Border Patrol

Spencer Selvidge

A U.S. Border Patrol agent has been accused of going on a nearly two-week-long “serial killing spree” that came to an end on Saturday after he was arrested in connection with the deaths of four women and the kidnapping of a fifth woman.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Since his inauguration, President Donald Trump has kept his campaign promises of tougher immigration policies, leading to a constant flow of policy changes — from scaling back on programs like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals to his “zero-tolerance” policy along the border that’s led to separation of parents and children attempting to cross into the U.S.

All of these individual actions amount to a broader strategy that is now becoming clear.

Photo by James Tourtellotte/U.S. Customs and Border Protection

From Texas Standard.

Under federal law, anyone who reaches a U.S. port of entry may make a claim for asylum. But now it appears U.S. Customs and Border Protection has adopted a new tactic to keep out immigrants – telling agents to stop would-be asylum seekers before they reach a border checkpoint.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

From Texas Standard.

The American Civil Liberties Union has released a report based on some 30,000 pages of internal records from the Department of Homeland Security between 2009 to 2014, obtained through the Freedom of Information Act. What they’ve found is what they call “the pervasive abuse and neglect of unaccompanied immigrant children detained by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.”

U.S. Army/Maj. Randall Stillinger

From Texas Standard.

About 250 Texas National Guard troops have deployed to the Texas-Mexico border. Texas’ Gov. Greg Abbott says he’ll eventually send more than 1,000. But even with the state’s leadership so supportive of any appearance of cracking down on illegal immigration, are the Guard troops really doing immigration enforcement? And how do folks who already work on border law enforcement perceive the influx of military personnel?

Alex Smith / Wikimedia Commons

From Texas Standard:

More than two weeks after the death of Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez, questions remain about how he and a fellow agent were seriously injured while on patrol around Van Horn in west Texas.

Sarah Blesener

From Texas Standard.

Scouting has long been considered a path for young people to learn life skills, but a program along the United States-Mexico border goes a lot further than how to start a campfire or care for a park. It's run under the auspices of the U.S. Border Patrol, and it’s not so much camping in the wilderness but rather something much more intense, closer to bona fide basic military training.

Eric Gay

 

More than two days after a U.S. Border Patrol agent was killed and another seriously wounded while on patrol in West Texas, exactly what happened to the agents is still unclear.

Agent Rogelio Martinez, 36, died Sunday after sustaining severe head and bodily injuries. His partner, who hasn’t been named, is recovering from his injuries and is in intensive care, according to federal authorities.

Callie Richmond for The Texas Tribune

National and state leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, said more resources should be devoted to border security following the death of a U.S. Border Patrol agent Sunday.

The agent died from injuries sustained while he was on patrol in southwest Texas, U.S. Customs and Border Protection said Sunday in a news release, offering sparse details. His partner was hospitalized in serious condition. 

Spamily/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

It has been more than seven years since U.S. Border Patrol agent Jesus Mesa Jr. shot and killed Sergio Hernandez, a 15-year-old Mexican boy. Hernandez and his friends were standing on the Mexican side of a culvert that separates Ciudad Juárez from El Paso, throwing rocks at Mesa.

A portion of the south Texas border fence and remote surveillance cameras.
Donna Burton/U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Government Work)

From Texas Standard:

Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said just yesterday that it is "unlikely" that a wall along the United States' southern border will be built in full. That’s different from the Trump administration's original proposed plans to build a continuous 30-foot wall, regardless of the terrain and other potential obstacles.

 

Phil Gingrey/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

From Texas Standard:

In 2015, Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on security along Texas' border with Mexico. Along that line, one of President-elect Donald Trump's signature campaign promises is a wall that stretches the entire length of the border.

But those efforts are undermined by breaches that are invisible to most people: bribes.

Michael Rose/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The Texas Department of Public Safety is asking for $1 billion to fund its border operations next year. But the state comptroller has been issuing warnings about a possible need for budgetary belt tightening.

But the department says it needs the money to buy new border cameras, replace aging vehicles, buy two helicopters, four planes and, perhaps most significantly, double the number of troops at the border – upping the number of troops at the border to 500.

 


Michel Marizco/Fronteras Desk (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

When Sasha Von Oldershausen moved from New York City to Presidio, Texas, a few years back, her friends told her to get a gun and lock the doors. They imagined her moving to the stereotypical lawless Southwest.

But Von Oldershausen knew better – in the vast majority of the tiny Texas towns that dot the borderlands, crime rates are low, the landscape is indescribably beautiful and the sense of solitude is profound. Then ,she discovered she wasn't nearly as alone as she thought. Texas Monthly writer Sasha Von Oldershausen recounts her experience in her article "Nothing To Fear But Fear Itself."

Von Oldershausen says she experienced firsthand the capabilities of Border Patrol's surveillance methods while walking on a trail near the Rio Grande one day.

 


Image via Flickr/Texas Military Department (CC BY-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

The surge in immigrant children has prompted Gov. Greg Abbott to extend National Guard deployments at the Texas border. Paul Weber, a reporter covering the story for the Associated Press, says while the exact number of troops is unknown, it’s probably in the low hundreds.

“In December of 2014 when Gov. Perry first deployed the National Guard to the border, he sent up to 1,000 troops,” Weber says. “But as recently as February, state officials said that there's now only about 200 troops there. And that was in anticipation of an expected drawdown to eventually get the troops out of there.”

 


U.S. Customs and Border Protection (U.S. Government Work)/flickr

From Texas Standard:

It's been called the checkpoint of the stars: Willie Nelson, Snoop Dogg and Fiona Apple have all been snagged at the Sierra Blanca Border Patrol checkpoint.

Musicians and other celebrities have been booked and charged for marijuana possession by Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West. But West now seems to be saying his days of cracking down on every joint and baggie may be over.

NPR Southwest Correspondent John Burnett just returned to Austin from West Texas, where he checked out that checkpoint.

"I wasn't holding. They passed me right through," Burnett says, for the record.

But what if Burnett had been carrying a personal amount of marijuana?

Patrick Wants $12 Million to Keep Guard on Border

Feb 10, 2015
Bob Daemmrich/Texas Tribune

From the Texas Tribune:

Saying that drug cartels are “ramping up” their efforts as the Texas National Guard prepares to leave the Rio Grande Valley next month, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced Tuesday that he’s seeking an additional $12 million to keep the troops there through May.

Beyond that, he added at a Capitol news conference, he would work to get a supplemental bill to fund deployments through August, in the hopes that the Texas Legislature would pass a budget that includes deployment funding beyond that. The Senate’s budget includes about $815 million for border security, which is more than the previous seven years combined.

The number of Central American children and families being apprehended at the U.S.-Mexican border has dropped dramatically in recent months, according to the U.S. Border Patrol. There has been a 60 percent decline in apprehensions of minors since the record numbers making the illegal trek earlier this summer.

A lot of factors may be contributing to the dramatic drop, including heavy rains along the migrant route and media campaigns in home countries dispelling rumors that kids can stay in the U.S.

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Security at the Texas-Mexico border has grown exponentially after an influx of undocumented, and often unaccompanied, migrant children in recent months. In response to the surge, Texas Governor Rick Perry has deployed up to one thousand National Guard troops. In addition, there's been a surge in federal Border Patrol agents and Department of Public Safety troopers.

Suffice to say, there are a lot of boots on the ground along the Rio Grande. But what exactly is the role and responsibility of every local, state and federal agency in securing the border?

Ilana Panich-Linsman/KUT

Gov. Rick Perry visited Camp Swift yesterday ahead of his deployment of National Guard troops and Department of Public Safety troopers to the border.

The aim of the operation – dubbed “Operation Strong Safety” – is to use troops to supplement border patrols, prevent illegal border crossings and assist federal and state authorities struggling to process an influx of unaccompanied children crossing the border from Central American countries.

Julian Aguilar/Texas Tribune

Sending additional state police and National Guard troops to the border will cost Texas between $17 million and $18 million dollars a month. That's according to a presentation Tuesday by top officials with the Legislative Budget Board (LBB), who told state lawmakers they will have to find a way to keep paying for it. 

About one-third of that cost is for salaries, travel and other expenses of Department of Public Safety (DPS) officers sent to the border as part of "Operation Strong Safety II."  Close to two-thirds of the $18 million will cover salary, meals, lodging and other costs of deploying up to 1,000 National Guard troops. 

Some of the immigrant children crossing the border say they are being subjected to abusive and inhumane treatment in U.S. Border Patrol stations in South Texas. This includes frigid holding rooms, sleep deprivation, verbal and psychological abuse, inadequate food and water, denial of medical care, and worse.

Dozens of children have come forward to make complaints against Customs and Border Protection officers. The agency responds that any complaints are the result not of mistreatment, but of its stations being overwhelmed by the surge of minors.

Veronica Zaragovia/KUT

Gov. Rick Perry is sending National Guard troops to the Texas-Mexico border. He says the troops are needed, as the Border Patrol has been focusing on migrant children crossing the border illegally, and not criminal activity from drug and human traffickers.

Gov. Perry’s announcement comes a month after he directed the Legislature to spend millions of dollars increasing the number of Department of Public Safety officers near the border – a move Perry says it's working.

Courtesy of Jose Delgado

  Adam Rosenbloom wasn't able to view fireworks from Auditorium Shores this past Independence Day. His Fourth of July weekend was less conventional.

Rosenbloom, a pediatrician at Dell Children’s Medical Center, spent the weekend volunteering at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas. Rosenbloom joined other volunteering with the group Circle of Health International, caring for over 50 patients and delivering over $5,000 worth of supplies to Central American children and families who crossed the Texas-Mexico border. 

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Militia groups are planning their own response to the recent flood of Central American immigrants across the Texas-Mexico border, according to a San Antonio Express-News report. The initiative called Operation Secure Our Border says it is recruiting armed volunteers to bolster law enforcement and border patrols near Laredo as soon as next week, but that they will not directly engage any so-called "illegals."

President Obama said over the weekend that he is seeking to fast-track deportations of unaccompanied immigrant children from Central America who cross into the United States.

More than 52,000 have been caught in South Texas since October, and hundreds more arrive daily, overwhelming Border Patrol stations and overflowing temporary shelters.

But once they get here, what happens? Do they just get to stay, as the president's critics charge?

President Obama's tough predicament on immigration is only getting worse.

He certainly didn't want to be dealing with an influx of unaccompanied minors illegally entering the U.S. across the Southern border, overwhelming the Homeland Security Department's ability to deal with them during a critical midterm election year.

Overcrowding and disease at a temporary immigration detention center in McAllen has the U.S. Border Patrol themselves calling on congress for humanitarian aid. 

Because of the McAllen facility's temporary status, capacity is about 300. But this past week Border Patrol agents brought in 1,000 immigrants and the situation has Chris Cabrera with the local Border Patrol agent's union calling on Congress for help.

Physical abuse and excessive force top the list of hundreds of complaints filed against U.S. Border Patrol agents, according to a new report. The accusations include charges that agents kicked a pregnant woman, stomped on a man and physically forced a minor to sign a document.

Those accusations are in a report on government data about the complaints that was obtained by the advocacy group the American Immigration Council via a Freedom of Information Act request.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Luis Alberto Urrea is one of the most distinguished writers in America.  Just don’t tell him that.  Urrea is refreshingly self-effacing when forced to talk about his status as an award-winning and best-selling author. He is perhaps best known for “The Devil’s Highway,” which won the Lannan Literary Award in 2004. He was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2005.