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Posts tagged ‘U.S. Customs And Border Protection’

Top CBP official tells Congress fentanyl seizures at border up 308% in fiscal year 2021

Reported By Ryan Foley, Christian Post Reporter| Thursday, May 20, 2021


Border, drugs, Mexico, Fentynal
An Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agent weighs a package of Fentanyl at the San Ysidro Port of Entry on October 2, 2019, in San Ysidro, California. – Fentanyl, a powerful painkiller approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for a range of conditions, has been central to the American opioid crisis which began in the late 1990s. China was the first country to manufacture deadly illegal fentanyl for the U.S. market, but the problem surged when trafficking through Mexico began around 2005. | SANDY HUFFAKER/AFP via Getty Images

An official with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection told members of Congress Wednesday that fentanyl seizures at the United States-Mexico border have increased by 308% in the fiscal year 2021.

Troy Miller, the senior official performing the duties of commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, appeared before the House Appropriations Committee’s Homeland Security Subcommittee to discuss the continued surge in crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border and the resources that CBP needs to respond to the situation and carry out its duties effectively.

Members of the committee asked Miller questions about various topics, including the seizure of illegal drugs by CBP officials. 

“Our fentanyl seizures are up 308% in fiscal year ‘21,” Miller said.

He also noted that heroin seizures have increased by 14%, cocaine seizures have increased by 100%, and methamphetamine seizures have increased by 20% in the same period.

Miller shared the statistics regarding drug seizures following a question from Rep. Steven Palazzo, R-Miss., about “the huge gaping holes in our southern border where we don’t know what’s coming over.”

According to Palazzo, “The COVID pandemic obviously did not keep the cartels from working overtime.”

He cited statistics finding that in the fiscal year 2020, CBP seized “[58,000] pounds of Cocaine, 5,700 pounds of heroin, 177,000 pounds of methamphetamine and 4,700 pounds of fentanyl.”

As Palazzo noted, the amount of fentanyl seized by CBP last year “is enough to kill every American two times over.”

The congressman also expressed concern that “as our CBP agents and others are misdirected,” criminals and hard narcotics have an easier time entering the country. 

As the amount of drugs seized at the border continues to increase, the number of encounters between immigration officials and migrants continues to rise.

CBP Data shows that more than 178,000 migrants were apprehended at the southwest border in April, marking a 3% increase from March, when 173,348 people were apprehended. So far, in the fiscal year 2021, which began last October, there have been 749,613 encounters at the southwest border. In all of the fiscal year 2020, there were just 458,088 such encounters. In all of the fiscal year 2019, there were over 977,000 encounters. 

Critics of President Joe Biden attribute the surge in border crossings to actions taken by the new administration to reverse the Trump administration’s immigration policies, including his rescission of the former president’s national emergency at the border, the reversal of a policy requiring asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are adjudicated and the suspension of construction of the border wall.

While Biden’s critics have blamed the president for the surge in crossings at the border, some contend that the rise in border crossings is consistent with a pattern of seasonal changes combined with a backlog created by the border’s closing during the pandemic. 

Former President George W. Bush pointed the finger at Congress for the situation during a recent appearance on Fox News. He alleged that “the system is broken because Congress has failed to act.” 

California Pastor Samuel Rodriguez, who heads the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, argued in March that Biden’s “words and actions” have “given a haphazard and de facto green light to human traffickers around the world to apply their profane trade on the dreams of the most vulnerable.”

The border surge led to overcrowding at shelters that hold unaccompanied minors who cross the border illegally. The crowding at CBP facilities, including a facility in Donna, Texas, came as the U.S. continued to grapple with the coronavirus. While the “pods” in the Donna facility had capacities of 260 people, one pod held more than 400 unaccompanied children at one point during the border surge. The overcrowding at the Donna facility and other similar locations raised concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, as migrants tested for the virus earlier this year had a higher positivity rate than the American public as a whole.

In Brownsville, Texas, migrant families tested had a 12% positivity rate. At the time, the positivity rate among the American public at large was 3.5%. A group of migrants who arrived at a shelter in Harlingen, Texas, in February reportedly had a 25% positivity rate. 

The border crisis has seemingly reflected negatively on the Biden administration. A Real Clear Politics average of polls taken over the past month shows that most Americans (51%) express disapproval of the president’s handling of immigration policy. At the same time, the Real Clear Politics average of polls shows that a majority of the American people (53%) approve of Biden’s performance as president overall. 

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

Under A Biden Administration, Expect An Explosion In Illegal Immigration

Reported by John Daniel Davidson NOVEMBER 12, 2020

One of the big changes we should expect under a Joe Biden administration is an explosion of illegal immigration and a renewed crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. The reason for this is simple: the immigration and border policies the Trump administration has put into place over the past four years have succeeded in driving down illegal immigration, and Biden has promised to reverse nearly all of them.

Throughout the campaign, Biden was forthright about his plans to dismantle Trump’s immigration and border security agenda. His team is now planning to carry out those plans, including a 100-day moratorium on deportations, directives to curtail arrests of illegal immigrants, and a full restoration of the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.

These actions will almost certainly trigger a wave of illegal immigration up and down the southwest border. Why? Because Trump’s policies helped bring illegal immigration under control. Undoing them will be interpreted, rightly, as an invitation to would-be migrants in Mexico and Central America, who will respond accordingly, especially as those countries continue to suffer from worsening conditions under the pandemic.

Although pandemic restrictions and border security policies in the United States and Mexico helped decrease the number of apprehensions at the southwest border over the summer and fall, illegal immigration was steadily declining long before the outbreak, largely because of programs and policies implemented by the Trump administration in response to a dramatic rise in illegal border crossings and apprehensions in 2019.

The Migrant Protection Protocols, or the “remain in Mexico” program, which requires most asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico for their cases to be heard by a U.S. immigration judge, has been one of the most prominent—and controversial—Trump administration policies aimed at curbing illegal immigration. In cooperation with the Mexican government, it has also been successful at deterring illegal immigration and reducing specious asylum claims.

Since the program’s inception in late 2018, some 67,000 people have been returned to Mexico after having been caught crossing the border illegally. Many of these migrants have opted to return to their countries of origin, citing dangerous conditions in Mexico and the likelihood they will lose their asylum cases in court. Biden has said he will end the program.

Another major action taken by the Trump administration was the termination of the Flores Decree, a 1997 court decision that prevented U.S. officials from detaining migrant families and unaccompanied minors for more than 20 days. Because Flores all but guaranteed that an adult who crossed the border with a child would, upon claiming asylum, be quickly released into the United States, it created a powerful incentive for families to cross the border illegally and make questionable asylum claims.

It also fueled a lucrative and exploitative human smuggling industry stretching from Central America to the Rio Grande. Flores meant children were used as “passports” into the United States—not just by families but also by unscrupulous smugglers and cartels that profit handsomely from illegal immigration. U.S. officials discovered thousands of “fake families” at the border in recent years, with adults posing as parents of unrelated children, and even cases where children were “recycled,” crossing the border multiple times with unrelated adults.

By ending Flores, the Trump administration was able to more or less end this practice, since it removed the promise of a quick release if you had a child with you and claimed asylum. Biden has said he will effectively reinstate Flores, releasing asylum-seekers who arrive with children before their court dates and funding various case-management programs in hopes that they don’t simply disappear into the immigration underground once they are released.

Biden has also said he will restore DACA, the Obama-era program that allowed illegal immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as minors a reprieve from deportation and renewable, two-year work permits. The promise of minors being allowed to stay in the United States helped fuel a surge of unaccompanied children and teenagers to the border beginning in 2014, with smugglers promising parents that they and their children would be granted “permits” to remain in the United States.

It didn’t matter that DACA didn’t actually apply to these minors. Unscrupulous smugglers, known as “coyotes,” sold families on the line to pocket their passage fees, with cartels taking their cut at the Rio Grande.

The Trump administration announced it was ending DACA in 2017, but the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that the administration hadn’t followed the proper procedures for ending the program, leaving it for the time being in administrative limbo. Even so, as the case has been wending its way through the courts the past few years, the message has gotten back to sending communities in Mexico and Central America that unaccompanied minors don’t have a guaranteed way to stay in the United States through DACA. Once Biden restores it, they will.

Another Border Crisis Is Already Brewing

All of these changes promised by the Biden administration will not go unnoticed by would-be migrants seeking entrance to the United States, or by the smugglers and cartels who profit off getting them here. Messaging and sometimes even minor U.S. policy changes have a ripple effect on the migration pipeline that runs from South Texas all the way to Guatemala City and Tegucigalpa.

What’s more, Biden need not have the cooperation of Congress to do these things. Indeed, Trump didn’t have congressional support for most of his immigration and border policies, and neither did President Obama. Most Americans don’t realize it, but U.S. immigration law gives wide latitude to executive branch agencies like the Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to create and implement policies at the border, from the detention and processing of migrants caught crossing illegally to the procedures and requirements for asylum adjudication.

That’s partly by design: Congress has long abdicated its responsibility for immigration, instead delegating authority and policy-making to an ever-growing executive bureaucracy.

That means every time the White House changes hands, U.S. immigration and border policy goes through a massive upheaval. All along, Biden has been candid about his plans for the border, and if he follows through on them—like Trump, mostly via executive order—it will trigger a wave of migration from Central America and Mexico that U.S. border officials will be largely powerless to stop.

To suppose otherwise is not only to ignore recent history, but to assume that the people of Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador have no agency. Already in late September, at least one large caravan was reportedly forming in Honduras, headed for Mexico and the U.S. border.

Others will follow under a Biden administration, their ranks filled with people drawn by the resurrection of Obama-era policies that will grant them, by various mechanisms, entry to the United States. They will be making a rational and reasonably informed choice. And on understanding just how drastically U.S. immigration policy can shift with a presidential election, and how much easier it will be to get in under Biden, they won’t be wrong.

John is the Political Editor at The Federalist. Follow him on Twitter.
Photo John Davidson

Trump’s border wall moves forward with prototypes


The Department of Homeland Security announced Thursday the winners of a contest to build prototypes for sections of President Trump’s proposed border wall. U.S. Customs and Border Protection Acting Deputy Commissioner Ronald D. Vitiello said four companies were chosen to build the prototypes, which are planned to be built in the San Diego area.

Vitiello said the prototypes are a “significant milestone” in Trump’s plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico. The prototypes will be built out of concrete, 18 to 30 feet high and 30 feet long. Vitiello said they would each cost between “just under $400,000 and just under $500,000.” He added that four additional prototypes made of “alternative materials” will be announced next week.

The companies selected for prototype construction were Caddell Construction Co. of Montgomery, Ala., Fisher Sand & Gravel Co. of Tempe, Ariz., Texas Sterling Construction Co. of Houston, Texas, and W.G. Yates & Sons Construction Company of Philadelphia, Mo. An unnamed contractor filed a bid protest, which could detain construction of the prototypes.

According to Vitiello, the concrete portions of the wall will be built 150 feet away from the actual border. The space between an initial see-through barrier on the border and the concrete wall, the “enforcement zone,” will provide a “much safer environment than what we may have planned for before,” said Vitiello.

Trump had initially called for a concrete wall spanning the entire border, but later said he’d consider a see-through option after hearing from Border Patrol officials. Vitiello also said the wall would not span the entire border, but would be constructed “where it’s necessary, not along the whole border.”

In July, Trump told reporters aboard Air Force One that the finished wall could span just 700 to 900 miles.

“It’s a 2,000 mile border, but you don’t need 2,000 miles of wall because you have a lot of natural barriers. You have mountains. You have some rivers that are violent and vicious. You have some areas that are so far away that you don’t really have people crossing. So you don’t need that. But you’ll need anywhere from 700 to 900 miles,” he said.

Vitiello added that prototypes were chosen based on their aesthetics, impenetrability, resistance to tampering, scaling and anti-breach properties .

Depending on the results of prototype testing, the agency could end up using all four concrete and all four alternative materials prototypes in different sections of the wall, or decide to use none.

Trump made construction of a border wall a centerpiece of his campaign, and has threatened to shut down the government unless Congress funds initial construction of the wall in 2018. Democrats successfully blocked wall funding in May’s omnibus spending bill, but $1.6 billion in wall funding was added to homeland security in House appropriations bills that must still clear the Senate.

The prototypes are being built with existing fiscal year 2017 funds, according to Vitiello.

– This report was updated at 5:20 p.m.

Obama Admin Has Online Guide Telling Illegals Where They Can Avoid Deportation

waving flagAuthored by Photo of Christian Datoc Christian Datoc, Reporter, 08/02/2016

URL of the original posting site:

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency has a page on its official website titled, “Secure Locations FAQ” which is essentially a guide teaching illegal immigrants how to avoid deportation.

The page contains detailed answers about areas the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the CBP have deemed “sensitive,” which include:

  • Schools, such as known and licensed daycares, pre-schools and other early learning programs; primary schools; secondary schools; post-secondary schools up to and including colleges and universities; as well as scholastic or education-related activities or events, and school bus stops that are marked and/or known to the officer, during periods when school children are present at the stop
  • Medical treatment and health care facilities, such as hospitals, doctors’ offices, accredited health clinics, and emergent or urgent care facilities;
  • Places of worship, such as churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples;
  • Religious or civil ceremonies or observances, such as funerals and weddings; and
  • During public demonstration, such as a march, rally, or parade.
(US Customs and Border Protection)

(US Customs and Border Protection)

CBP explicitly states that these “sensitive locations” are still subject to “enforcement actions,” but notes that they are still highly unlikely to occur in these zones.

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden (Getty Images)

illegalalienvoters-300x300Enforcement actions include apprehensions, arrests, interviews, searches and surveillance, but they can only be carried out in sensitive locations if one of two conditions are met:

  • When prior approval is obtained from one of four government officials: the Assistant Director of Operations, Homeland Security Investigations; the Executive Associate Director, Homeland Security Investigations; the Assistant Director for Field Operations, Enforcement and Removal Operations; the Executive Associate Director, Enforcement and Removal Operations 
  • There are “exigent circumstances necessitating immediate action”

In other words, unless the government can directly prove an immigrant is “related to national security, terrorism, or public safety,” they cannot be deported from secure locations.

(US Customs and Border Protection)

(US Customs and Border Protection)

The guide also features “Español” buttons, which provide Spanish translations for each answer. There are translations into any other languages.

Finally, CBP offers contact information for anyone who believes that enforcement actions are unlawfully taking place on these designated secure locations.

(US Customs and Border Protection)

(US Customs and Border Protection)

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