The head of the U.S. Border Patrol announced new rules Friday to limit agents from shooting at moving vehicles or people throwing rocks or other objects at agents, reversing a controversial policy that has led to at least 19 deaths. Border Patrol Chief Michael J. Fisher ordered customs and border agents not to step directly in front of a moving vehicle, or use their body to block it, in order to open fire on the driver. He also barred shooting at vehicles whose occupants are fleeing from agents.
U.S. President Barack Obama should cut deportations of migrants and focus resources on the 2 million people in the U.S. who are eligible to become citizens, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Wednesday during a visit to Mexico’s capital. Garcetti, on his first foreign trip since taking office in July, said he supports Obama on immigration reform but said families and communities have been divided by the president’s policy of deportations, which have totaled nearly 2 million since Obama took office.
Immigration Reform: Obama Proposes Bed Mandate Reduction, Keeps Program That Deputizes Local And State Law EnforcementMarch 5, 2014
President Barack Obama ultimately wants comprehensive immigration reform, but until there’s congressional action, he will not stop detaining and deporting those who are illegally in the country. Focusing on the quality of enforcement actions, the administration proposes a$38.2 billion budget request for the Department of Homeland Security. Within that is a $2.6 billion allocation for the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to use to identify, detain and remove undocumented immigrants from the country.
Some $131.6 million is to go towards the apprehension of immigrant fugitives in the country who are considered public safety risks. Another $322.4 million will be used to remove those who are in federal, state and local prisons. But the policy proposal that continues to anger some advocacy groups is the $24 million funding to retain ICE’s 287(g) program, which deputizes local and state law enforcement officials to take part in the immigration process.
One of the two lead contractors for Israel’s apartheid wall in the occupied West Bank, Elbit Systems, has won a $145 million contract from the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to provide similar systems on the Mexico-US border. According to Electronic Intifada report, this is the second time Elbit, which tests its technology on Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation, has won a major US border surveillance contract.
The new DHS contract calls for “Integrated Fixed Tower systems” that will “assist [Border Patrol] agents in detecting, tracking, identifying and classifying items of interest” along the border. This contract largely reprises Elbit’s role in the Boeing contract. Initial installations will be in Arizona.
On a January night in the Arizona desert, a U.S. Border Patrol agent pursued and killed an illegal immigrant named Gabriel Sanchez. The border agency said Mr. Sanchez tried to grab the agent’s gun, prompting him to shoot. The lawyer representing the victim’s family said the circumstances of the shooting remain uncertain. “The only thing we have to speak for the deceased is physical evidence,” said Phoenix attorney Daniel Ortega.
Mr. Sanchez, who has two U.S.-born children, is among at least 22 civilians killed by agents in the field or while in custody since 2010 on the Southwest border, according to immigrant advocacy groups. The majority of those killed have been Latin American immigrants who were unarmed, and a few were U.S. citizens, the groups say. Some victims were throwing rocks at Border Patrol agents, which can prompt a lethal-force response under current policy.
As immigration reform bogs down once again in the nation’s capital, there is at least one area where both sides should be able to come together for some meaningful, near-term action. That is focusing on the untapped potential of the hundreds of thousands of skilled men and women who have already come to the United States — many of them from Asia, particularly China and India — through legal channels.
Unfortunately, this issue has generally been overlooked amid the focus on the flow of unauthorized, low-skilled immigrants into the United States, and the pleas of some high-tech companies for more visas that would allow them to hire additional employees from overseas with specialized skills. The language of immigration today also is increasingly politicized, adding little to a constructive discussion: Illegal vs. undocumented. Amnesty vs. a path to citizenship.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected attempts by towns in Texas and Pennsylvania to revive local laws that cracked down on illegal immigration. The court decided against hearing appeals filed by the towns of Farmers Branch, Texas, and Hazleton, Pennsylvania, which were seeking to overturn appeals court rulings that said the ordinances were trumped by federal immigration law. In doing so, the court left intact the appeals court rulings and avoided wading into the divisive issue of immigration at a time in which reform efforts have stalled in the U.S. Congress.
Prompted by concerns that the federal government was not adequately enforcing immigration laws, officials in both towns enacted ordinances that, among other things, required tenants to provide identification that could later be verified with immigration authorities and penalized landlords from renting to illegal immigrants. The Hazleton ordinance also penalized employers for knowingly employing unlawful immigrants. Groups of tenants, landlords, employers and workers challenged the laws in court. They won in both cases, prompting the towns to seek Supreme Court review.
Military personnel and National Migration Institute, or INM, agents detained 1,438 undocumented foreigners, the majority of them Guatemalans, during an operation in southern Mexico, officials said Sunday. ”Operation Soconusco II,” which took place from Jan. 17 to Feb. 14 in Chiapas state, also led to the arrests of 74 other people, of whom 70 are Mexicans, on drug, people trafficking and other charges, the Defense Secretariat, the Navy Secretariat and the INM said in a joint statement.
Authorities detained 955 Guatemalans, 241 Hondurans, 218 Salvadorans, 14 Cubans, six Nicaraguans, an American, a Panamanian, a Dominican and an Ecuadorian. Officials labeled the detentions of the immigrants a “rescue.”
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to stand trial in Mexico 1st, and any extradition to U.S. likely years awayFebruary 26, 2014
Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman appears set to remain in Mexico’s highest-security prison for the foreseeable future, as the government puts off U.S. extradition in a move that could bolster President Enrique Pena Nieto’s nationalist credentials but also shine a spotlight on the country’s woeful judicial system.
Experts say Pena Nieto’s administration and those of his predecessors have proven unable to match headline-grabbing arrests like Guzman’s with complex, long-term investigations and prosecutions of deep-rooted criminal networks. Cases have stalled and cartels have continued to operate. Last year, one of Guzman’s closest allies walked out of the prison where the U.S. said he was running drugs from behind bars.
Religious leaders who favor an overhaul of immigration laws are stepping up their pressure on House Republicans, aiming to move the stalled legislation and show that the GOP could pay a political penalty for inaction. This weekend, Hispanic evangelical pastors will preach a “call to action,” asking churchgoers to call members of Congress to demand passage of a broad immigration bill.
The program is being organized by the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, which encouraged its 34,200 member churches, representing 16 million members, to participate. It is unclear how many will do so. On Wednesday, nearly a dozen Catholic bishops and archbishops representing the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops are sending a letter to House members, urging them to move immigration legislation. The letter is also signed by evangelical leaders.