WASHINGTON DC – The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS), working under President Donald Trump, have issued a final regulatory rule which will take effect in about a month.
This new rule was created to ban convicted felons, gang members, and domestic abusers who are seeking asylum from securing it in the US.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 21, 2020
DOJ and DHS officials announced this week that with this rule in place, it will ensure foreign nationals convicted of certain crimes will not obtain asylum.
Federal officials wrote this in a news release:
“To ensure that criminal aliens cannot obtain this discretionary benefit, the Attorney General and Secretary of Homeland Security have exercised their regulatory authority to limit eligibility for asylum for aliens who have engaged in specified categories of criminal behavior.”
The new rule bans asylum for foreign nationals convicted of:
- A felony under federal or state law
- Alien smuggling or harboring
- Illegal reentry
- Criminal street gang activity
- Drunk driving
- Domestic abuse
- Identity theft or using fraudulent identification
- Possession or trafficking of drugs or drug paraphernalia
President Trump first announced the implementation of “Remain in Mexico” policy in January 2019 in order to help combat cases of fraud. The tightening of asylum rules closes loopholes in this highly effective policy and has drastically reduced fraud.
Recently, the President put in place an order through the Center for Disease Control (CDC) that allows federal immigration officials to immediately return migrants arriving at the United States-Mexico border to their native countries.
As of late June, approximately 95 percent of migrants were being instantly returned to their native countries following their arrival at the southern border thanks to the CDC order.
These reforms could all be undone if Democrat presidential candidate Joe Biden is elected to office. The former vice president has suggested reinstating the “Catch and Release” program for border crossers.
He has also devised a “unity platform” with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) which includes freeing border crossers into the interior of the U.S. while they await asylum hearings.
Groups and media outlets such as Time, Human Rights Watch, The Guardian, and Justice for Immigrants have written scathing articles condemning the “Remain In Mexico” plan.
“The courts have repeatedly ruled against it, and the supreme court should as well.”
The reasons given for the push back on the Remain in Mexico plan is that the “migrants” are in danger; the common battle cry is that many who have come here have children or are themselves children.
They have allegedly faced violence and homelessness while awaiting court dates. Human rights groups allegedly have documented cases of kidnappings, rapes and assaults.
Others, however, see it as a step toward keeping violent gang members from coming into our country and harming our loved ones, and a way to slow down the drug traffickers that are peddling the dangerous drugs, helping to inflate the opioid epidemic.
People are outraged by many horrible stories of human sex trafficking, the kidnapping of small children who are then turned over into the sex trade. This plan will help protect those victims of the sex trade industry.
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What border crisis? Border Patrol agents bust more than 100 illegal immigrants living in ‘inhumane’ stash houses
October 6, 2020
EL PASO, TEXAS – In the span of one month, U.S. Border Patrol agents in the El Paso sector made a series of busts, while discovering stash houses and arresting eight suspected human smugglers.
In a press release sent out Monday, the agency announced a “blow to human smuggling organizations in the month of September.”
In addition to busting stash houses and smugglers, agents say they also took more than 100 illegal immigrants into custody in connection with the stash house discoveries.
Border Patrol said those homes were found in the Fabens, San Elizario, El Paso and Chaparral communities.
The group of migrants arrested during those raids included people from a “variety of countries” including Ecuador, Cuba, El Salvador and Guatemala. Agents said they were living in “harsh and less than humane conditions.”
The press release said:
“Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, these arrests demonstrate the reckless and dangerous practices human smugglers use to place their human cargo and our border communities in harm’s way.”
El Paso Sector Chief Patrol Agent Gloria I. Chavez praised Border Patrol agents and law enforcement partners in Texas and New Mexico for helping to target criminal organizations and rescue people from “squalid conditions.” She said:
“The COVID-19 pandemic hasn’t deterred human smuggling organizations from exploiting the youth and others in our communities and utilizing them to further their criminal activities.”
In late September, she tweeted about the increasing problem in the region:
“In recent months, there is an uptick of #humansmuggling events in our region. #Ysleta Alien Smuggling Unit discovered a “stash house” where 5 illegal aliens were hiding in unsanitary conditions. Extremely dangerous situation especially during a global pandemic. Good Job Ysleta!”
In recent months, there is an uptick of #humansmuggling events in our region. #Ysleta Alien Smuggling Unit discovered a “stash house” where 5 illegal aliens were hiding in unsanitary conditions. Extremely dangerous situation especially during a global pandemic. Good Job Ysleta! pic.twitter.com/oHXOrK1RTP
— Gloria I. Chavez (@USBPChiefEPT) September 19, 2020
The busy month coincides with the ongoing work of border patrol as they try to bust alien and drug smugglers along the U.S. and Mexico border. They say many of those busts involve people who have prior felony convictions and have been previously been removed from the country.
It appears that agents have overall been ramping up efforts in the El Paso area.
In mid-September, local media outlet Deming Headlight reported on a major bust in Chaparral, New Mexico.
In a single stash house there, Border Patrol agents found 57 immigrants.
They told the news outlet that they suspected a smuggling scheme and encountered seven immigrants near the El Paso International Airport. Information gathered there led agents to 48 additional immigrants inside the crowded stash house in Chaparral.
Commenting on that raid, Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chavez said:
“This incident demonstrates the continued exploitation by transnational criminal organizations who repeatedly use humans for profit regardless of the inherent risks including the potential for the spread of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic.”
Human smuggling impacts all human beings, even the most innocent. Yesterday, #SantaTeresa agents arrested a smuggler who had separated a mother and child. Luckily, agents coordinated with #Mexico to find the mother and both were reunited. Well done STN! @CBPWestTexas pic.twitter.com/2ontpKD2lr
— Gloria I. Chavez (@USBPChiefEPT) September 29, 2020
Just days ago agents detailed three other significant arrests.
On Thursday, Deming area agents arrested a 37-year-old Mexican national in a remote area. The Deming Headlight reported that the man had previously been removed from the country three times and is a confirmed Paisa gang member.
The same day, El Paso Border Patrol agents busted a stash house in the city’s center.
There, they reportedly arrested a 35-year-old Guatemalan national who had previously pled guilty to two felony offenses of criminal attempted sexual assault of a child and an assault causing serious bodily injury.
In a separate case in the Lordsburg area, the media outlet said agents arrested a 34-year-old Mexican national who had a felony conviction for marijuana possession in Arizona. At the time of his most recent arrest, he was allegedly trying to illegally sneak back into the country.
#Lordsburg #USBP agents foiled another human smuggling scheme on I-10! Agents initiated a vehicle stop & arrested 4 illegal aliens & seized marijuana. Always focused on national security! Well done! #HonorFirst @CBPWestTexas pic.twitter.com/t4A8kapIbp
— Gloria I. Chavez (@USBPChiefEPT) October 5, 2020
Sector Chief Patrol Agent Chavez remarked on the danger of repeat and violent criminals re-entering the country. She said:
“One of the many duties performed by Border Patrol agents involve identifying previously convicted criminal aliens and setting them up for removal from the United States. The possibility of encountering repeat offenders poses an imminent threat to our West Texas and southern New Mexico communities.”
And talk about a huge bust – last week, the Coast Guard Cutter Steadfast (WMEC-623) offloaded 3,905 pounds of alleged cocaine in San Diego. The drugs are worth more than $67 million.
They were seized in the international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. This is the second drug smuggling attempt this year that was intercepted by the Steadfast crew.
The drugs were apprehended off the coasts of Mexico, Central, and South America.
— CoastGuardNews (@CoastGuardNews) October 2, 2020
The first seizure of the cocaine started on April 1, 2020. This was during a 65-day counter-narcotics operation.
The cutter intercepted and boarded five suspected smuggling vessels while they patrolled the international waters off the coasts of Mexico and Central America. The Steadfast crew apprehended three suspected smugglers.
They seized 1,252 pounds of pure cocaine worth an estimated $21.5 million in this operation.
— CoastGuardNews (@CoastGuardNews) April 23, 2020
Commander Dan Ursino, the Commanding Officer of the Steadfast, told the Coast Guard News:
“I am inspired daily by the tenacity and professionalism of this crew. Their resilience to remain focused, in light of the global health crisis and uncertainty back home, has been nothing short of remarkable.
Knowing the importance and impact of keeping these harmful substances from reaching our streets help to keep us going.”
USCGC Steadfast is a Coast Guard resource deployed anywhere along the western seaboard of North and Central America. The Steadfast enforces living marine resource laws and regulations, detecting and interdicting drug and migrant smuggling, and counter-narcotic operations.
The Steadfast has made many successful transits across the “Graveyard of the Pacific” before, and after, deployments. The Columbia River Bar, Columbia River, and the Pacific Ocean combine to create a hazard to navigation. The area is known for its unpredictable and heavy weather all-year-long. This has caused thousands of marine vessel wreckages.
While they completed their 65-day mission, the Steadfast continued to participate in the Columbia River Maritime Museum’s Mini Boat Project.
This project connects students from local Oregon elementary schools with their peers in Japan. Students learn about the significance of ocean currents and weather. The students build miniature boats to send across the ocean to one another.
During this patrol, Steadfast launched two boats approximately 200 miles off the southern tip of Baja, Mexico. The boat names are Boat-A-Lohti and Philbert.
The Steadfast is a 210-foot medium endurance cutter that was commissioned in 1968. It is one of two Reliance class-cutters homeported in Astoria, Oregon.
The team effort of stopping these drug cartels is nonstop. The Coast Guard has been very busy on the west coast over the summer.
The Steadfast isn’t the only cutter that’s been stopping bad guys. In May, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Active (WMEC-618) offloaded more than 2,000 pounds of cocaine from the known drug-transit zones of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The bust was worth approximately $37 million.
— U.S. Coast Guard (@USCG) September 24, 2020
Commander James O’Mara, the Commanding Officer of the Active said:
“This patrol, and this interdiction, in particular, highlights the resilience and professionalism of Active’s crew. We canceled a port visit, stretched logistics, and diverted 500 miles to get on target and do our job.
No captain could ask or expect more from a crew, especially given all the adversity overcome during this patrol. Though I know if more were required, this crew would rally and answer the call, the way they always do.”
The Active is a 210-foot medium-endurance cutter commissioned in 1966. It is homeported in Port Angeles, Washington. Active’s crew routinely operate from the Straits of Juan de Fuca down to the waters off Central America.
Active conducts nine of the Coast Guard’s 11 statutory missions. These include search and rescue, drug interdiction, fisheries enforcement, and homeland security.
#USCGC Cutter Bertholf recently offloaded an estimated $390 million worth of narcotics. The drugs were seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean between May and August 2020. pic.twitter.com/TnJmUjhKnO
— U.S. Coast Guard (@USCG) September 16, 2020
In September, the crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Bertholf offloaded more than 26,000 pounds of cocaine and marijuana in San Diego. The drugs, worth an estimated $390 million, were seized in international waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean. They were responsible for two other interdictions seizing about 6,700 pounds of cocaine.
The Bertholf is a 418-foot national security cutter, commissioned in 2008 and homeported in Alameda.
When Hamilton established the “system of cutters” in 1790, the fleet was charged with enforcing U.S. customs laws, requiring revenue cutters to stop ships and board them. However, Hamilton’s cutters needed a way to identify themselves as federal vessels. https://t.co/r3UDdS8eSo pic.twitter.com/4M9NnD5oha
— U.S. Coast Guard (@USCG) October 4, 2020
The Coast Guard Cutters have stopped many of the illegal drugs coming into the U.S. by boat over the past few months. Here are a few examples: The Stratton (WMSL-752 was responsible for three interdictions seizing approximately 6,000 pounds of cocaine. The Confidence (WMEC-619) crew stopped 50 pounds of the Mama Coca in two different incidences. The Decisive (WMEC-629) intercepted and about 1,900 pounds of Lady Caine. The crew of the Venturous (WMEC-625) apprehended approximately 1,100 pounds of Coke. The Tampa (WMEC-902) crew confiscated around 1,600 pounds of the Big C and 3,650 pounds of marijuana.
WATCH: A look at how @MARFORSOUTH works year-round with partner nations in #LatinAmerica & the #Caribbean to strengthen regional security. This was the 1st place winner of a video contest for #SOUTHCOM staff to showcase how they help #StrengthenPartnerships in the region. pic.twitter.com/5QuOU5d5dK
— U.S. Southern Command (@Southcom) October 2, 2020
On April 1, U.S. Southern Command began enhanced counter-narcotics operations in the Western Hemisphere to disrupt the flow of drugs in support of Presidential National Security Objectives.
Numerous U.S. agencies from the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Homeland Security cooperated in the effort to combat transnational organized crime. The Coast Guard, Navy, Customs and Border Protection, FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, along with allied and international partner agencies, play a role in counter-drug operations.
Director Jim Carroll, Office of National Drug Control Policy said of this mission:
“The routine during this patrol was different than most, but the U.S. Coast Guard rose to the challenge, as they always do. These efforts by our U.S. Coast Guard and United States Navy are critical to reducing the availability of illicit drugs in our country.
They are absolutely committed to saving lives, and their work that you see here today will result in lives being saved across the United States.”
The fight against drug cartels in the Eastern Pacific Ocean requires unity of effort in all phases from detection, monitoring, and interdictions, to criminal prosecutions by international partners and U.S. Attorneys in districts across the nation.
The law enforcement phase of counter-smuggling operations in the Eastern Pacific Ocean is conducted under the authority of the 11th Coast Guard District, headquartered in Alameda. The interdictions, including the actual boardings, are led and conducted by members of the U.S. Coast Guard.
Admiral Karl Schultz, the commandant of the United States Coast Guard, said:
“These results are unity of effort in action. Whole of Government, the whole of partnerships, this is what it takes to keep illicit drugs off American streets.
We take these drugs down at sea, where they’re most vulnerable, where they’re most susceptible to intercept. In doing that, we break the cycle of those drugs landing in Costa Rica, Panama, and Mexico and triggering violence and corruption. That’s why this matters.”
According to Drug Abuse Statistics, 53 million or 19.4% of people twelve years and older used illegal drugs or misused prescription drugs nationwide in 2017. This is a little under the populations of California, Oregon, Washington state, and Idaho.
The war on drugs has cost the United States government over $1 trillion dollars since 1971. The U.S. budget for 2019 was $29.9 billion. Sadly, more Americans died of drug overdoses in 2017 than the total casualties in the Vietnam war. 68 percent of the 72,000 deaths involved opioids.
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