford

A Stockton man was arrested Monday for allegedly carrying 4.5 pounds of methamphetamine on a bus passing through Medford.

Police received a tip that Flavio Jaimes-Toribio, 18, was hauling the meth north from California and into Oregon, Medford Area Drug and Gang Enforcement officials said in a news release.

Jaimes-Toribio was charged with delivery and possession of methamphetamine and lodged in the Jackson County Jail on $510,000 bail.

Flavio Jaimes-Toribio - ICE HOLD

 

DHS plans to release 5,000 illegal immigrants due to sequestration

House investigators learned Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials developed plans to release about 5,000 illegal immigrant detainees, although Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has denied responsibility for the decision.

“An internal document obtained by the House Judiciary Committee shows that Administration officials at ICE prepared cold calculations to release thousands of criminal aliens onto the streets and did not demonstrate any consideration of the impact this decision would have on the safety of Americans,” committee chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., announced.

The ICE document contains a table that proposes “reduc[ing] invoiced daily population by 1,000 weekly.” Between February 22 and March 31st, this plan would drop the number of detainees from 30,748 to 25,748.

“The decision to release detained aliens undermines the Department of Homeland Security’s mission to keep our homeland secure and instead makes our communities less safe and more vulnerable to crime,” Goodlatte said. “[R]egardless of sequestration, DHS actually has plenty of funding to pay for the detention of criminal aliens. Unfortunately, it seems Administration officials are more interested in using sequestration to promote their political agenda than as an opportunity to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.”

Napolitano said that it wasn’t her decision, even though ICE is part of DHS. “Detainee populations and how that is managed back and forth is really handled by career officials in the field,” she told ABC.

She also confirmed that the releases would continue. “We are going to manage our way through this by identifying the lowest risk detainees, and putting them into some kind of alternative to release,” Napolitano said at a Politico event, per The Daily Caller.

The New York Times profiled a “low risk” detainee released by ICE. The detainee was taken into custody “when it was discovered that he had violated probation for a conviction in 2005 of simple assault, simple battery and child abuse, charges that sprung from a domestic dispute with his wife at the time.” NRO’s Jim Geraghty asked, “If convictions for ‘simple assault, simple battery and child abuse’ make you ‘low-risk,’ what do you have to do for Janet Napolitano to consider you ‘high-risk’?”

A Washington Narrative Meets Reality

During his visit to El Paso in May 2011, President Obama mocked calls for border security. After declaring that sufficient measures had been taken to stem illegal crossings, he joked that his critics would always demand more, perhaps even calling for alligators in a moat. While the line drew howls from the national media, local residents did not laugh. The quip revealed only ignorance or callousness to the escalating dangers that are part of their daily life. Since that time the administration has repeatedly declared the border more secure than ever while simultaneously making it more vulnerable with executive pardons for whole classes of illegal aliens and calls for a mass amnesty that have triggered an exponential increase in human smuggling.

We got a local perspective of the situation during our recent tour through south Texas. Led by Jerry Kammer, our group followed the Rio Grande from Del Rio to Brownsville on an itinerary that covered more than 1,100 miles. In meetings with various people along the way, common themes emerged: Illegal crossings are soaring, violence and exploitation are routine, and area residents are increasingly alienated.

A group of ranchers who manage game lands about 70 miles from the border told us that they have seen a 500 percent increase in illegal-alien traffic since last summer. In past years the flow has fluctuated with the seasons, but there has been no recent cessation. Nearly every day they encounter groups of illegal aliens who have been left by smugglers to wander the vast landscape. Sometimes they find dead bodies or loads of drugs. The Border Patrol can take hours or even days to arrive because of staff limitations and the agents will not come at all if the number of illegal aliens reported is deemed too small. It is estimated that only 10 percent are detained.

The continuous flow of human traffic requires constant vigilance from the ranchers, who must devote considerable time to managing the dangers and disruptions. Another group we spoke to agreed with this assessment and is working closely with the county sheriff, the state’s Department of Public Safety, and volunteers in attempts to stem the flow.

Throughout the region people told us that illegal crossings have increased significantly. These observations parallel recent trends in Arizona. Just south of Laredo we stopped for a few minutes beside the Rio Grande and happened to see Border Patrol agents apprehend a group of Honduran illegal aliens who had just crossed in the middle of the afternoon. The incident occurred on private property belonging to a couple who told us that foreign nationals cross through their land on almost a daily basis.

A woman we visited near Brownsville told us that the commotion from people crossing regularly wakes her at night. She advised against driving down to the river, which is only a few hundred feet from her house, even though it was midday. She said that a local golf course has recently lost business and that the University of Texas at Brownsville has had to relocate student parking because of gunfire coming from the border.

Two of Mexico’s most notorious gangs, the Zetas and the Gulf Cartel, are headquartered just across the river in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. Their influence has been so devastating to civil society that some observers say Tamaulipas is a failed state. A couple years ago, authorities found the bodies of 72 Central and South Americans who were slaughtered en masse after refusing to work for a drug gang who had intercepted them on their way to America. The violence has eroded any sense of community. Jim Kuykendall, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s office in Guadalajara, told us that public events such as festivals and rodeos no longer take place.

A young woman who manages a motel in Rio Grande City said that her family owns a house just across the river. They have been unable to collect rent from their delinquent tenant for four years because they will not risk venturing into the area, which she describes as a ghost town. Not one person we spoke to in the entire region still travels into Mexico.

The people who live on this side of the Rio Grande say that the cartels are always monitoring their property in order to funnel drugs and humans into the country and that theft and vandalism are rampant. Dob Cunningham, a retired border patrolman who was born and raised on the border, claims that the behavior of the crossers has fundamentally changed. Decades ago most illegal aliens came from rural parts of Mexico. They were tough young men who came on their own, respected property, and offered to do the most menial tasks in exchange for assistance. Cunningham says that illegal aliens now arrive from all over the world. They pay smugglers exorbitant fees to get them into the United States and are ruthlessly exploited, oftentimes kidnapped, raped, or forced to carry loads of drugs.

Recently retired Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez has spent more than 30 years enforcing the law in Zapata County. He served his last 16 years as sheriff after his predecessor was indicted for drug smuggling, an offense that is now routinely committed by law enforcement officials along the border. The sheriff told us stories of nihilistic violence as he showed us around San Ygnacio, Zapata, and Falcon Lake.

He said that the Mexican side is patrolled by young gang members armed with automatic weapons. The cartels, always looking for ways to shock and intimidate competing organizations, have resorted to gruesome methods of execution. Severed torsos and bodies that have been boiled to death have been found. The violence is mostly meted out on rival syndicates, but sometimes innocents get caught in the struggle. This is what Gonzalez alleged happened in the highly-publicized murder of David Hartley, who was sightseeing on Falcon Lake with his wife. Mexican authorities later arrested a Zeta member in the case.

Sheriff Gonzalez explained that spillover violence in Zapata has typically been home invasion burglaries. Wealthy border residents with no apparent connection to the drug trade have been targeted. What is more prevalent, however, is a type of capitulation along the border. While showing us around downtown Laredo, Kuykendall explained how vibrant and exciting the city was in his youth. Those days are gone as fancy shops and hotels have been replaced with thrift stores and rundown housing. Days before we visited, three grenades exploded feet from the U.S. consulate across the river in Nuevo Laredo. Such incidents have had a depreciating effect on local enterprise. Longtime border residents have witnessed dramatic changes. Kuykendall says that there are so many illegal aliens in Laredo nobody really makes a distinction. Two nations have become one. This includes the influence of the cartels, which employ a growing number of people on this side of the border.

In the midst of all this, residents are alienated. Mexican authorities have proven incapable of combating the cartels and they actually encourage illegal immigration. But more frustrating than the corruption there, is the political environment here. Despite his years in the Border Patrol, Cunningham emphatically stated that he fears being prosecuted by the United States federal government more than being harmed by foreign nationals. He knows several people who are serving lengthy prison terms for trying to stop illicit activity.

The perception that federal prosecutors are focused on diplomacy and accommodation rather than law and order also applies to the Department of Homeland Security. Most of the people we spoke to have good working relationships with their local Border Patrol agents. But climbing the political hierarchy brings disillusionment. Washington has repeatedly made decisions that undermine enforcement, so much so that the Border Patrol unions devote a considerable amount of time fighting management to retain their stated responsibilities. Swaths of the border go unmonitored due to inadequate numbers and agents who do their job face political obstacles. This has led Sheriff Gonzalez to believe that the only way to secure the border is through local control.

Recent declarations that the border is secure are intended to encourage congressional passage of a mass amnesty. The politicians and activists who are pushing this couch their efforts in humanitarian terms, questioning the morality of those in opposition. But what they do not understand is that amnesty benefits human smugglers. Their business of exploiting the desperate booms every time a careless politician or commentator starts self-righteously talking about a pathway to citizenship. Such talk creates chaos on the border and undermines the rule of law.


 


 

Immigrant tuition equity bill is not an equitable solution

Passage of the so-called tuition equity bill was neither surprising nor equitable.

Tears flowed, children were paraded to the Oregon House floor and galleries to witness their “historic” moment and representatives employed hyperbole alleging that through no fault of their own, these students cannot afford college. Headlines the next day obliged this sensational spin on a complex issue.

I don’t feel sorry for these youngsters or guilty about their situation. I saw possibility in their faces and I feel pride for a country where the mistakes of parents cannot dim the hope of a child to follow the American dream.

The federal government has failed to protect our borders and enforce a sane immigration policy. Oregon hasn’t done much better. But can we ignore the sheer numbers of undocumented folks in our communities? The “round ’em up and send ’em back” mentality is not only ridiculous in the Willamette Valley, it smells of bigotry.

The reality is, despite shoddy immigration practices and the difficulty of raising a family under a dark cloud of illegal residency, we have an undeniable mass of undocumented citizens the majority of whom are hardworking, honest neighbors.

They’ve been here a long time and have provided much of the work force that sustains our region’s agricultural foundation. They’ve done back-breaking work and many now manage farms, nurseries or work in numerous vocations. Are we surprised that now their children and grandchildren want a higher education and to attend football games as bona fide Ducks or Beavers?

Republicans and Democrats are ready to offer in-state tuition to these children but the bill was rushed to the floor last week and is deeply flawed.

Addressing fairness for some while disallowing provisions for veterans currently ineligible for in-state tuition or ignoring American students now paying out-of-state tuition is not fair at all. The bill received one two-hour public hearing, thereby disallowing many to even testify. Some amendments were allowed but efforts for substantive improvement were largely ignored and I couldn’t support it as written.

The debate barely acknowledged impending federal immigration policy now boiling over in Washington, D.C. and the effect on Oregon. The fiscal analysis was pathetically vague and testimony about projected costs ranged from negligible to millions of dollars of lost revenue. Further, a prudent sunset clause to re-examine this noble experiment was rejected out of hand.

Perhaps the most troubling omission is the refusal to provide clarity for students to obtain citizenship and permission to work legally during their college studies and, most importantly, after graduation. This glaring error puts the graduates and Oregon businesses in an untenable lurch.

In the quest for “historic headlines,” I fear the House of Representatives has set up to fail the very children we want to assist. I’m not fond of the phrase: “Fix it on the Senate side,” but now that may be the only hope to find tuition equity for all Oregonians and students wishing to study here.


Vic Gilliam / Special to the Statesman Journal

Rep. Vic Gilliam, R-Silverton, is a member of the House Committee on Higher Education & Workforce Development and the Committee on Human Services & Housing. He can be reached at (503) 986-1418 or Rep.VicGilliam@state.or.us.

 

OSU student spells out the flawed thinking of the instate tuition benefit - HB 2787

Gabriella Morrongiello, a sophomore at Oregon State University, and chairman of the OSU Young Americans for Freedom testified before the House Committee of Higher Education at the hearing for HB 2787.  She was poised and eloquent.  Following her testimony she submitted an article about the proceedings to the Barometer (the OSU campus paper), who felt it was too controversial to publish. 

So, she submitted the article to the New Guard which is the national blog sponsored by the Young America's Foundation.  Read Gabriella's article here.

 

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