(2/2) This verdict sends a strong message to traders and regional authorities alike, that laws exist that make this trade illegal. THANK YOU to Polres Kulon Progo Police and all those who have stood up against the cruel and dangerous dog meat industry! 🙏 https://t.co/NedmcukrH3
The Texas legislature passed an election integrity bill on Tuesday after weeks of back-and-forth between members of both parties in the state.
Republican Governor of Texas Greg Abbott promised to sign the bill, as well, seemingly solidifying the GOP victory.
Democrats in the state are continuing to press for the federal government to intervene in state elections in an effort to push back against the efforts of Republicans to secure elections.
“We knew we wouldn’t be able to hold off this day forever,” Representative Chris Turner, chairman of the House Democratic caucus, said in a statement on Tuesday, per The New York Times. “Now that it has come, we need the U.S. Senate to act immediately.”
Republicans, on the other hand, have pressed that the legislation is necessary to ensure that elections are secure and people trust the results.
“It is about ensuring that all Texans trust the outcome of every election in Texas,” Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick said in a statement.
“Senate Bill 1 will make it easier to vote and harder to cheat,” Texas House Republican Caucus Chairman Jim Murphy said in a statement last week, noting that the bill will “go a long way in ensuring the integrity of our elections.”
The Texas House passed the legislation earlier this week, and sent it to the Senate for final debate and revisions.
The legislation establishes new ID requirements for voting by mail, enhances protections for partisan poll watchers and sets new rules, and possible criminal penalties, for those who assist voters.
It also makes it a state jail felony for local election officials to proactively distribute applications for mail-in ballots, even if they are providing them to voters who automatically qualify to vote by mail or groups helping get out the vote.
Texas Democrats famously fled the state earlier this year in an effort to block Republicans from passing specific bills. Governor Greg Abbott called a special session in order for the legislature to resume its business. A few weeks ago, enough Democrats came back to the state house in order to conduct business.
The margin was razor thin on Thursday and it was unclear for hours before gaveling in whether Republicans had gotten enough members in the chamber to begin their work. Ultimately, 99 members voted that they were present with 49 stated absences. (The regular 100-member threshold for a quorum dropped to 99 on Thursday after San Antonio Democrat Leo Pacheco’s resignation went into effect.) The House then adjourned until 4 p.m. on Monday after referring a slew of bills to committee.
As The Daily Wire reported, GOP House Speaker Dade Phelan stated at the time, “It’s time to get back to the business of the people of Texas. I appreciate every one of you. I’m looking forward to working with you over the coming week or two.”
“Some Democrats were angry that some of their colleagues had returned to the chamber. Rep. Michelle Beckley, noting that Democrats Garnet Coleman, Ana Hernandez, and Armando Walle had returned, tweeted, ‘This is how Texas Democrats lose elections,’” The Daily Wire noted.
A federal appeals court denied President Joe Biden’s plea to block the reinstatement of former President Donald Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy that kept migrants in Mexico while awaiting their asylum hearings rather than releasing them into the interior of the United States.
Last week, Trump-appointed Judge Matthew J. Kacsmaryk ordered the Biden administration to reinstate the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), commonly known as Remain in Mexico, after it ended the program in June and started releasing thousands of MPP migrants into the U.S.
Biden’s DHS appealed the permanent injunction by Kacsmaryk, asking the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to issue a stay blocking the injunction. On Thursday, Judge Jennifer Elrod, appointed by former President George W. Bush, along with Judges Andy Oldham and Cory Wilson, both appointed by Trump, denied Biden’s request.
Elrod, Oldham, and Wilson write that DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas failed to weigh the impact on border states that ending Remain in Mexico would have. Likewise, the court asserts that Texas, in particular, is harmed by the elimination of Remain in Mexico.
The three-judge panel writes:
DHS “failed to address whether there was ‘legitimate reliance’ on” MPP. In its seven-page June 1 Memorandum, DHS does not directly mention any reliance interests, especially those of the States. The closest the June 1 Memorandum gets is a reference to “the impact [terminating MPP] could have on border management and border communities.” But the Memorandum makes clear that “border communities” do not include border states. And the vague reference to “border management” is insufficient to show specific, meaningful consideration of the States’ reliance interests. [Emphasis added]
In response, the Government concedes that it failed to consider the States’ reliance interests. But it argues that is irrelevant because “the States have no cognizable reliance interest in a discretionary program.”We reject that argument for several reasons. [Emphasis added]
As the Supreme Court explained, “[w]hen an agency changes course, … it must be cognizant that longstanding policies may have engendered serious reliance interests that must be taken into account.” Those reliance interests included states’ interests. So if the termination of DACA — a discretionary, immigration program — must consider states’ “potential reliance interests,” then so does termination of MPP. That is particularly true here because the district court found as a matter of fact — and the Government does not contest — that states like Texas face fiscal harm from the termination of MPP. [Emphasis added]
The court also found that Mayorkas’ ending of Remain in Mexico “failed to consider DHS’s prior factual findings on MPP’s benefits.”
“In its October 2019 Assessment of MPP, DHS found that ‘aliens without meritorious claims—which no longer constitute[d] a free ticket into the United States—[were] beginning to voluntarily return home,’” the New Orleans-based court writes:
DHS also found thatMPP addressed the “perverse incentives” created by allowing “those with nonmeritorious claims … [to] remain in the country for lengthy periods of time.” These benefits, DHS emphasized, were a “core component” or “cornerstone” of the agency’s prior immigration policy. [Emphasis added]
Nonetheless, the June 1 Memorandum did not expressly mention, let alone meaningfully discuss, DHS’s prior factual findings. Instead, the Secretary changed policies based on his own findings that contradict DHS’s October 2019 findings. But an agency must provide “a more detailed justification” when a “new policy rests upon factual findings that contradict those which underlay its prior policy.” The Secretary did not provide the required “more detailed justification.” This further indicates that the termination of MPP was arbitrary and capricious. [Emphasis added]
The court states that DHS, in following federal statute, “can parole an alien” into the U.S. on a case-by-case basis, can release an alien on bail or conditional parole while they await deportation proceedings, or hold them in federal custody.
“What the Government cannot do, the district court held, is simply release every alien described in § 1225 en masse into the United States,” the appellate court writes:
The Government has not pointed to a single word anywhere in the [Immigration and Nationality Act] that suggests it can do that. And the Government cannot claim an irreparable injury from being enjoined against an action that it has no statutory authorization to take. [Emphasis added]
Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt first filed their lawsuit challenging Biden’s end to Remain in Mexico in April, arguing that the move spurred “a huge surge of Central American migrants, including thousands of unaccompanied minors, passing through Mexico in order to advance meritless asylum claims at the U.S. border.”
The case is Texas v. Biden, No. 21-10806 in the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.
Alexis Saborit-Viltres, the 42-year-old man who beheaded a woman in Shakopee, Minnesota last week is an illegal alien from Cuba, Alpha News has learned.
“Alexis Saborit-Viltres, 42, is a citizen of Cuba who is unlawfully present in the United States. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has not placed a detainer on Saborit-Viltres following his recent arrest for second-degree murder in Shakopee, Minnesota,” ICE spokesperson Shawn Neudauer told Alpha News Tuesday.
Neudauer confirmed that Saborit-Viltres’s criminal history includes multiple convictions in Minnesota and Louisiana for domestic abuse, DUI, and fleeing a police officer. He has pending charges for first-degree arson, first-degree criminal damage to property, and obstruction of the legal process stemming from a 2020 arrest in Scott County.
ICE previously attempted to remove Saborit-Viltres to Cuba in 2012 but was unsuccessful because his home country wouldn’t approve the necessary travel documents, an ICE official explained. He was eventually released on an order of supervision.
The 2001 Supreme Court decision Zadvydas v. Davis limits the length of time under the Immigration and Nationality Act that ICE can detain noncitizens who are subject to a deportation order, the official said.
The ruling generally precludes the agency from holding noncitizens with final orders of removal for more than six months if their actual removal cannot occur in the reasonably foreseeable future. This is often due to a foreign government’s refusal to accept the repatriation of its nationals, according to the ICE official.
So when Saborit-Viltres asked to be deported during his first court appearance last week, he likely knew it couldn’t happen because his home country won’t take him back.
Saborit-Viltres faces a charge of second-degree intentional murder in the July 28 killing of 55-year-old America Mafalda Thayer. The Cuban national used a machete to execute his victim in a car in the middle of a residential intersection, a gruesome display that was witnessed and filmed by multiple bystanders.
In a photo taken on March 28, 2021, ranch owner Tony Sandoval stands before a portion of the unfinished border wall that former US president Donald Trump tried to build, near the southern Texas border city of Roma. ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images
The Biden DHS is canceling two border wall contracts in the Laredo sector of the US-Mexico border.
After taking office in January, President Biden paused ongoing border wall construction.
Biden’s 2022 budget proposal allocates $1.2 billion for border infrastructure, sans wall funding.
The Biden administration is canceling two border wall contracts in the Laredo sector of the US-Mexico border that span roughly 31 miles, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) said on Friday.
Shortly after taking office in January, President Joe Biden paused border wall construction projects that were initiated by former President Donald Trump, calling for “a review of all resources appropriated or redirected to construct” the barrier.
Friday’s announcement comes after the Biden administration last month returned to the military more than $2 billion in funding that the Trump administration had diverted for border wall construction.
The Biden administration’s handling of Trump’s border wall projects has unfolded at a slower pace due to funds having been allocated through different government agencies.
The contracts for the Laredo projects planned for 31 miles of border wall to be built along the Rio Grande, funded with DHS Fiscal Year 2020 appropriations.
However, construction on the projects had not yet started, nor had land acquisition been executed.
“DHS continues to review all other paused border barrier projects and is in the process of determining which projects may be necessary to address life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements and where to conduct environmental planning,” the DHS release said. “The Administration also continues to call on Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding and instead fund smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border.”
The Trump administration constructed roughly 450 miles of wall over four years, according to The Associated Press. However, only 52 miles of wall were built in areas where no barrier had previously existed.
The border between the US and Mexico stretches across more than 1,900 miles; some sections already had barriers prior to Trump taking office in 2017.
DHS is utilizing previously-appropriated funds to assess environmental issues that derived from previous wall construction, as well as reviewing land seizure cases to determine if those acquisitions are still necessary.
“Only Congress and the president can fix our broken border,” Abbott said at the time. “But in the meantime, Texas is going to do everything possible, including beginning to make arrests, to keep our community safe.”
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has reportedly dropped cases against five visiting researchers from China accused of lying about their ties to the Chinese military.
The Wall Street Journal described the move as “a major setback to a landmark effort to root out alleged Chinese intelligence gathering in the U.S.”
According to the outlet, federal prosecutors said in court documents filed late Thursday and Friday that “they would no longer pursue visa fraud and other charges against the scientists, including biomedical and cancer researchers in California and a doctoral candidate studying artificial intelligence in Indiana.”
The WSJ reported: “The academics had been arrested last July in an FBI sweep that began after another researcher, Wang Xin, acknowledged to law enforcement – as he tried to leave the U.S. – that he had lied about his military service on his visa application to boost his chances of gaining admission to the U.S., and had been tasked with bringing back some information by a supervisor.” He had worked in a lab at the University of California-San Francisco.
Dr. Juan Tang, 38, another visiting researcher at the University of California-Davis, was set to go on trial in Sacramento on Monday. After her case was formally dropped on Friday, “Tang had her GPS ankle bracelet removed, her Chinese passport returned and she headed toward a flight home to see her mother, husband and 9-year-old daughter for the first time in a year,” according to the Sacramento Bee. The outlet reported, “The motion by Assistant U.S. Attorney Heiko Coppola gave no reason for seeking the dismissal, and acting U.S. Attorney Phillip Talbert declined to comment.”
According to the WSJ, “Judges had dismissed parts of the cases against Ms. Tang and another researcher in recent weeks after finding that FBI agents hadn’t properly informed them of their rights against self-incrimination when interviewing them.”
“In all of our prosecutions, the Department of Justice evaluates the merits of a case as it prepares for trial,” said DOJ spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle. “Recent developments in a handful of cases involving defendants with alleged, undisclosed ties to the People’s Liberation Army of the People’s Republic of China have prompted the Department to re-evaluate these prosecutions, and we have determined that it is now in the interest of justice to dismiss them.”
“The Department continues to place a very high priority on countering the threat posed to American research security and academic integrity by the PRC government’s agenda and policies,” Hornbuckle continued.
The other accused researchers included Chen Song, a neurologist who had been at Stanford University; Guan Lei, a researcher in artificial intelligence at UCLA; and Zhao Kaikai, an artificial intelligence doctoral student at Indiana University.
According to officials, soon after the State Department claimed to have evidence that showed Chinese consulates assisting the visiting scientists last year, more than 1,000 Chinese military-affiliated researchers left the United States.
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Joe Biden’s border crisis is having deadly consequences nationwide.
Border agents apprehended 188,829 illegal immigrants last month, the most since March 2000, and as the number of people surging to the border has increased, so has the flow of lethal drugs.
For the 5th straight month, more fentanyl has been seized at the southwest border than in the corresponding months in 2018, 2019, and 2020 combined.
Enough fentanyl was seized in June 2021 to kill 238 million Americans.
That was just the fentanyl that was seized. Biden’s own Border Patrol Chief warns that cartels are “dictating” where illegal immigrants cross the border so criminals can smuggle lethal narcotics without detection.
As CBS News reports, the result is “a flood of drugs coming into this country at the US-Mexico border” with “deadly consequences” throughout the nation – reporting confirmed by law enforcement, who described a fentanyl explosion linked to Biden’s border crisis.
Biden’s open borders agenda is aiding and abetting the flow of lethal drugs, fueling a nationwide opioid crisis, profiting criminal organizations, and costing American lives.
President Joe Biden’s administration has announced a federal initiative to bring back to the United States illegal aliens who were deported for committing crimes but who are the relatives of American service members, as well as Veterans and service members who were deported after committing crimes.
On July 4th weekend, Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas revealed the details of the initiative designed to bring back to the U.S. illegal alien service members, their illegal alien relatives, and Veterans who were deported after having committed crimes.
“The Department of Homeland Security recognizes the profound commitment and sacrifice that service members and their families have made to the United States of America,” Mayorkas said in a statement:
Together with our partner the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), we are committed to bringing back military service members, veterans, and their immediate family members who were unjustly removed and ensuring they receive the benefits to which they may be entitled. Today we are taking important steps to make that a reality. [Emphasis added]
DHS and the VA will work to identify deported Veterans who they say are potentially eligible for VA benefits and ensure that they, as well as their families, are provided any one of the coronavirus vaccines.
Mayorkas said he has directed U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to review cases of “all eligible current and former” illegal alien service members and the immediate illegal alien relatives of service members who would be eligible under the initiative to return to the U.S.
“USCIS, ICE, and CBP will develop a rigorous, systematic approach to review the cases of individuals whose removals failed to live up to our highest values,” a DHS news release stated.
Mayorkas has billed the decades-long deportations of illegal alien Veterans, service members, and the family members of service members as “unjust removals” and is directing a DHS review of policies to prevent similar deportations in the future.
As Breitbart News reported, the Biden administration issued a DHS memo advising that illegal alien service members and their relatives should not, in most cases, be deported.
The initiative is part of a larger operation by the Biden administration to bring potentially hundreds of thousands of deported illegal aliens back to the U.S.
Last month, top DHS officials revealed to Congress that they are looking to bring potentially 35,000 deported illegal aliens back to the U.S. who were initially enrolled in the now-defunct “Remain in Mexico” program. In addition, the administration is reviewing thousands of cases of deported illegal aliens whom they claim may have been wrongly deported under former President Trump’s administration.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.
Facebook has revealed that it will ban anyone who’s charged in connection with the riot at the US Capitol on January 6 and may start “fact-checking” claims that the riot was staged.
In an article detailing how Alan Hostetter, a man who has been charged with obstructing official government proceedings and breaching restricted government property, was banned from Facebook and Instagram within hours of posting a video describing the January 6 riot as a “false flag” and a “fakesurrection” because he believed infiltrators were in the crowd, The Washington Post notes that:
“Facebook says that it does not allow people charged in the insurrection on the platform and that it may fact-check claims that the riot was staged.”
In the case of Hostetter, the prosecutors do not allege that he was violent or entered the Capitol building but claim that he “pushed through the area that the law enforcement officers had been blocking, moved up the stairs onto a structure erected for the Inauguration, and continued moving on to the Upper West Terrace.”
After arriving at the terrace, the indictment alleges that Hostetter declared, “The people have taken back their house. … Hundreds of thousands of patriots showed up today to take back their government!” and posted a picture of himself and co-defendant Russell Taylor on the terrace to the Instagram account of Hostetter’s non-profit – the American Phoenix Project.
Hostetter’s attorney, Bilal Essayli, argues that his client was there to lawfully protest.
“This whole thing — trying to make it sound like an insurrection or trying to block Congress — is troubling,” Essayli said. “He’s working within the legal process. He was there to support the objection to the election, which members of Congress did do. I am concerned because we are getting to a dangerous place where we’re trying to criminalize political differences.”
But under Facebook’s newly revealed policy, Hostetter and anyone else facing similar charges, will lose their Facebook and Instagram accounts before they’ve had a trial and before guilt has been established through a conviction.
By basing the policy on charges and not convictions, it appears that Facebook will also deplatform users who are charged, even if the charges are subsequently dropped or they’re acquitted at trial.
Not only has Facebook stated that it will ban users based on charges related to the January 6 riot but the potential “fact-checks,” which slash the click-through rate of posts by 95%, only appear to target specific narratives related to the US Capitol riot.
An accused illegal alien serial killer will escape the death penalty in the murder trial against him, Dallas County, Texas prosecutors revealed this week.
Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot announced that his office will not seek the death penalty against Billy Chemirmir, an illegal alien from Kenya who is accused of murdering 24 elderly Americans in Texas from April 2016 to 2018.
Instead, Cruezot said prosecutors will seek life in prison while only pursuing two of the 18 capital murder charges against Chemirmir should they win the cases. The other charges would be dismissed.
In a statement, Creuzot’s office said he spoke with victims’ families last month and explained that he hoped to secure convictions against Chemirmir in two jury trials, each with an automatic sentence of life in prison without parole, and ask a judge to order that those sentences be served consecutively. [Emphasis added]
“In effect, there will be no chance for Mr. Chemirmir to die anywhere except in a Texas prison,” the DA’s office said. [Emphasis added]
“[The death penalty] something that’s being turned away from,” Creuzot told the families. “Society is less accepting of it.” [Emphasis added]
Chermirmir’s 24 alleged victims include:
83-year-old Leah Corken
82-year-old Juanita Purdy
88-year-old Mary Brooks
84-year-old Minnie Campbell
82-year-old Ann Conklin
75-year-old Rosemary Curtis
85-year-old Norma French
92-year-old Doris Gleason
81-year-old Lu Thi Harris
81-year-old Carolyn MacPhee
81-year-old Miriam Nelson
91-year-old Phyllis Payne
94-year-old Phoebe Perry
80-year-old Martha Williams
82-year-old Joyce Abramowitz
87-year-old Glenna Day
89-year-old Solomon Spring
90-year-old Doris Wasserman
86-year-old Margaret White
79-year-old Diana Delahunty
93-year-old Mamie Dell Miya
86-year-old Catherine Probst Sinclair
90-year-old Marilyn Bixler
An 81-year-old “Jane Doe”
Breitbart News exclusively reported that Chemirmir first arrived in the U.S. on a B-2 tourist visa in July 2003. Though Chemirmir was supposed to only temporarily be in the U.S., he overstayed his visa and became an illegal alien who was eligible for deportation.
Rather than being deported, Chemirmir was able to use a loophole in the nation’s legal immigration system, allowing him to obtain a green card after marrying an American citizen. In November 2007, Chemirmir was approved for a green card.
Chemirmir had a criminal record, Breitbart News exclusively learned, including convictions for drunk driving, trespassing, assault, and obstructing a police officer. Chemirmir is currently being held in the Dallas County Jail.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter here.
Illegal Aliens Who Killed Americans Removed from DHS ‘Most Wanted’ List
By John Binder June 18,2021
Six illegal aliens accused of killing Americans have been removed from the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) “Most Wanted” list.
This week, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that ICE’s Victim Of Immigration Crime Engagement (VOICE) office, which served Angel Families in navigating their cases, would be disbanded in order to create the Victims Engagement and Services Line (VESL) which will expand to include providing benefits to illegal aliens who claim to be crime victims.
Following the announcement, as the Center for Immigration Studies’ Jon Feere first noted, top DHS officials removed six criminal illegal aliens accused of killing American citizens from ICE’s Most Wanted list — that is illegal alien fugitives who have yet to be captured by the agents.
In April 2019, ICE placed illegal aliens Saul Chavez, Jesus Maltos-Chacon, Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya, Edwin Mejia, Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, and Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Castro on its Most Wanted list after each was charged with killing an American citizen and subsequently was evading arrest and criminal charges.
ICE detailed each case, at the time, and named each American victim:
Saul Chavez, a Mexican national charged in Cook County, Illinois, with vehicular homicide resulting in the death of William Dennis McCann, 66. Despite a detainer lodged by ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations in November 2011 following his arrest, Chavez was released from Cook County custody. Chavez, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place and unknown time, is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Jesus Maltos-Chacon, a Mexican national, charged in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with homicide and vehicular manslaughter for the death of 20-year-old Blake Zieto. Maltos-Chacon also had previous convictions for DUI and assault. Maltos-Chacon, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place and unknown time, was ordered removed in October 2006. He is an ICE immigration fugitive in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Alan Jacob Mogollon-Anaya, a Mexican national, charged April 2017 for aggravated vehicular homicide, DUI and aggravated assault following the crash that resulted in the death of Shirra Branum, 37, in Washington County, Tennessee. Mogollon-Anaya, who had two prior DUI convictions, entered the country without inspection at an unknown place in 2003. He was ordered removed in October 2017. He is an ICE immigration fugitive in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Edwin Mejia, a Honduran national, charged in Omaha, Nebraska with motor vehicular homicide in the death of Sarah Root, 21 in January 2016. Mejia, who entered the country unlawfully as an unaccompanied minor in 2013, was ordered removed in April 2016. He is an ICE immigration fugitive and criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Gonzalo Harrell-Gonzalez, a Mexican national, indicted by a Gilmer County, Georgia grand jury on charges of homicide by vehicle in the first degree, two counts of serious injury by vehicle, and reckless driving in the death of Dustin Inman, 16, in January 2001. He is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Luis Alberto Rodriguez-Castro, as Honduran national, charged in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina in October 2011 with negligent homicide and vehicular manslaughter linked to the death of Joseph Storie, 51. Rodriguez-Castro, who entered the country without inspection at an unknown place in 1998, is wanted by ICE as an illegal alien in addition to being a criminal fugitive. [Emphasis added]
Michelle Root, the mother of 21-year-old Sarah Root who was allegedly killed by illegal alien Edwin Mejia in January 2016 on her graduation day, alerted Senators this week to the DHS’s erasing criminal illegal aliens from ICE’s Most Wanted list.
“The administration also removed the VOICE office’s most wanted list from their website — including my daughter’s killer, Edwin Mejia,” Root said before the Senate Judiciary Committee. “They want to abolish ICE and get rid of any law enforcement whose mission it is to carry out our immigration laws and protect the homeland.”
Searches for each of the criminal illegal aliens removed from ICE’s Most Wanted list result in a message that reads “Page Not Found,” indicating that the previous web pages for the fugitives have been wiped clean off the agency’s website.
(Screenshot via ICE.gov)
It is unclear if ICE has changed its metrics for how it identifies criminal illegal aliens as “Most Wanted” fugitives. ICE officials did not respond to a request for comment when contacted by Breitbart News.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter here.
Immigration cases deciding if migrants will be legally allowed to stay in the U.S. have doubled since 2017, according to migration data released Monday.
Over 1.3 million cases are pending, with more than 110,000 pending in New York courts alone, according to Syracuse University’s Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). Migrants wait an average of two and a half years for a judge to decide their case, Axios reported Monday.
“The number of pending deportation cases more than doubled during the Trump administration, but the court backlog still continues to grow under the Biden administration,” TRAC Assistant Professor Austin Kocher told the Daily Caller News Foundation Tuesday.
Immigration courts accepted nearly 127,000 cases between October 2020 and May, compared to the 68,000 cases the courts ruled on in the same time frame, according to Kocher. Less than 4% of new cases issued deportation orders based on the migrant’s alleged criminal activity, Kocher tweeted.
“As of the end of May 2021, there were more than 1.3 million people facing deportation just in the immigration courts. That’s about the number of people that live in Dallas, Texas. And the number only grows each month,” Kocher told the DCNF.
“At this point, it seems unlikely that the president — whether Democrat or Republican — can fix the problem, and that Congress will need to step in and enact immigration reform,” Kocher added.
Nearly 28,000 removal and voluntary departure orders were issued from October 2020 through May, Kocher said in a tweet. Only around 20% of migrants issued deportation or removal orders had legal assistance.
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Mark Delgado told Border Patrol agents he was scrolling through TikTok one day when he came across a video asking for drivers and offering $4,000 a trip.
He needed the money, so he reached out to the guy on WhatsApp, a messaging service owned by Facebook. They made arrangements to meet this month in the Rio Grande Valley, where the TikTok recruiter put a man in the trunk of Mr. Delgado’s Nissan Altima and piled clothes on top to try to conceal the migrant, according to court documents.
Mr. Delgado was sent on his way with a warning — stay relaxed while going through the Border Patrol checkpoint — and a promise of $5,200 when the migrant was dropped off outside Houston.
A canine at the checkpoint alerted on Mr. Delgado’s car, and agents found the migrant. Agents said Mr. Delgado begged them to cut him a break: “Can’t you let me go since this is my first time?”
A day later, at the same checkpoint, agents nabbed another man, Alvaro-Vazquez-Ruiz, who said he was recruited over Telegram, another social media app. He was promised $1,500 for every person he was able to get through the checkpoint.
He turned the fuel tank of his Ford F-350 truck into a compartment to hide a migrant, but the smugglers told him he had to transport two people, so he tried to stash the second person underneath the back seat. Agents manning the checkpoint spotted that person and swooped in to make the arrest, according to court files.
Social media apps such as TikTok, Snapchat, Telegram, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp have upended the smuggling world.
Connecting a driver to a group of migrants is as easy as messaging a GPS “pin” location. Scouts can alert smugglers to Border Patrol agents so they can avoid them or, in some cases, to make sure the migrants are spotted, distracting agents while a more valuable load is sneaked through.
FBI agents in California revealed that smugglers holding illegal immigrants for ransom also use WhatsApp to arrange meetups with relatives to transfer the cash.
Recent news reports show smugglers advertise their services on social media like regular businesses. The difference is that the “customers” are desperately poor migrants willing to go $10,000 into debt for an attempt to cross illegally into the U.S.
The value and dangers of a smartphone
There seem to be few areas where social media has not touched the smuggling world and few cases where it is not a factor.
The Washington Times reviewed 25 criminal smuggling cases filed in Arizona over the past two months in which migrants were held as witnesses — court documents usually provide the information — and found 17 had indications that smartphones were involved. That’s a rate of 68%.
The actual figure could be higher because Border Patrol agents filing other cases might not report smartphone use in court documents.
In about half of the Arizona cases, migrants were guided across the border and to rendezvous locations by smartphone.
Smugglers in several cases received real-time instructions or scouting reports. One smuggler said a text message gave a pin-drop location for his pickup. Another said he was communicating via WhatsApp with the smuggling coordinator throughout his trip. When agents got on his tail, he said, he was ordered not to pull over and to try to escape.
Smuggling organizations know the value — and the dangers — of the smartphone. Criminal case files are full of reports about foot guides, drivers and boat captains who tossed, smashed or wiped data from their phones once they saw Border Patrol agents closing in.
When agents do get access to texts or apps, they can build better cases and often puncture smugglers’ stories and excuses.
Smartphones also are valuable to migrants.
“I’ve never met an immigrant who didn’t have a modern cellphone, a smartphone, that was fully plugged into the social media world and that gave them live-time intelligence information about where to go, when to go and how people upstream were doing,” said Todd Bensman, a national security fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies.
He said the most powerful lure is the collection of selfies their relatives, neighbors and friends text back home, advertising the ease of gaining a foothold in the U.S.
Smugglers have been using Facebook and Snapchat for years, but TikTok is relatively new, according to The Times’ database. Most major social media platforms have been used to recruit drivers or connect them with migrants.
Malik Jackson was nabbed in 2019 for smuggling after a citizen tipped off authorities. He said he responded to a Snapchat ad seeking drivers, according to court documents. He told agents the ad offered $300 per person to smuggle Mexicans and $600 per Chinese migrant.
Gequon Willis, nabbed at a highway checkpoint in California in 2019, said he saw a Snapchat video titled “Want to make some money.” He had been fired from his job and needed work, so he clicked through and someone contacted him and gave him instructions.
He picked up two illegal immigrants and was to be paid $1,000 per person.
WhatsApp is the most popular platform for smugglers, according to The Times’ database, followed by Facebook and Snapchat. WhatsApp is particularly useful once drivers are recruited. Smuggling organizers use the app to relay instructions, help connect drivers and migrants and make sure they get through checkpoints.
Connecting migrants with drivers, which used to be tricky in remote areas, is now as easy as messaging a GPS pin to the driver over one of the apps. Smuggling scouts can give step-by-step directions to help migrants on foot avoid checkpoints.
Drivers about to be caught are ordered to trash phones or erase data. Smuggling networks have been derailed by undeleted texts with stash house locations or names that can be used to build cases.
Trying to crack down
Customs and Border Protection said it is “aware of the use of social media” to connect with migrants and recruit operators.
The agency’s answer: public relations.
“CBP works in close coordination with its federal, local and international partner agencies, including local community leaders to message the inherent dangers to all would-be migrants thinking of crossing the border illegally, especially those using the services of smuggling organizations,” the agency told The Times.
Neither Telegram nor TikTok responded to questions about the platforms’ use in smuggling.
Snap, the company that runs Snapchat, also didn’t answer questions.
Facebook, which owns Instagram and WhatsApp along with its own platform, said it tries to ban illegal activity such as advertising for smuggling. The company pointed to an exchange between CEO Mark Zuckerberg and Rep. Buddy Carter, Georgia Republican, at a hearing this spring.
“That’s against our policies, and we’re taking a lot of steps to stop it,” Mr. Zuckerberg said.
Mr. Carter told The Times this month that whatever Facebook is doing, it’s “clearly not enough.”
“We are facing a crisis at the border, and Facebook’s products are contributing to it. More needs to be done by them faster,” he said. “Congress has a responsibility to provide oversight over these companies, and I will continue to press them until their products are no longer used for human smuggling at the border.”
Republicans on the House Homeland Security Committee have begun to probe TikTok’s use as a recruiting tool, particularly for the teenage audience that the app attracts.
Rep. John Katko of New York, the top Republican on the panel, said TikTok does have the power to flag and remove messages and can control which videos “go viral” and which clips are aimed at certain users.
“With such control, TikTok should be able to eradicate the cartel activities outlined above from the platform,” the Republicans wrote.
Illegal activity is sometimes in plain sight for those who know where to look.
Rolando Lucio, nabbed at the Falfurrias, Texas, checkpoint in December, told agents he used a YouTube video to coach the three migrants he was carrying on how to act and what to say to agents. He got tripped up when he told the agent the two migrants were family members but couldn’t remember their names.
An agent dryly wondered whether a relative wouldn’t know his family’s names. Lucio then came clean, according to court documents.
He pleaded guilty and was sentenced this spring to 15 months in prison.
At times, social media accounts come back to bite the smugglers.
Edward Olivas, arrested at a Laredo, Texas, checkpoint in March, said he was a Lyft driver on a run from Laredo to San Antonio, albeit one booked outside of the app. He said he charged about $100.
When agents looked through his phone — after getting his legal consent — they found messages confirming that he knew he was smuggling and expected to be paid $2,000 to transport a Mexican woman through the checkpoint. He even checked to see whether her English was “decent.”
The head of the Border Patrol union slammed Vice President Harris on Sunday morning for advocating for migrants and, in turn, “advocating for lawlessness” that has extended into other parts of the country.
Just days after Harris concluded her trip to Latin America – her first foreign trip since taking office – she has faced persistent questions about her decision not to visit the U.S.-Mexico border. To date, neither President Biden nor Harris has visited the border.
Speaking to Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo on “Sunday Morning Futures,” National Border Patrol Council president Brandon Judd said Harris “can’t go to the border – if she goes to the border, she’s going to be expected to solve this problem.”
“This is a problem that she created. She even came out and said that she’s an advocate for illegal aliens,” Judd said. “She’s supposed to be an advocate for citizens of this country. Yet, she’s coming out and she’s saying that she’s advocating for lawlessness.”
Instead, while Harris was in Guatemala City, she told those thinking of making the journey to the U.S.: “Do not come.”
Judd said Harris’ alleged lax attitude toward lawlessness is “the reason that we’re seeing all of the problems that we’re seeing in cities like Oregon, New York, Chicago.”
Earlier this week, immigration officials said border agents made 180,034 apprehensions on the Mexican border in May. There were 178,854 a month earlier.
Total encounters are near 20-year-highs, though they aren’t directly comparable because expulsions under pandemic-related powers that deny an opportunity to seek asylum carry no legal consequences, encouraging people to make repeated attempts.
Federal prosecutors announced the arrest Tuesday of three people accused of a grisly extortion scheme against illegal immigrants trying to make their way into California that involved kidnapping, rape and exorbitant demands for cash to secure the migrants’ release.
Investigators said they are aware of at least five kidnappings with similar tactics, including using the electronics section of stores like Walmart as meet-up locations to collect ransom but refusing to release the migrants and demanding still more money.
The kidnappers preyed on migrants coming during the current border surge, which has spawned reports of increased abuses of those trying to jump the border, believing they have a better chance of success under the Biden administration.
While extortion is a disturbingly common occurrence for illegal immigrants, federal law enforcement usually sees it only when it happens on the U.S. side, after people have crossed and are being held at stash houses here.
But in this case, investigators said, it was a cross-border operation, with the kidnapping ring approaching would-be migrants while they were in Mexicali, offering to smuggle them in for a fee, then making the exorbitant ransom demands.
One woman told investigators after she agreed to pay $14,000 to be smuggled in, she instead was held at gunpoint and forced to talk to her husband as part of the ransom demand. She also said she was raped and beaten.
Her husband paid $19,000, but then was told he had to come up with another $1,500. He pleaded that he couldn’t scrounge the cash and was begging for money on the streets, and his wife eventually was released.
In another kidnapping in late May, a man said his wife had made arrangements to be smuggled into the U.S. and the husband was to pay $12,000. He soon began to receive messages demanding $15,000, which he turned over at a Walmart. But then he was told it would take another $16,000, an FBI agent said in an affidavit.
Investigators obtained Walmart security video showing the ransom exchanges and were able to tie one of the collectors to a car in the parking lot, which they then used to track down his identity.
Arrested were Edgar Adrian Lemus, Francisco Javier Hernandez Martinez and Junior Almendarez Martinez. All are charged with money laundering conspiracy.
Once investigators identified the men late last month, they tracked them and saw what they believed to be other attempts at ransom exchanges.
In one, at the same Walmart as a previous exchange, agents say they saw Mr. Lemus meet with someone in the electronics section and collect a white bag. Agents tried to talk with the person who handed over the bag, but the person was too scared to talk.
In Texas, authorities said they broke up another extortion operation after migrants called the police saying they were being held against their will.
They told responding Border Patrol officers that they were being held in an RV until their families made additional $1,500 payments.
Unable to pay, the migrants escaped and used a cellphone they found in the RV to call 911.
Victoria Perez spent 10 months as a migrant smuggler. When agents finally caught up with her, she told them she had made $200,000 over that time, working two days a week, driving migrants through a Border Patrol highway checkpoint near El Paso, Texas.
She charged $1,500 per person when the checkpoint was operating but only $600 when the checkpoint was closed because the risk was low and the roads were wide open, she told agents.
The $200,000 she earned for what was essentially part-time work exceeds the annual salary of a member of Congress. It works out to three times the starting pay for a Border Patrol agent.
Perez was, in essence, a gig worker, contracting herself as a driver for a much larger organization.
It has become an accepted part of border wisdom that the surge of illegal immigrants is enriching the cartels. That’s true to some extent, but most of the money ends up not in the hands of the Gulf Cartel or Zetas, but in the pockets of people like Perez.
And 2021 is turning into a boom year. Based on the number of migrants and the prices they are paying, smugglers are easily on track for their biggest profits in history.
“Demand is so strong that the prices are going up,” said Todd Bensman, a fellow at the Center for Immigration Studies who tracks smuggling tactics. “There’s huge, huge money being made right now.”
Talk to anyone familiar with the cartels, and they will inevitably start speaking in business terms. People are the product, and their families are the customers paying to smuggle them into the U.S. The cartels franchise the operations to coordinators and independent operators such as Perez.
What the cartels are selling is a vision: the American dream. People who have the cash or, more often, are willing to go into debt pay big money to chase that dream.
What the organizations bring to the table is logistics. The coordinators arrange housing, meals and transportation for tens of thousands of people each month who make the trip, and the cartels take a cut of the profit.
The Washington Times has tracked smuggling cases along the southwestern border for several years and maintains a database based on affidavits from Border Patrol agents, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents, and Customs and Border Protection officers. The accounts in this article are chiefly based on those interviews.
According to The Times’ data, Mexicans paid an average of about $7,900 in February 2020, before the COVID-19 pandemic upended cross-border traffic. The average payment this February rose to about $8,900. Central Americans’ average payment increased from about $9,400 last year to $11,000. Rates have held fairly steady in the months since.
Who’s getting paid?
For some migrants, the first contact with a smuggling organization begins in South America or even farther afield. Federal authorities in recent years have broken up several smuggling operations that they said specialized in guiding migrants from terrorism-tinged parts of the world such as Pakistan and Afghanistan. They travel through Brazil and then up the spine of the Western Hemisphere to reach the U.S. border.
Most of the migrants, though, are likely to begin their transactions with hawkers in plazas in southern Mexico or Central America.
Victor Manjarrez, a former chief patrol agent in the Border Patrol’s Tucson, Arizona, sector and now a professor at the University of Texas at El Paso, said the scene is like something out of Las Vegas, where street hawkers pass out flyers for shows on the Strip.
The product the smugglers are selling is the fastest or safest trip north. In some cases, it’s a two-for-one promise: If you get caught the first time, then the smugglers will give you a second attempt free of charge.
Migrants fork out payments along the trip for every bus ride, boat trip or foot guide.
Darlyn Josue Mass-Montenegro, a Honduran man nabbed in 2019 as part of a group of 23 migrants in a truckload of watermelons, gave agents the breakdown of the $13,000 tab for reaching Los Angeles: $3,000 in Honduras; $1,500 in Monterrey and $2,000 in Tamaulipas, Mexico; $1,500 to the stash house operator who kept him holed up at a car wash in McAllen, Texas; and $2,000 in Houston. The remainder was due once he reached Los Angeles.
That doesn’t include out-of-pocket costs.
Many migrants who take the land route to Panama cross the forbidding jungle of the Darien Gap and emerge at the village of Bajo Chiquito. There, they pay $5 for a canoe ride downriver to a migrant camp. Such scenes are repeated dozens of times across a journey.
The big money, though, is collected near the U.S. border.
Someone usually houses the migrants on the Mexican side. Migrants owe a “piso” or “mafia fee” to whatever cartel controls the approach they’re taking to cross the border. They also must pay a foot guide to take them through the desert or someone to raft them across the Rio Grande, and a driver to pick them up and transport them to a stash house on the U.S. side, where they wait for a long-haul driver to try to get them through the network of Border Patrol checkpoints that act as secondary borders.
The checkpoint is the key step for most migrants. Once they make it through the checkpoint, they are in the interior of the U.S. and are unlikely to be caught, much less deported.
Drivers might earn about $50 per person to ferry migrants along local routes from the border to nearby stash houses.
Stash house operators get more. Eduardo Salinas, nabbed May 24 in Eagle Pass, Texas, by agents who heard he was threatening migrants at the stash house he was running, told agents he was paid $500 per person. He was holding six people at the time he was arrested.
Bringing food to a stash house can earn a couple of hundred bucks a week.
Scouts, who track Border Patrol movements or run interference on driving routes, also can make a couple of hundred per job.
Truck drivers are usually paid the most. A single run can net tens of thousands of dollars.
Richard Codoluto, nabbed by agents last month with 45 illegal immigrants inside his tractor-trailer, said he was getting $15,000 for the trip and had made 10 or so previous runs.
Rafael Cazarez, arrested May 28 near Laredo with a load of 54 migrants in a truck, told agents he charged a “flat rate” of $50,000 for each run. He said that was his eighth trip.
Some smugglers stop for food and pick up snacks for the migrants. Others treat them like merchandise. They lock the migrants inside compartments, zip them into suitcases or force them into car trunks.
Things can go tragically wrong, particularly in the summer heat along much of the border. Agents often take the temperatures of compartments where they find migrants stashed and regularly find the thermometer topping 100 degrees.
Agents at a California checkpoint nabbed two people carrying two illegal immigrants in the trunk of a Nissan Sentra in the June heat. Using a Fluke 917 Temperature Humidity Meter, agents measured 134 degrees in the trunk. The Mexican migrants had paid $8,000 apiece for the trip. The smugglers were sentenced to time served.
Two months later, agents at the same checkpoint in the desert just south of the Salton Sea found migrants stashed in the trunk of a Toyota Corolla. They recorded a temperature of 158 degrees.
Judges often respond with stiff sentences.
Juan Contreras was sentenced last month to nearly 11 years in prison for migrant smuggling — his third conviction — after he was found carrying 35 illegal immigrants in the trailer of his truck, which broke down on the side of Interstate 35.
The tow truck driver heard banging from inside the trailer and called Border Patrol. Agents arrived to find that the migrants had punched holes in the trailer to try to escape the heat. Two had passed out and were rushed to a hospital for treatment. Contreras admitted that he never tried to help the migrants.
The border surge this year has been accompanied by a rise in deaths. Drownings, death by exposure and highway accidents are increasing, law enforcement officials say.
Those who study the smuggling operations say rough treatment is common. They aren’t surprised when migrants are viewed as cargo or merchandise.
The FBI brought charges April 30 against two people who agents said ran an extortion operation in New Mexico, where migrants were held and beaten until their families paid extra. The violence was captured on video and sent to relatives to hasten the payments.
One family paid $7,000 to have a Honduran man released. Another man, from the country of Georgia, said his family paid $10,000.
That same day in Houston, police got a call from a woman who said she had paid $11,000 to smuggle her brother from Honduras into the U.S. and was told he was being held for an additional $6,300 ransom. Police tracked down the smugglers’ cellphone number, sent in a SWAT team and found 97 illegal immigrants stuffed into two rooms with deadbolt locks to prevent escape.
The need for cash during the pandemic has created a large pool of people willing to smuggle, but some stand out.
Perez, the woman who earned $200,000 in 10 months of smuggling migrants around a highway checkpoint, walked the route herself and mapped it out.
She knew the 2-mile hike took two hours. She would drop off migrants just west of the checkpoint, drive through the checkpoint alone and then wait a couple of hours at a rest stop before heading to the pickup spot. Her usual destination was Dallas.
Perez was nabbed in December 2019 while dropping off 12 people before the checkpoint. At $1,500 a head, she stood to make $18,000 for that load alone.
She told agents her employer was a man in a Juarez, Mexico, prison and paid her by MoneyGram.
Perez pleaded guilty to that smuggling charge and was ordered to report to prison six months later, but she was arrested again in another smuggling attempt in May 2020. She told agents she was trying to make some quick cash to support her son while she was behind bars.
Francisco Javier Ayala-Reyes, arrested at a Border Patrol checkpoint in Texas in October with two illegal immigrants in his SUV, told agents he had been involved in smuggling since age 11. He was to be paid $3,200 per person when he dropped off the two sisters in Houston.
He said he picked up the women from a stash house, where he saw 30 illegal immigrants as well as drugs. He selected the two women for the run because they looked the most “American.” He figured they would be less likely to be flagged at the checkpoint.
He told the women to rub some oil on their hands, but the oil turned out to have some properties of marijuana. When he arrived at the checkpoint near Sarita, a Border Patrol dog trained to sniff out drugs and smuggled humans alerted on the vehicle.
He was sentenced last month to time served in prison plus three months of house arrest. He also was ordered to undergo substance abuse treatment.
Ayala-Reyes preferred American-looking migrants, but Jose Rene Gonzalez told agents he usually asked for Chinese because they were usually smaller and easier to conceal. He got a 28-month sentence for a 2019 attempt.
Sometimes it is illegal immigrants who are pressured into doing the smuggling.
Agents this month nabbed a carload of migrants who said the smuggler insisted that one of them drive the SUV. The smuggler followed in another vehicle. Agents charged the Mexican illegal immigrant, who paid $10,000 for the trip and then got recruited to drive, but the man who orchestrated the scheme got away.
Taken as a whole, migrants are paying billions of dollars a year to be smuggled.
The rate can vary dramatically. It depends on where the migrant is from, the route they take and, in particular, how they choose to enter the U.S.
Among the more expensive options is being boated up the California coast and dropped off at a San Diego beach. Mexicans pay perhaps $15,000 for the trip.
Coming through an official border crossing stashed in a car trunk or stuffed into an aftermarket compartment between the engine and glove compartment — a surprisingly common method — also commands top dollar. A common rate in recent months is $18,000.
Chinese migrants smuggled through those border crossings pay the highest rates, according to The Times’ database, with some topping $70,000. The average rate is nearly $30,000.
Swimming the Rio Grande or walking over the border in Arizona or California is usually the cheapest way. Some migrants say they paid as little as $500, but a $20,000 tab is not uncommon for Brazilians and $17,000 is a frequent rate for Ecuadorians.
Mexicans usually have the lowest payments. Central Americans come in slightly higher.
Meralis Reanos-Canales told agents she paid $9,000 to smugglers for her journey from Honduras. She was shuttled between stash houses on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande before she got a chance to cross. She was given a wristband — a tactic smugglers use so they know who is going where — and then swam across the river as part of a group of 35 people.
Once on the banks in the U.S., the migrants ran away from agents before they were loaded into trucks and taken to stash houses.
Ms. Reanos-Canales said she went first to a trailer and then to a “factory,” where hundreds of people were kept. After two weeks and another $1,800, she was told she could leave. The smugglers put her into a Nissan Altima with a driver and three other migrant women. They made it through a Border Patrol checkpoint by lying about their citizenship, but a sheriff’s deputy later stopped the Nissan for speeding and uncovered the smuggling attempt.
Few have upfront cash for the trip. They borrow from family, friends or neighbors and sometimes go into debt to cartels with plans to work it off once they reach their destinations. Most find their own way to northern Mexico and hook up with smugglers for the final push into the U.S.
Mr. Manjarrez said 40 to 50 people can be involved in a single migrant’s journey, and each of them is getting a cut of the money.
Mr. Bensman compared it to a relay race, with migrants as batons handed off from one person to another.
Everyone knows their territory. Some specialize in mountains, and others get migrants onto the trains that run across Mexico. They have relationships with local authorities and know whom to pay to ease the passage.
Mr. Bensman once tried to arrange a fake smuggling trip north from Central America. He was told it would cost $1,000 just to move someone from Costa Rica to Nicaragua.
“They said, ‘We need the money to pay the police,’” he said.
The cartels, which sometimes oversee the trips, come into play when it’s time to cross the border.
They control the approaches and charge for each crossing through their territory. Some agents refer to it as a “mafia fee,” and migrants call it a “piso.” The fee can range from a couple of hundred dollars to more than $1,000.
During a visit in the Rio Grande Valley several years ago, Mr. Manjarraz said, agents told him they had calculated that the cartel controlling the routes into that region made $100 million over the previous 12 months simply from fees paid by folks taking those routes.
That’s one cartel in one region of the border.
The Rand Corp. developed its own estimates. It calculated that pisos paid by migrants from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala in 2017 ranged from $30 million to $180 million.
‘The winners are the cartels’
Like so much about illegal immigration, a massive range of uncertainty is involved. For one thing, it’s impossible to know exactly how many people are coming across the border.
The government reports arrests, but Customs and Border Protection declined to release its data to The Times on “gotaways,” or migrants known to have crossed but evaded capture.
In Texas, the Department of Public Safety runs a network of cameras at the border and calculates that the number of gotaways is up 156% from last year.
Cochise County in Arizona, which also runs its own camera system, calculated that only 27.6% of migrants spotted jumping the border from July through January were caught by Border Patrol agents.
Using that “probable capture rate” as a rough yardstick means that if agents borderwide nabbed 96,974 migrants last month, another 250,000 or so made it through. Even assuming the “gotaway” rate is higher in Arizona’s remote areas than in Texas, many people still don’t show up in the monthly apprehension statistics.
The gotaway numbers don’t account for those who sneak into the U.S. by hiding in car trunks, gas cans or other nooks and crannies in vehicles coming through the official border crossings or who are carried by boat or personal watercraft north along the coast.
Agents generally figure that the ratio of gotaways versus those apprehended is steady. If the rate of apprehensions doubles, so does the number of people who evade capture. That means the smuggling world’s income is growing along with it.
Given that Border Patrol arrests more than tripled from about 30,000 in February 2020 to about 97,000 last month, it stands to reason that the smuggling world’s income also has tripled, assuming all else is the same.
“The winners here in open borders are the cartels,” said Mark Morgan, a former chief of the Border Patrol and acting commissioner at Customs and Border Protection in the Trump administration.
Business is so good that operations are expanding. The Big Bend area of Texas, which is so rugged and remote that smugglers usually have avoided it, has suddenly become active.
“They’ve got so much revenue now and so many more resources available to them they’re able to take these tactics and open up new franchises now, and Big Bend is one of the franchises now,” Mr. Morgan said.
(June 9, 2021, Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) revealed that immigration authorities apprehended 180,034 illegal aliens at the southern border in May—marking the fifth consecutive month of increased illegal immigration and the highest monthly total since President Biden took office.
“What we are witnessing is an unprecedented immigration crisis that threatens national security, national health, and the economic interests of the American people. What makes it unprecedented, is that it is a crisis created and perpetuated by the Biden administration,” commented Dan Stein, president of FAIR. “As chief architect of the border and immigration crises, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas must resign or be fired.
“Not only are the record-breaking numbers of illegal migrants entering our country a threat to the interests and security of the United States, they are also further destabilizing countries to our south. Even with Vice President Kamala Harris engaging in a public relations tour of Guatemala and Mexico to talk about the ‘root causes of migration,’ the presidents of those two nations are publicly blaming her administration for creating the crisis and strengthening the malign grip of criminal cartels. Rather than addressing the root causes of migration, the Biden-Harris policies are creating new root causes,” Stein charged.
“While the vice president is engaging in a transparent publicity stunt, Secretary Mayorkas continues to design and implement border enforcement and immigration enforcement that ensure that more illegal migrants can enter the country, and that virtually no one who is here illegally will ever be removed,” Stein continued. “He, and the people he is appointing to key positions within the department, are busy undermining the very laws they are sworn to enforce.”
FAIR is joining with members of Congress, including many border district Democrats, local government officials, and citizens from all across the country, in demanding that the Biden-Harris administration take immediate steps to restore order and credibility to our border and immigration policies. These include:
§ Resumption of border wall construction.
§ Reinstatement of the recently canceled Migrant Protection Protocols.
§ Maintaining COVID-related Title 42 authority to immediately remove border-crossers.
§ Ending catch-and-release policies.
“More than 180,000 border apprehensions in a single month leaves little doubt that chaos at the border is the Biden-Harris policy, and that Secretary Mayorkas, who is charged with carrying it out, must go,” Stein concluded.
His callsign is Tango 5, or Tango for short. Tango is an undercover investigator in one of the most dangerous jobs in the world – taking on the elephant and rhino poachers of Africa’s organized crime syndicates.
It is too dangerous for Tango, and his family, to reveal his name, face, or current location.
Crime syndicates are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of elephants, rhinos, and other animals each year. Their business is worth a staggering $20 billion annually in illicit profits.
But they can be stopped. And Tango is one of the best at stopping them. He works for the International Anti-Poaching Foundation (IAPF) based in Zimbabwe.
The IAPF protects more than 1.5 million hectares of African wilderness. Where the IAPF operates, poaching is reduced by over 80 percent.
The IAPF is the conversation group behind ‘Akashinga’- the all-women vegan anti-poaching team featured in the National Geographic film of the same name.
But anti-poaching work remains incredibly dangerous. Two rangers, investigators or wildlife protectors are killed every week trying to save the wild animals of the forests and savannah.
Which makes Tango luckier than some.
Earlier this month, Tango was returning home to be with his family after a successful undercover operation involving IAPF and government agencies, which saw the arrest of two suspects involved with rhino poaching.
It was a Sunday evening. He was driving from Beitbridge to the capital Harare when he was allegedly forced off the road by two vehicles and assaulted. The assailants poured petrol over both Tango and his car and set it alight while he was inside, blindfolded with his jacket and tied with his own shoelaces to the steering wheel. Tango’s Car Was Totally Obliterated by Fire. Credit: IAPF
The fire engulfed the car and the windows began to explode. However, Tango managed to get one hand free and then extricate himself from the burning car. That was not before suffering serious burns to around 30 percent of his face, neck, arms, chest, and stomach.
He was in desperate need of help on the side of the road by a burning vehicle. He attempted to wave vehicles down for help, but they drove past.
Eventually, a good Samaritan stopped and took him to Beitbridge hospital, a remote border town in southern Zimbabwe. The public medical system there struggles with basic needs, strained even further with COVID-19 cases. Left there, he would have died.
They were only able to offer limited primary care. But they kept him alive overnight. The next morning he was evacuated by air to a private hospital where a medical team was on standby.
That’s where Tango remains today. His whereabouts are a secret, and his room is being guarded by the investigation team to guarantee his survival.
Tango is 28 years old. His injuries – both physical and psychological – mean he’s likely never to work again as an undercover investigator, but will be redeployed within IAPF.
Tango is currently in intensive care. Credit: IAPF
“He’s a silent warrior,” says Iraq War veteran Damien Mander, who founded IAPF in 2009. “It’s no understatement to say he moves amongst the shadows of night in the fight against wildlife crime. And he is one of the best, as part of a region-wide team operating across borders.”
The crime syndicates specialize in rhino horn and ivory poaching, as well as other illicit trades such as weapons and human trafficking.
“Tango has been one of our most fearless and committed wildlife crime fighters for a long time,” added Mander.mil
The attack appeared to be in direct retaliation for arrests made earlier on that Sunday, involving those suspected rhino poachers.
Tango and others like him are the last line of defense for African wildlife, animals under serious threat of being poached and hunted to extinction.
According to the IUCN, populations of African forest elephants have fallen by more than 86 percent over 31 years, while African savanna elephants have decreased by 60 percent over the last 50 years.
For some African rhinos, the situation is worse. In 1970 there were 70,000 black rhinos, but just 2,410 in 1995 – a dramatic decline of 96 percent.
Thanks to the efforts of conservation by organizations such as the IAPF, black rhino numbers have risen to a population of between 5,366 and 5,627 individuals. But that is still over 85 percent down from 1970.
Globally the combined pressures of animal agriculture, wildlife trafficking, and poaching mean only four percent of the total mass of mammals on the planet are free-living wild animals. More than 60 percent of all living mammals are now animals farmed for agriculture such as cows, pigs, and sheep. Humans make up the other 36 percent.
That makes it critical to protect those animals who are left – and support those on the frontline of protecting them.
Every year it gets harder. It is a perverse law of market economics that the more endangered the animals become, the more valuable they are. This attracts even more attention from the organized crime syndicates. Rhino horn is currently selling for around $65,000 per kilogram on the black market.
And that makes the job of protecting them even more dangerous.
The IAPF, and Tango, knew that something like this could happen. As the crime syndicates get more involved, the costs – and the risks – to protect wildlife increase.
Tango will stay with the IAPF on full pay throughout his recovery. He’ll be retrained for another role within the company. But, his loss to the Special Investigations Unit is a big blow.
“He’s been involved in hundreds of arrests,” says Mander. “It’s a huge loss for us and the animals.
“We’ll need to replace him too, and that requires us to retrain a new operator over a minimum of 12 months. And provide additional training and protective resources for all investigation officers.”
The IAPF will be covering the ongoing costs and compensation with the help of donors until Tango returns.
But that may not be for a while. Right now, he’s in a sealed-off room specifically set aside for serious burns. His screams of pain can be heard throughout the hospital when his bandages are changed daily.
“He’ll be severely scarred both mentally and physically for life,” explains Mander. “He’s having flashbacks. He’s in and out of consciousness and is in a serious but stable condition.
The IAPF does plan financially for emergencies, but Tango’s is an extreme case. There are no “victims of crime” compensation payment systems in Zimbabwe.
“The best way the international community can help right now is to donate to Tango’s recovery fund,” says Mander. “We’ve already raised $21,000 for him.
“We’ve got medical bills, the air evacuation and paramedic treatment, the secure room in a private hospital, a burns specialist, and trauma counseling. The costs will get closer to $100,000.”
The special investigations team works across Zimbabwe and other regions alongside and as part of Akashinga, the world’s only armed all-female teams of wildlife rangers, the plant-based project that protects much of Zimbabwe’s wildlife in the Zambezi Valley. Donors to the campaign have the option to be kept regularly updated with Tango’s recovery.
Luckily, no other IAPF rangers or staff were involved in the assault. It does at least mean they can continue normal operations in protecting Zimbabwe’s environment, communities, and wildlife.
Tango is still in intensive care, although Mander points out their priority is to get him back to good health, and he’s responding well.
“He’s there until at least the end of the month,” he says, “but Tango is fighting strong. He’s started to speak now, and wiggle his fingers.”
IAPF is focused on driving the investigation and bringing those responsible for this attempted murder to justice. It’s essential – a strong message that the culprits are held responsible will protect other investigators. And as such, more animals.
“The reason investigators like Tango are so effective is that they go precisely where the problem is,” explains Mander. “We use limited resources in a focused way.
“Only three percent of crimes are solved by catching someone in the act. The other 97 percent is through investigation,and then getting law enforcement to take action.
“This is the only way to continue to crush these and similar organized crime syndicates.
“We condemn the use of violence against those who attempt to uphold the laws of Zimbabwe and protect its wildlife against poaching. We are working with the appropriate authorities and will leave no stone unturned in efforts to bring the perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice.”
International Anti-Poaching Foundation is a USA-registered 501c(3) charity. IAPF has the Platinum Seal of approval from independent charity evaluator GuideStar. This is the highest level that GuideStar recognizes and less than 0.5 percent of nonprofits in the USA earn it.
Venezuelans warn that it’s a very hard way to migrate and shouldn’t be undertaken, especially by women and children. They tell of rapes of young children, women, and deaths. They say that they are going to join family in the United States.
“Darien Gap, Panama: Rape of Small Children Migrants between Colombia and Panama“https://youtu.be/-qXPVBwSwc4
(Seattle) – A 19-year-old Alaska man was charged with arson today for the fire he set Monday, August 24, 2020 at the Seattle Police Department’s East Precinct, announced U.S. Attorney Brian T. Moran. DESMOND DAVID-PITTS was arrested shortly after the fire following a Monday night protest march. DAVID-PITTS appeared today in U.S. District Court in Seattle.
“This is the fourth defendant to appear in federal court after being charged with criminal conduct that went far beyond any peaceful protest,” said U.S. Attorney Brian Moran. “Those who go to protest but choose violence and criminal acts over protected speech will face the full weight of federal criminal sanctions. This illegal conduct must end.”
“The intentional fire set Monday evening in an organized, pre-planned attack endangered the lives of our officers and our entire community. This was not a peaceful protest, or demonstration for equity, but an act of lawlessness. We are grateful our federal partners at the U.S. Attorney’s Office recognize the criminal nature of these acts and are holding those responsible accountable,” said Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best.
Deputy Chief Adrian Diaz promised to maintain the SPD’s federal partnerships as he takes command of the Department and added “We are hopeful that the federal charges now filed against Mr. David-Pitts will serve as a warning that crimes of violence will not be tolerated in Seattle.”
According to the criminal complaint, DAVID-PITTS had arrived in Seattle from Alaska just three days before Monday’s protest. After marching with the group in downtown Seattle, DAVID-PITTS is seen on surveillance video piling up trash against the sally-port door at the Seattle Police East Precinct. Over an eleven minute period the surveillance video captures DAVID-PITTS not only piling up the trash, but repeatedly lighting it on fire and feeding the flames with more trash. While DAVID-PITTS was lighting the fire, other people who appeared on the surveillance were attempting to use crowbars and cement-like materials to try to disable the door next to the sally-port to prevent officers from exiting the building. At various times DAVID-PITTS appeared to be communicating with the others. Despite efforts to disable the door, officers were able to get outside and extinguish the flames. A similarly equipped group set a second fire around the corner from the DAVID-PITTS arson, and DAVID-PITTS was seen on surveillance working with the others to cut through a chain-link fence that was a barrier around the building. The second fire was extinguished by Seattle Police Officers and members of the Seattle Fire Department.
DAVID-PITTS was identified less than an hour later in the crowd outside the precinct because of the distinctive pink camouflage trousers he was wearing. He was arrested without incident.
Three people have already been charged with federal crimes in connection to civil unrest:
Joseph D Rosenbaum was the man who died after being shot by Kyle Rittenhouse. @RichieMcGinniss was punched in the head multiple times while loading this man into a vehicle for transport to hospital. I just spoke with Richie in person. pic.twitter.com/min5tYgQfu
The founder and chairman of a multinational investment company and a company consultant were sentenced to prison today for orchestrating a bribery scheme involving independent expenditure accounts and improper campaign contributions.
Greg E. Lindberg, 50, of Durham, North Carolina, the founder and chairman of Eli Global LLC (Eli Global) and the owner of Global Bankers Insurance Group (GBIG), was sentenced to 87 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Lindberg’s consultant, John D. Gray, 70, of Chapel Hill, North Carolina, was ordered to serve 30 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Lindberg and Gray were also ordered to pay forfeiture in the amount approximately $1.45 million held in accounts established by the defendants for the purpose of funneling the bribe payments.
On March 5, 2020, a federal jury convicted Lindberg and Gray of conspiracy to commit honest services wire fraud and bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds following an approximately three-week trial. U.S. District Judge Max O. Cogburn Jr. presided over the trial and today’s sentencing hearings.
Co-defendant, Robert Cannon Hayes, 74, of Concord, North Carolina, was also sentenced today to a one-year probationary term. Hayes previously pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI and agreed to cooperate with the government’s investigation.
“When Greg Lindberg and John Gray offered millions of dollars in bribes to the North Carolina Insurance Commissioner, they referred to their elaborately corrupt scheme as a ‘win-win’ – unaware that the FBI was watching and listening,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Brian C. Rabbitt of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. “Today, both men have been held accountable for their crimes, and their sentences underscore the Department of Justice’s unyielding commitment to rooting out corruption wherever we find it.”
“Lindberg and his accomplices, driven by greed, devised an extensive political bribery scheme to illegally funnel millions of dollars to an elected official for the benefit of Lindberg’s business interests. To this day, Lindberg and Gray remain unremorseful and refuse to accept responsibility for their criminal actions. The severity of their brazen conduct is reflected in the Court’s sentence,” said U.S. Attorney Andrew Murray for the Western District of North Carolina. “Bribery of a public official is far from a victimless crime. It is our duty to the American people to stop bad actors with deep pockets and unscrupulous intentions from wrecking the foundation on which this country proudly stands. To those that greedily seek to line their own pockets through deceit and fraud, I offer the following advice: Keep a travel toothbrush handy.”
“When the prison bars close behind Mr. Lindberg and Mr. Gray, they will hear the sound of justice, loud and clear,” said Special Agent in Charge John Strong of the FBI’s Charlotte Field Office. “The FBI will root out any and all forms of public corruption. We remain committed to ensuring those who attempt to interfere with the integrity of our democratic process pay the price.”
According to filed court documents, evidence presented at trial, and today’s sentencing hearings, in January 2018, the elected Commissioner (Commissioner) of the North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI) reported concerns to the FBI about political contributions and other requests made by Lindberg and Gray, and agreed to cooperate with the federal investigation that was initiated.
According to evidence presented at trial, from April 2017 to August 2018, Lindberg and Gray engaged in a bribery scheme involving independent expenditure accounts and improper campaign contributions for the purpose of causing the Commissioner to take official action favorable to Lindberg’s company, GBIG. Trial evidence established that Lindberg and Gray gave, offered, and promised the Commissioner millions of dollars in campaign contributions and other things of value, in exchange for the removal of NCDOI’s Senior Deputy Commissioner, who was responsible for overseeing regulation and the periodic examination of GBIG.
According to trial evidence, Lindberg, Gray and the Commissioner held numerous in-person meetings at different locations, including in Statesville, North Carolina, and had telephonic and other communications with each other, and others, to discuss Lindberg’s request for the personnel change in exchange for millions of dollars, and to devise a plan on how to funnel campaign contributions to the Commissioner anonymously. In order to conceal the bribery scheme, at the direction of Lindberg, two corporate entities were set-up to form an independent expenditure committee with the purpose of supporting the Commissioner’s re-election campaign, and Lindberg funded the entities with $1.5 million as promised to the Commissioner. In addition, at Lindberg and Gray’s direction, Hayes caused the transfer of $250,000 from monies Lindberg had previously contributed to a North Carolina state party of which Hayes was chairman, to the Commissioner’s re-election campaign.
According to admissions Hayes made in connection with his guilty plea, on or about Aug. 28, 2018, Hayes falsely stated to FBI agents that he had never spoken with the NCDOI Commissioner about personnel or personnel problems at NCDOI, or about Lindberg or Gray. Hayes further admitted that, at the time he made the materially false statements, Hayes knew that it was unlawful to lie to the FBI, and knew that his statements were false because Hayes had in fact spoken with the NCDOI Commissioner about Lindberg and Gray, and about Lindberg’s request that the Commissioner move certain personnel within NCDOI.
The FBI’s Charlotte field office investigated the case.
Trial Attorney James C. Mann of the Criminal Division’s Public Integrity Section and Assistant U.S. Attorneys William T. Stetzer and Dana O. Washington of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of North Carolina prosecuted the case.
“He that takes truth for his guide, and duty for his end, may safely trust to God’s providence to lead him aright.” - Blaise Pascal. "There is but one straight course, and that is to seek truth and pursue it steadily" – George Washington letter to Edmund Randolph — 1795. We live in a “post-truth” world. According to the dictionary, “post-truth” means, “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.” Simply put, we now live in a culture that seems to value experience and emotion more than truth. Truth will never go away no matter how hard one might wish. Going beyond the MSM idealogical opinion/bias and their low information tabloid reality show news with a distractional superficial focus on entertainment, sensationalism, emotionalism and activist reporting – this blogs goal is to, in some small way, put a plug in the broken dam of truth and save as many as possible from the consequences—temporal and eternal. "The further a society drifts from truth, the more it will hate those who speak it." – George Orwell “There are two ways to be fooled. One is to believe what isn’t true; the other is to refuse to believe what is true.” ― Soren Kierkegaard