Mexico names czar to handle issue of Central American migrants

July 15, 2014

07/15/14 LA Times

barbed wire fenceWith pressure mounting from the U.S. government, Mexico on Tuesday appointed a czar to take charge of largely unimpeded migration from Central America, which sees tens of thousands of people each year enter southern Mexico and cross the country en route to the United States.

Interior Minister Miguel Angel Osorio Chong, in an announcement before reporters in Mexico City, said the new system would guarantee the safety of migrants as well as their eventual repatriation.

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Court: U.S. agents can be sued for cross-border deaths

July 1, 2014

7/1/14 USA Today

barbed wire fenceThe family of a Mexican youth killed by a U.S. Border Patrol agent firing across the border has a constitutional right to sue the agent in the United States, a federal court of appeals in New Orleans ruled Monday.

The ruling is the first nationally to determine the family of someone killed in Mexico had a right to sue in the U.S. The ruling also could affect at least some of the other six cases in which agents killed Mexicans by firing across the border.

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Child migrants head for US to flee crime, drawn by belief they are allowed to stay

June 26, 2014

06/25/14 Associated Press

barbed wireOn the last day of school, Gladys Chinoy memorized her mother’s phone number in New York City and boarded a bus to Guatemala’s northern border.

With nothing but the clothes on her back, the 14-year-old took a truck-tire raft across the Naranjo River into Mexico and joined a group of five women and a dozen children waiting with one of the smugglers who are paid $6,000 to $7,000 for each migrant they take to the U.S.

The number of unaccompanied minors detained on the U.S. border has more than tripled since 2011… The crisis has sparked weeks of bitter political debate inside the U.S., with… congressional Republicans saying Obama’s policies are leading migrants to believe children and their mothers will be allowed to stay.

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The Rarely Told Stories Of Sexual Assault Against Female Migrants

March 25, 2014

folk art - communityKCBX Central Coast Public Radio, 3/24/14

Migration has been changing over time. It’s believed that more and more women and children are crossing the border than was true in past years, and they’re very vulnerable. They’re apparently being subjected in large numbers – nobody knows exactly how large – to sexual assault during their journeys. And this is a story that is rarely getting told.

There are fragments of the story, which we were able to gather as we traveled along the U.S.-Mexico border. We, for example, visited a shelter in northern Mexico – in Nogales, Sonora, the Mexican state of Sonora – where one woman said her entire trip north was effectively a sexual assault. She was brought across the border by a man under false pretenses, taken to the city of Atlanta, and she says used as a prostitute for years. Now, she’s back in northern Mexico. That’s where we found her.

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Keeping American Border Safe Means Thinking in 4-D

February 5, 2014

drawing bar chartBloomberg, 2/4/14

The Internet, modern transportation systems, supply chains, climate change, and transnational groups from criminal syndicates to nongovernmental organizations all confound boundaries set down on a map. As a result, managing our borders in a way that balances security with commerce, enforcement with freedom of movement, and now the physical with the virtual world has become even more difficult. Unfortunately, much of the U.S. debate about border management still dwells on the southern border and the interdiction of undocumented immigrants and contraband.

That’s important, but the larger and more demanding task the U.S. faces is to build a border management system suited to the complexities of the 21st century. Here are some of the challenges that must be overcome:

A foreign-flagged vessel carrying containers from China to Los Angeles, one of several hundred a day that form a critical link in global supply chains, notifies the U.S. Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection of its arrival 96 hours in advance. En route, a satellite-based system tracks the ship’s position, course and speed. The vessel’s history, its owner, cargo and other information are vetted against databases for anomalies. If necessary, the vessel is held offshore until it is boarded, or met by inspectors at the dock. Containers are subject to random inspections and detection technologies, but few are actually inspected. In most cases, the analysis of shipping information constitutes the virtual clearance of the cargo into the country — a balance of security and trade that informs a new vision of the border.

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House G.O.P.’s Immigration Plan Presents Tough Choices for Obama

February 3, 2014

IMG_4496NY Times, 1/31/14

President Obama and his allies may soon confront a difficult decision: whether to abandon the creation of a new path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants and accept tough border security and enforcement measures that they have long criticized.

Those are some of the concessions that Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio signaled  he would demand in exchange for a willingness to overhaul the immigration system. Mr. Boehner outlined those standards in a one-page document released on Thursday, and if they lead to legislation, Democrats and immigration advocates will be pressured to compromise. Mr. Obama hinted in an interview broadcast on Friday that he was open to a plan that would initially give many undocumented workers a legal status short of citizenship, as long as they were not permanently barred from becoming citizens.

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Arizona lawmaker seeks $30M ‘virtual fence’ near US-Mexico border

January 29, 2014

Border - MexicoFox News, 1/29/14

An Arizona legislator wants the state to spend $30 million for a high-tech surveillance network near the U.S. border with Mexico. Sen. Bob Worsley, R-Mesa, said the “virtual fence” consisting of 200 radar-camera units would monitor cross-border movement by people and vehicles to see if the federal government keeps its promises to secure the border.

Under Worsley’s bill, the new surveillance system would be erected within 20 miles of the border. Funding for the project also could include the approximately $260,000 in donations that the state has already collected under previously enacted legislation for an as-yet-unbuilt border fence, the Arizona Capitol Times reported.

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