New Rules Go Into Effect At Busy U.S.-Mexico Border Crossing

8/21/15 NPR

Via Flickr User Dhinal Chheda
Via Flickr User Dhinal Chheda

Fleeing to Tijuana? Not from the San Ysidro crossing, you aren’t.

As of Wednesday, foreign pedestrians crossing into Mexico between San Diego and Tijuana are required to present a passport, fill out paperwork and, if they are staying for longer than one week, pay a 330-peso fee (about $20).

While Mexican airports already follow similar regulations, the new process marks a shift toward a more structured approach for registering foreigners entering Mexico on the ground. Previously, foreigners were allowed to cross the 1,954-mile Mexico-U.S. border essentially without restriction.

Mexican officials say the new measures — and a new, three-story facility for pedestrian traffic at the San Ysidro border crossing — were put in place to bring border crossings into compliance with Mexican law.

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Arrest leads to underwater tunnel across US-Mexico border

8/20/15 KLKN – ABC 8

Photo via Flickr user Walter
Photo via Flickr user Walter

The arrest of a drug smuggler in scuba gear led to the discovery of a tunnel from Mexico that’s partially underwater and ends in a canal.

Evelio Padilla pleaded guilty Wednesday in federal court in San Diego to one count of possession of drugs with intent to distribute.

Border Patrol agents said in court documents that they discovered a soaked Padilla in a wetsuit next to the All-American Canal, about 7 miles east of Calexico, California, on April 25. Near him, they found a breathing tank with a “rebreather” to prevent surface bubbles, and several vacuum-sealed and giftwrapped packages that held a total of 55 pounds of cocaine.

That led to the discovery of the 150-foot-long tunnel, which began at a house in Mexicali, Mexico, and ended under the water of the canal. The drugs were put on a trolley system on the dry Mexico side of the tunnel, and smugglers would use scuba gear to retrieve it from under the canal’s water from an opening that is normally obscured by rocks.

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How The Cocaine Trade Affects Everyone’s Lives

8/13/15 National Geographic

cocaineThe annual trade in illegal drugs is worth $352 billion. At the heart of it is cocaine. In ZeroZeroZero (the title alludes to the finest grade of the drug) best-selling author Roberto Saviano, who lives under police protection, uncovers the global tentacles of the trade, from the jungles of South America to Mexico, New York, and Italy; lays bare the appalling violence that accompanies it; and describes the complex mechanisms by which drug cartels launder their profits.

Speaking via email, from a safe house in Italy, he explains why, even if you are not a user, cocaine is part of all our lives; why he believes legalization is the only way to solve the problem; and how writing this book was like entering an abyss that undermined his faith in humanity.

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What crisis? Urgency on border gone, says analyst

8/5/15 El Daily Post

Border - MexicoIn the weeks leading up to Thursday’s first debate of the 2016 presidential race, Republican candidates have sought to distinguish themselves from each other – and President Barack Obama – with ever-tougher positions on border security and illegal immigration, claiming current measures are failing.

And yet by many standards, the situation is not nearly as urgent as it was during last summer’s crisis and has improved steadily and markedly in some respects over the past decade or so – partly because of actions taken by the U.S. government, but also because of factors beyond Washington’s control.

Last year’s alarming surge of unaccompanied children and families arriving from Central America via Mexico has been cut by about half,according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a drop-off attributed in part to a crackdown by Mexico and better enforcement along the U.S. border.

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Immigration Reform 2015: Illegal Mexican Border Crossings Down Nationwide, Study Finds

7/22/15 International Business Times

Migrant farmworkersAs election season ramps up with immigration reform a hot topic, recent data from the Pew Research Center showed that the number of people from Mexico caught attempting to cross the border illegally to the United States was dropping nationwide. The number of apprehensions was typically a good barometer of the total number of people coming to the U.S.

Last year was the first on record in which there were more non-Mexicans apprehended at the border than Mexicans. In the fiscal year 2014, Pew reported that 229,178 Mexicans were arrested at the border, down from a peak of about 1.6 million in 2000. “The decline in apprehensions reflects the decrease in number of unauthorized Mexican immigrants coming to the U.S.,” the report stated.

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Facing the Facts on Illegal Immigration

7/19/15 New York Times

Hundreds of thousands of immigrants 2 participate in march for Immigrants and Mexicans protesting against Illegal Immigration reform by U.S. Congress, Los Angeles, CA, May 1, 2006Donald Trump is entitled to his own opinions, not his own facts, to paraphrase Daniel Patrick Moynihan.

Mr. Trump, a Republican presidential candidate, gets a lot wrong in his comments about immigration and Mexico. There is no evidence that Mexican officials are dispatching criminals across a porous border, and immigrants don’t commit more crimes, studies show.

Yet even some of his critics give him credit for tapping into something real: what they see as the perils of President Obama’s lax approach to immigration, generally, and enforcement along the Mexican border in particular.

“We need to secure the border,” says Carly Fiorina, another presidential contender. This, too, is misleading.

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Immigration Reform 2015: Tijuana, Mexico Border Security To Be Tightened Over Pedestrian Foot Traffic

7/20/15 International Business Times

border_at_tijuana-tomas-castelazo2Mexican immigration officials will be stepping up their inspections of foreigners entering the country on foot, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. A new building for Mexican immigration and customs inspection stations is scheduled to open at the Tijuana pedestrian entry in September.

Officials are expected to require foreigners entering Tijuana from San Ysidro, California, to show travel documentation if entering Mexico by foot. Authorities plan to create two pedestrian lanes for those entering Mexico: one for foreigners and one for Mexican citizens.

“Our intention is not to create congestion at the border,” said Rodulfo Figueroa, head of Mexico’s National Migrant Institute in the Mexican state of Baja California, the Union-Tribune reported. “Our intention is to try different strategies to process as many people as we can within a reasonable time frame.”

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