And So Goes the Crisis on the Southern Border****UPDATED 14 JUNE 2024

Southwest Land Border Encounters FY22
Illegal border encounters for past four years, from CBP’s official statistics:
FY 2019…….977,509
FY 2020…….458,038
FY 2021…..1,734,686
FY 2021…..2,378,944

Above numbers do not include the 599,000 known “gotaways” in FY 2021-22 , up from 60,000 in 2020-21

Border officials count 599,000 'gotaway' migrants in Fiscal Year 2021-2022

And, Title 42 is set to expire at end of December blocking ability to deport many of those caught entering illegally!

Bipartisan group pushes for resources to address border agent suicides

"The fact that we have 14 agents who have committed suicide [this year] is a problem ... and it's a problem for this body to solve."


Smoke rises from small fires as people wait to cross the Mexico-U.S. border from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

Biden Administration Plans for More Illegal Aliens to Be Released Into Communities When Title 42 Ends
By Tom Ozimek
December 15, 2022 Updated: December 15, 2022
biggersmaller Print

The Biden administration is planning for more illegal aliens to be released into U.S. communities to pursue asylum cases as the Trump-era Title 42 program that helped stem the tide of illegal immigration ends on Dec. 21.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released a six-pillar plan (pdf) on how it plans to cope with the challenges posed by the scheduled termination of Title 42 and the major policy shift that this represents.

The department’s plan includes accelerated processing for illegal aliens in custody on the border, more temporary detention tents, staffing surges, bolstering NGO capacity to receive people after they’ve been processed, and increased criminal prosecutions of smugglers.

The agency estimates that 9,000 to 14,000 migrants could try to enter the country illegally each day when the Title 42 policy ends.
Epoch Times Photo

Illegal immigrants walk towards the U.S.-Mexico border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, on Dec. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

Title 42, designed to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases in the United States, was issued by the Trump administration in 2020 at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and was used over 2.5 million times to block asylum claims.

A federal judge in Washington ordered Title 42 to end on Dec. 21 but Republican-led states asked an appeals court to keep it in place.

The Biden administration has also challenged some aspects of the ruling, though it doesn’t oppose letting the rule lapse next week.

With the potential for the legal back-and-forth to go down to the wire, Republicans have warned of the consequences of letting Title 42 end.

“When Title 42 ends, weekly illegal border crossings are projected to be 98,000. That’s 14,000 crossings every day. 583 crossings every hour. America is being invaded!” Rep. Lance Gooden (R-Tx.) said in a post on Twitter.
98,000 per day = 5,096,000 PER YEAR!
Epoch Times Photo

Illegal immigrants wait to cross the U.S.-Mexico border from Ciudad Juárez, next to U.S. Border Patrol vehicles in El Paso, Texas, Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2022. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

A number of GOP lawmakers have urged President Joe Biden to extend the emergency order, arguing that terminating Title 42 will “result in a complete loss of operational control over the southern border, a profoundly negative impact on border communities, and significant suffering and fatalities among the migrants unlawfully entering the United States.”

The group of lawmakers said in their letter to Biden that legislative action is probably the only solution, but that could take time.

The DHS, too, called for Congressional action to fix what it described as an outdated and dysfunctional immigration system, in which “incentives are misaligned, asylum court backlogs stretch for years, and the border security challenge is exacerbated.”

Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas) said Customs and Border Protection officials told him Wednesday that about 50,000 people are believed to be waiting to flood across the border once Title 42 is lifted.
10,000 are encamped in Matamors, Tamps. Mexico alone awaiting end to Title 42.
Epoch Times Photo

Illegal immigrants cross the Mexico-U.S. border to surrender to U.S. Border Patrol agents, in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, on Dec. 12, 2022. (AP Photo/Christian Chavez)

‘Significant Increase’

Citing the constraints of a “decades-old immigration system that everyone agrees is broken,” DHS warned in the document that, with the end of Title 42, it expects a “significant increase” in the number of people seeking to cross the border without authorization, which would “substantially strain our system even further.”

With a system already strained beyond capacity amid a record surge in illegal immigration, DHS said it’s bracing for even more increases in human flows, which would “create further pressure and potential overcrowding” in various locations along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Besides expecting processing delays and disruptions at some points of entry into the United States, the DHS said it’s bracing for the release of illegal aliens into U.S. communities.

“With NGOs strained, there is a potential for a higher number of single adults and families to be provisionally released from DHS custody into communities without NGO or other sponsor support, pending the outcome of their immigration court proceedings,” the agency said.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas traveled this week to El Paso, Texas, which witnessed a large influx on Sunday after becoming the busiest corridor for illegal crossings in October.

Over 1,500 people crossed the U.S.-Mexico border illegally into El Paso in the early hours of Dec. 12, according to video from the scene and local media, in what reports say could be one of the biggest single crossings ever in the region.

Footage from the border shared on social media by news outlet El Paso Matters showed a massive group of migrants trekking through the water toward the other riverbank overnight and people huddling by fires to keep warm as they awaited processing.
Sleeping on the Streets

The individuals who crossed Sunday night were part of a group of migrants who were escorted by Mexican state police from the city of Jiménez to Juárez in a caravan of 20 buses, according to El Paso Matters, which estimated the total size of the group that crossed overnight at over 1,500 people.

The aliens said they were from Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Peru, according to the outlet, which estimated that this may have been the largest single border crossing in the region in history.

More than 5,600 illegal aliens were held as of Dec. 13 in the Border Patrol Central Processing Center, according to a city of El Paso dashboard. The center has a capacity of around 3,500.

Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) said in a Twitter post that the processing center was filled beyond capacity and that some people were sleeping on city streets.

“Migrants sleeping on the streets of El Paso! This is what the New Ellis Island looks like: 611 migrants out on the streets because the NGOs are out of capacity; every Border Patrol agent in processing centers overcapacity with 5,000 folks. This is exactly what Democrats wanted.”

Republicans have long accused the Democrats of advocating for an open-borders policy, though the Biden administration has repeatedly denied this claim.

Mayorkas has acknowledged that the situation along the southern border is “difficult,” while insisting that the Biden administration wants a “safe, legal, and orderly immigration system that is based on our bedrock priorities: to keep our borders secure, address the plight of children as the law requires, and enable families to be together.”

Mayorkas said recently that Republican rhetoric claiming that the “border is open” was helping fuel the influx.

“The political cry that the border is open is music to the smugglers’ ears, because they take that political rhetoric and they market it” to desperate migrants, Mayorkas told The Dallas Morning News.

Still, when Biden took office, one of his first actions was to cancel the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” policy.

That rule meant that asylum-seekers were required to remain in Mexico while their claims for asylum were processed, with figures showing that the policy discouraged false asylum claims and decreased the flow of illegal immigration.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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The Roosevelt Easement is a 60-foot-wide stretch of federal land spanning three U.S. border states, including Arizona. Here, the easement runs parallel to the border wall in Douglas, Ariz., on Aug. 24, 2022. (Allan Stein/The Epoch Times)

Border Patrol Seeking Contractors for Construction of Border Barriers, Infrastructure
By Samantha Flom
December 22, 2022 Updated: December 23, 2022

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is accepting bids of up to $400 million per task for the construction of barriers and other infrastructure along the U.S.–Mexico border.

According to the solicitation notice posted on Dec. 20, the five-year Indefinite Delivery, Indefinite Quantity contracts involve the design and construction of “border barriers, anti-climb features, enforcement zones, roads, gates, bridges, drainage control, cattle guards, lighting, detection systems, cameras, towers, and communication fiber.”

Construction costs for each contract range from $50 million to $400 million.

Offers on the contracts are due by Jan. 10.
Minding the Gaps

The solicitation’s posting comes on the heels of the Biden administration’s Dec. 13 announcement that it will commence work to close gaps along the border wall.

According to the Department of Homeland Security, those gaps include seven in the Border Patrol’s Yuma, Arizona, sector and one in the El Paso, Texas, sector—an area that includes western Texas and New Mexico.

New work will also be performed in the San Diego sector, which covers western Arizona and part of eastern California, and the El Paso sector.

In 2020, then-presidential candidate Joe Biden promised that, under his administration, there would “not be another foot” of border wall constructed.

That policy appears to have shifted, however, as the number of illegal border crossings continues to reach record highs.

According to CBP data published in October, U.S. Border Patrol encountered 2,378,944 illegal immigrants at the border during the 2022 fiscal year—the highest amount ever recorded for a single year.

Interestingly, the total number of fiscal year 2022 encounters that’s displayed on the CBP website—last updated on Nov. 14—reflects a lower count of 2,214,652.

CBP officials didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for clarification about the discrepancy.

The year also reportedly saw a record number of border crossing deaths, although the administration hasn’t officially published the data for either of Biden’s first two years in office.
Title 42 in Limbo

Worries over illegal immigration have increased in recent months with the fate of Title 42—a policy that has allowed the quick expulsion of certain asylum seekers at the border—hanging in the balance.

Invoked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March 2020, Title 42 is a public health emergency order that was designed to prevent the introduction of contagious diseases into the United States.

While the policy has been employed at the border under both the Trump and Biden administrations, the latter announced its intention to terminate the policy in April, sparking multiple legal challenges from those who wish to keep the policy in effect.

In November, U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled that the policy was “arbitrary and capricious” and gave the government until Dec. 21 to terminate its use. Earlier this week, however, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts granted a stay on that order while the high court considers a request from 19 Republican-led states to reverse it.

The Biden administration, responding to those states’ request on Dec. 20, reiterated its desire to end Title 42, holding that it was no longer necessary as a public health measure, but requested that the policy’s expiration be delayed until after Christmas for operational purposes.

Among those who would like Title 42 to remain in effect is El Paso’s Democratic Mayor Oscar Leeser, who said on Dec. 19 that approximately 20,000 illegal immigrants were just waiting for the policy to end so they could cross the border and enter the city.

“We’ve been talking to some of the partners in Mexico, and we’re talking also to the Border Patrol and those are the numbers that have been fed back to us,” Leeser said. “The shelters in [Ciudad] Juarez are completely full today, and they believe there are about 20,000 people ready to come into El Paso.”

The Biden administration, while maintaining that the border is “under control,” has also acknowledged that a post-Title 42 surge of illegal immigrants is likely should the policy be terminated.

However, on Dec. 13, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the administration is preparing to handle that influx but noted that action from Congress would be necessary to create a long-term solution.

“The Biden–Harris Administration is committed to pursuing every avenue within our authority to secure our borders, enforce our laws, and stay true to our values as we build safe, orderly, and humane processes,” Mayorkas said in a statement. “We will provide additional updates as work continues. A real solution can only come from legislation that brings long-overdue and much-needed reform to a fundamentally broken system.”
are they people or pigs? from the looks of all that garbage they are pigs. you see more and more garbage thrown around town and in the prairies around here now days. old habits are hard to break.
17,250 encounters since October....with Title 42 in place. This does not count the "gotaways"! Remember, the gotaways most assuredly are the dangerous ones who don't want to be caught for whatever reasons.

Originally Posted By: Rodney Scott,former USBP ChiefThis massive immigration is just cover for the cartels. Why would asylum seekers who are just wanting to surrender to the BP wait until 2 o'clock in the morning to cross the freezing river in south Texas or the desert. It's because cartels script the crossings to create gaps in security so they can bring in other threats, criminals, fentanyl, cocain, heroin, and that's what the administration will not talk about.........................

from Fox news interview.

Originally Posted By: hm199617,250 encounters since October....with Title 42 in place. This does not count the "gotaways"! Remember, the gotaways most assuredly are the dangerous ones who don't want to be caught for whatever reasons.

Rodney Scott said:
This massive immigration is just cover for the cartels. Why would asylum seekers who are just wanting to surrender to the BP wait until 2 o'clock in the morning to cross the freezing river in south Texas or the desert. It's because cartels script the crossings to create gaps in security so they can bring in other threats, criminals, fentanyl, cocain, heroin, and that's what the administration will not talk about.........................

from Fox news interview.

Of course that's what is going on. Biden and company knows this. I wonder how deep into our government the cartel really is. The cartel partnership with China is working out well it would seem.
This is what war looks like in 2023.

Quote:Senator John Cornyn (R TX) invited a bipartisan group of Senators – four Republicans and four Democrats – to join me at the southern border to learn more about how the situation is impacting communities not just in Texas........

Illegal alien encounters on the southern border were reported to have been 250,000 in the month of December and this does not include "gotaways"!
C'mon man, if you can ignore 250,000 illegals crossing our border in December alone, surely you can take care of just one of the heroes who risked their lives to assist our troops in Afghanistan. Release this man from prison and allow him to apply for amnesty.

Abandoned when the US pulled out of Afghanistan, this vetted Afghan intelligent officer who worked closely with our troops, managed to avoid capture and sure death at the hands of the Taliban, made his way to the US southern border attempting to reunite with his brother (who HAS BECOME A US CITIZEN), only to be arrested, encarcerated and charged with a crime by US immigration.

An Afghan soldier fleeing the Taliban spent months reaching the U.S. to request asylum. He was arrested at the Texas border.
Abdul Wasi Safi was trying to reach his brother, who immigrated legally to Houston after helping the U.S. military. Legal experts say Wasi may have to serve a criminal sentence before he can pursue asylum. by Allison P. Erickson Nov. 30, 2022 Updated: Dec. 1, 2022


Abdul Wasi Safi was trying to reach his brother, who immigrated legally to Houston after helping the U.S. military. Legal experts say Wasi may have to serve a criminal sentence before he can pursue asylum.

by Allison P. Erickson Nov. 30, 2022 Updated: Dec. 1, 2022

[http://READ LATEST UPDATE HERE:Abdul Wasi Safi, who worked as an intelligence officer in the Afghan National Security Forces alongside U.S. troops, hopes to apply for asylum in the U.S. but is awaiting a criminal trial in a Texas detention center.

Record Number of Border Deaths During Biden’s 1st 2 Years


A group of Hondurans cross the Rio Grande toward Eagle Pass, Texas, from Piedras Negras, Mexico, on April 21, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

By Charlotte Cuthbertson
January 20, 2023Updated: January 26, 2023

DEL RIO, Texas—As the number of illegal immigrants flooding across the southern border continues to increase, so does the number of illegal immigrants who die while crossing into the United States, or soon after.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) recorded a total of 880 illegal immigrant deaths in fiscal year 2022, which ended on Sept. 30, 2022. It’s the highest number of deaths since data became available in 1998. The second-highest number on record was fiscal year 2021, with 566 deaths.

The Epoch Times submitted a Freedom of Information request in October 2022 to obtain the data for the past two fiscal years after the Biden administration broke a long-standing policy and stopped publicly releasing the numbers. CBP responded to the Freedom of Information request on Jan. 18.

Previous, publicly available CBP data show 247 illegal immigrants died near the southern border during fiscal year 2020, the lowest on record, while 300 died in fiscal year 2019.


Epoch Times Photo
Graph depicts the number of illegal immigrant deaths along the U.S.–Mexico border as reported by Customs and Border Protection. (The Epoch Times)

The Rio Grande Valley in Texas and the Tucson Sector in Arizona have traditionally been the most deadly border sectors, as the river and the summer heat claim the most lives. Smugglers leave injured and sick immigrants to die.

But Texas’s Del Rio sector, which includes Eagle Pass, bore the brunt of the deaths last year with 255 recorded. Most of the deaths in this area were due to drowning in the deceptively swift Rio Grande. But the total also includes 53 deaths of illegal aliens being smuggled in a locked tractor-trailer unit near San Antonio in June 2022.

Deaths in the Del Rio sector over the past two fiscal years were higher than the previous 15 years combined. The sector also became the epicenter of mass illegal crossings.


Epoch Times Photo
The graph depicts the number of illegal immigrant deaths in the Del Rio, Texas, border region as reported by Customs and Border Protection. (The Epoch Times)

The CBP data include a footnote indicating that the “data may be subject to change based on new discoveries of remains and possible dates of death as determined by a medical examiner.”

Not all illegal immigrant deaths are counted in the CBP data, as Border Patrol agents aren’t always involved in the discovery. Sheriff’s offices have their own tally of bodies discovered by ranchers, hunters, or others.

The bodies are often from those walking in remote ranchland to circumvent Border Patrol highway checkpoints, sometimes 60 to 100 miles from the border.

Former CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan said the CBP numbers are the “tip of the iceberg” for illegal immigrant deaths.

“When you increase the number of illegal aliens coming by 500 percent, you’re going to increase all the suffering, tragedies, and inhumane actions associated with that,” Morgan told The Epoch Times on Jan. 19.

“Everything expands—the numbers of those that are thrown into trafficking expand, the number of those that are sexually assaulted expand, the numbers of those that die expand. It’s a game of numbers.”

Border Patrol apprehensions of illegal aliens along the southern border increased exponentially after President Joe Biden took office.

More than 1.6 million illegal aliens were apprehended in fiscal year 2021 and 2.2 million in fiscal year 2022, according to CBP data. In comparison, fiscal year 2020 saw a little more than 400,000 apprehensions along the southern border.

The number of illegal crossings has more than tripled since 2020, as has the number of deaths.

“Biden’s got blood on his hands. He knows this is happening. And he knows migrants are dying. He knows migrants are being assaulted. He knows migrants are being raped. He knows migrants are being thrown into the life of trafficking,” Morgan said.


Epoch Times Photo
Benny Martinez, then-chief deputy of the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, carries the human remains of a suspected illegal immigrant on a ranch in Falfurrias, Texas, on May 22, 2013. (John Moore/Getty Images)

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas has maintained that the border is secure.

“I have been to the border nearly 20 times, and I can attest to the steadfast commitment of the DHS workforce to secure our border, enforce our laws, and build safe, orderly, and humane immigration processes under extremely difficult conditions,” Mayorkas said in a Jan. 5 press conference.

“Let me be clear: Title 42 or not, the border is not open,” Mayorkas said, referring to the public health order that allows Border Patrol agents to quickly expel some illegal aliens back to Mexico.

CBP declined to provide a comment to The Epoch Times on the increase in deaths.
Deadly Brooks County

In south Texas, Brooks County Sheriff’s Deputy Don White of Remote Wildlands Search and Recovery volunteers his time to search for the injured and dead. Most often, he says, he finds males, aged 19 to 40, from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador.

During 2022, he found 91 bodies—a decrease over the record-breaking previous year’s total of 119. In comparison, 34 bodies were found in 2020.


Epoch Times Photo
Sheriff’s Deputy Don White explains how he searches for the dead bodies of illegal immigrants in Brooks County, Texas, on May 13, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez estimates that for every body they find, another five to 10 are never recovered.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of mothers over the telephone, or they’ve been here in my office, crying for their loved ones that have been lost for 10, 15 years,” Martinez, a Democrat, said in an earlier interview.

“Our terrain is real sandy. We’re about 100 foot above sea level. So once that sand starts going over that body, and that body starts getting torn apart by the feral hog, by the coyote … the only time it’s recovered is when they’re moving cattle and they turn the soil over … [and] a skull would pop up, or something. Body parts would pop up. That’s how we’re going to find out that something laid there for a while. I mean, what is compassionate about that?”

In Kinney County, southwest Texas, the sheriff used to handle one or two deceased illegal immigrants per year.

In 2021, the county dealt with 17 bodies; in 2022, the county dealt with 10. In one case, the county judge had to leave a county meeting to officially pronounce dead the body of an illegal alien found on his own ranch.

“The thing is, it’s 17 bodies in a small county,” Sheriff Brad Coe told The Epoch Times in December 2022. Kinney County sits on the border with Mexico and has a population of about 3,600 people.

“Brooks County will always lead the state in the number of dead, but for us here, 17 was an astronomical number when we’re used to one or two.”
I can't understand why the bleeding heart liberals don't care about this.
I reckon they see what they want to see and hear what they want to hear.
Arrests of Illegal Immigrants at US–Mexico Border Drop From Late 2022 but Break Another Record


Border Patrol agents apprehend a large group of illegal immigrants near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 20, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)
By Zachary Stieber
February 11, 2023Updated: February 12, 2023

The number of illegal immigrant arrests at the U.S. southern border dropped sharply in the first month of 2023 but still broke the record for January.

Apprehensions of immigrants who illegally crossed into the country from Mexico totaled 156,274 in January, according to Customs and Border Protection (CBP). That was a 40 percent drop from December 2022 but the highest ever for the month of January.

Administration officials attributed the decrease to new policies that have been implemented at President Joe Biden’s direction, such as a program that enables nationals from four countries, including Cuba, to gain work authorization if they meet certain criteria.

“The significant decrease in Border Patrol encounters, well beyond that which is expected based on seasonal trends, is indicative of the success of the measures announced by the Administration,” CBP said in a statement. Border Patrol is part of CBP.

As proof, the agency pointed to how arrests of nationals from the four countries in question continued to plummet.

Part of the reason for the drop was that the administration paroled 11,637 people from across Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.

The new program leverages the parole power that Congress granted to immigration officials to grant parole, or temporary authorization, to thousands of people who would otherwise be in the country illegally.

Twenty states filed a lawsuit over the effort, alleging that it violates federal law. Congress stated in the law that the parole power can only be used on a “case-by-case basis.”

Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform, said the January numbers “do not represent a sharp decline in illegal immigration” but instead show “a transparent effort to mask the border crisis through illegal programs that allow inadmissible aliens to enter the United States by other means.”

In addition to the parole program, Stein noted that the administration developed an application that lets migrants notify CBP of an intent to claim asylum before even reaching the United States. Those migrants are then let into the United States if they pass a background check.

Any illegal immigrant is allowed to apply for asylum, but the conditions for granting asylum are narrow, and most asylum applications fail. The courts that hear the claims are so backlogged that most people who apply for asylum can spend years in the country without having their cases resolved.

“Even with these newly devised schemes, the number of migrants encountered at the southern border illegally remained at historically high levels, with 156,274 still being the highest January ever recorded,” Stein said.

The new figures mean that the administration is set to shatter the previous records for the highest number of arrests in a fiscal year and calendar year.

Those records were set in fiscal year 2022, which ended on Oct. 1, 2022, and calendar year 2022 by the Biden administration.
Enforcement Details

Many of the illegal immigrants, approximately 69 percent, arrested in January were single adults.

Of the encounters, 108,573 were with single adults and 38,087 were with family units or a group of family members traveling together.

Just 9,393 were unaccompanied minors or children who arrived without a responsible adult. Historically high numbers of unaccompanied minors have arrived at the border during the Biden administration.

About 66,000 of these illegal immigrants were expelled under Title 42—the public health order that the Supreme Court has ordered the Biden administration to keep in place.

The rest were processed under Title 8, the federal immigration law that enables asylum applications.

Under the law, officials are supposed to keep asylum seekers in custody until their cases are heard, but that hasn’t been happening for years.

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news.
State Department Warns Americans About Traveling After Kidnapping of 4 US Citizens

Members of the Mexican Army are seen in a file photo. (Nicolas Asfouri/AFP via Getty Images)

By Jack Phillips
March 7, 2023Updated: March 8, 2023

The U.S. Consulate in a Mexican border city issued an alert about violence and warned American citizens not to travel there after two Americans were killed by criminals and two more were abducted.

After the reported kidnapping, the U.S. State Department issued an alert about violence in Matamoros and reminded U.S. citizens that this part of Mexico—and other parts—are under a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning. That’s the highest warning in the State Department’s travel advisory system.

“The U.S. Consulate General reminds U.S. citizens that Tamaulipas is classified as Level 4: Do Not Travel in the State Department’s travel advisory for Mexico,” it said.

An advisory that was issued in October said that in Tamaulipas, where Matamoros is located, there are reports of rampant kidnappings and crime. Several other Mexican states are under similar a Level 4 alert, including Guerrero, Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, and Zacatecas. Most other Mexican states are under some type of travel advisory.

“Violent crime—such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery—is widespread and common in Mexico,” said the advisory. “The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities.”

The U.S. Consulate in Matamoros has issued at least four security alerts since early 2020, issuing warnings about kidnappings, cartel violence, crime, and other incidents. A report from CBS News noted that four American siblings went missing in Matamoros in 2014 before they were later found murdered and buried as their parents said they were allegedly abducted by men dressed in police uniforms.
Other Details

Tamaulipas Gov. Americo Villarreal told reporters that two were found dead and two others were found alive in a wooden shack, where they were being guarded by a man who was arrested. Villarreal said the captive Americans had been moved around by their captors, and at one point were taken to a medical clinic “to create confusion and avoid efforts to rescue them.”

The two dead will be turned over to U.S. authorities following forensic work at the Matamoros morgue in the coming hours, the governor said.
Epoch Times Photo

A woman is carried to the back of a white pickup truck in this still image obtained from social media video that allegedly shows the kidnapping of Americans in Matamoros, Mexico, on March 3, 2023. (Video obtained by Reuters)

A relative of one of the victims said Monday that the four had traveled together from the Carolinas so one of them could get a tummy tuck surgery from a doctor in the Mexican border city of Matamoros, where Friday’s abduction took place.

Villareal said the wounded American, Eric Williams, had been shot in the left leg and the wound was not life-threatening. The survivors were taken to Valley Regional Medical Center with an FBI escort, the Brownsville Herald reported. A spokesperson for the hospital referred all inquiries to the FBI.

Villarreal also told reporters that one person, a 24-year-old male, was arrested in connection to the incident. The suspect, he added, was undertaking “surveillance functions of the victims.”

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the people responsible would be punished. He referenced arrests made in the 2019 killings of nine U.S.-Mexican dual citizens in Sonora near the U.S. border.

On Tuesday, the State Department called for accountability after the kidnapping but did not say what it should look like. In a news conference, spokesman Ned Price did not rule out whether the United States may designate cartels as terrorist organizations, which is something that GOP lawmakers have promoted.

“We want to see accountability for the violence that has been inflicted on these Americans that tragically led to the death of two of them,” Price said.

“When it comes to the drug cartels, we’re going to do what is most effective to limit their ability to traffic in their wares,” he added. “This is something that our colleagues at the DEA are extremely focused on. We have laws on the books, we have designated these criminal organizations, these drug trafficking organizations, consistent with the authorities that we as a government have.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Biden Administration’s ‘Catch and Release’ Border Policy Struck Down by US Judge

By Zachary Stieber
March 8, 2023Updated: March 8, 2023

The federal government’s program of releasing many illegal immigrants rather than holding them until their cases are resolved violates federal law, a U.S. judge ruled on March 8.

“The evidence establishes that Defendants have effectively turned the Southwest Border into a meaningless line in the sand and little more than a speedbump for aliens flooding into the country,” U.S. District Judge Judge T. Kent Wetherell, a Trump appointee, said in the ruling.

Wetherell struck down Alternatives to Detention, a program through which President Joe Biden’s administration has released more than one million aliens into the U.S. interior.

Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody, a Republican, sued the government in 2021 over the policy, arguing the catch-and-release policy violated federal law.

Biden administration officials have claimed they had the discretion not to hold immigrants and that Florida lacked standing.

Under Supreme Court precedent, immigration officials have “broad discretion” in carrying out immigration laws, but must adhere to laws established by Congress. The Immigration and Nationality Act, one such law, states that immigrants who arrive at the border without proper documents are subject to quick removal without a hearing or review. Immigrants who claim asylum can have their claims heard but “shall be detained” until the claims are resolved.

The “shall be detained” wording “means what it says and that is a mandatory requirement,” Wetherell said in the new ruling.

The government’s position “would render mandatory detention under” the law “meaningless,” he added later.

The judge also said Florida has standing because it has a procedural right under Administrative Procedure Act and a quasi-sovereign interest in its territory and on illegal aliens being within that territory. The government’s failure to hold immigrants as required by the Immigration and Nationality Act, according to the judge, harms states because “they cannot do anything to keep those aliens out of the state.” States are also harmed because they have to spend money to deal with the aliens, the ruling said.

Wetherell vacated the policy under the procedure act, remanding it back to the government for further work consistent with his order.

Moody said in a statement: “Today’s ruling affirms what we have known all along, President Biden is responsible for the border crisis and his unlawful immigration policies make this country less safe. A federal judge is now ordering Biden to follow the law, and his administration should immediately begin securing the border to protect the American people.”

Federal officials did not respond to requests for comment.

The ruling was stayed for seven days to allow the government time to appeal.
Epoch Times Photo

Minors lie inside a pod at the Donna Department of Homeland Security holding facility, the main detention center for unaccompanied children in the Rio Grande Valley run by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection in Donna, Texas, on March 30, 2021. (Dario Lopez-Mills/Pool/AP Photo)

‘Urgent Humanitarian Need’

Alternatives to Detention started in the early 2000s, but has been used more frequently under the Biden administration.

A summer 2021 email on expanding the program said Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents would have the ability to parole immigrants after considering whether there was room in detention for them and what risk they posed, among other factors. Under federal law, immigration authorities can grant parole on a case-by-case basis for “urgent humanitarian reasons or significant public benefit.”

An immigrant released on parole would not receive a notice to appear in court. They would be told to report to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office nearest their “final destination” within 60 days or “face removal from the United States.” Deportations still happen under the Biden administration, but have plunged from Trump era levels.

The email setting out the expanded program did not mention COVID-19 or other health issues.

In a Nov. 2, 2021, memorandum, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz formally detailed the updated policy, asserting it was necessary due to an “urgent humanitarian need to protect the workforce, migrants, and American public against the spread of COVID19 that may be exacerbated by overcrowding in CBP facilities.” Once COVID-19 conditions improve, “it is expected that there will no longer be a need for this alternative pathway,” he said.

But authorities later reauthorized the program despite the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention moving to terminate Title 42, a public health order. The Supreme Court has halted the termination of the order. The centers cited the easing of pandemic conditions. In the reauthorization memo for the immigration program, COVID-19 was not mentioned. The program was needed for “disease mitigation,” the memo stated.

The program and other actions “were akin to posting a flashing ‘Come In, We’re Open’ sign on the southern border,” Wetherell said. “The unprecedented ‘surge’ of aliens that started arriving at the Southwest Border almost immediately after President Biden took office and that has continued unabated over the past two years was a predictable consequence of these actions.”

Officials have also asked for lower detention capacity in budget requests while asking for increased funding for alternatives to detention.

“Thus, like a child who kills his parents and then seeks pity for being an orphan, it is hard to take Defendants’ claim that they had to release more aliens into the country because of limited detention capacity seriously when they have elected not to use one of the tools provided by Congress in §1225(b)(2)(C) and they have continued to ask for less detention capacity in furtherance of their prioritization of ‘alternatives to detention’ over actual detention,” the judge said.
Sheriff Group, Local Guide Warns Americans About Traveling to Mexico as Spring Break Approaches

Two FBI vehicles escort two Brownsville Fire Department EMS Ambulances through Veterans International Bridge at Los Tomates with two surviving U.S. citizens being transported to Valley Regional Medical Center in Brownsville, Texas, on March 7, 2023. (Miguel Roberts/The Brownsville Herald via AP)

By Joe Gomez
March 8, 2023Updated: March 8, 2023

As millions of Americans are getting ready for spring break travel to Mexico, law enforcement officials, security experts, and travel gurus are debating the risks of traveling south of the border in light of the recent kidnapping and shooting of four Americans that resulted in two of them being killed.

The group was driving through the border city of Matamoros in a white minivan with North Carolina license plates when unidentified criminals opened fire and abducted them. Two were found dead, and two others survived.

It’s an incident that has some members of law enforcement along the border issuing a stern warning to anyone considering travel to Mexico.

“We have been giving the advice not to travel into Mexico, I know that does not resonate with communities along the border and their chamber of commerce but a life is something you can’t get back once it’s gone,” Clint McDonald Executive Director of the Southwestern Border Sheriff’s Coalition told The Epoch Times. The coalition is made up of sheriffs from 31 counties along the border in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

“We have strongly urged people not to travel in these times and unfortunately the deaths that have occurred … it’s become a new normal and we do not like that, anytime someone loses their life in a situation like this it shouldn’t be a norm it should be something that everyone pays attention to and takes extreme caution and if you don’t have to travel do not travel,” he said.

In 2022, 13 million Americans traveled to Mexico, according to Mexico’s tourism office. The top destinations for travelers were areas along the beaches in Cancun and the Riveria Maya, and resort towns which travel experts say are safe.

“The border town of Matamoros is not anywhere near major tourist destinations such as Riviera Maya, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita, Mexico City, San Miguel Allende, Oaxaca, or Yucatan Peninsula therefore should not affect perceptions about safety and traveling to these areas,” Zachary Rabinor, Founder and CEO of Journey Mexico told The Epoch Times “To put things in perspective, Matamoros is about 1,360 miles away from Cancun; that’s about the equivalent distance from the Texas side of the border to Chicago, Illinois.”

Safety at Tourist Hotspots

Matamoros, where the kidnapping and shooting happened, is in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas where the State Department presently has a “do not travel” advisory in place due to the risk of crime and kidnapping. Most popular tourist destinations in Mexico do not have that advisory and there are plenty of options to choose from.

“Beach destinations such as Riviera Maya, Cancun, Tulum, Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, Punta Mita continue to be the front runners, but we’ve recently seen interest in traveling outside the typical spots to places like Isla Holbox, Bacalar, La Paz and Baja Sur, Tamarindo, and Puerto Escondido,” Rabinor said. “We’ve also seen an increase to travel in the interior of Mexico, specifically Mexico City and Oaxaca.”

The cities listed above are all in Mexican states that do not have anything higher than a “reconsider travel” advisory from the U.S. State Department. That means there is still the possibility of being the victim of a crime or getting kidnapped, but security experts say people should be fine as long as they stick to the resorts.

“I would advise American tourists, Europeans, and others don’t wander off the reservation too much,” former FBI Agent James Conway, who worked as a legal attaché for the FBI in Mexico, told The Epoch Times. “In other words, the resorts are safe because there is a pretty hard security perimeter around them since the number two industry in the country is tourism, so the Mexican government and the Mexican military protect resort areas.”

“But by the same token I wouldn’t be renting a jeep and driving out to the mountains because you’re leaving that zone of security and just about anything could happen to you as it happened to these Americans who went into Matamaros,” said Conway, who also serves as a Managing Director with the security consulting firm Straife.

He adds that even though resorts and most tourist hot spots are safe, people should still exercise caution: “stay low key, not a lot of jewelry, not a lot flash, no U.S. baseball caps and football jerseys, carry a minimal amount of cash, one or two credit cards, don’t carry debit cards because of the express kidnappings that take place in Mexico, and stay in touch with family and the U.S. Embassy.”

Meanwhile, other cities considered to be popular tourist destinations are in Mexican states with a “do not travel” advisory, including Acapulco (located in the state of Guerrero) and Mazatlan (located in the state of Sinaloa).

The U.S. State Department has even issued a different kind of travel advisory for the resort-studded Caribbean coastal city of Cancun after medallion taxi drivers started harassing and attacking drivers from using the ride-sharing app Uber and their clients.

This happened after Uber was reintroduced in Cancun when a court ruled the ride-share app could operate after it was pushed out by taxi drivers in 2016.

Taxi drivers even blocked one of the main roads leading to the hotel district in Cancun in January which forced some tourists to walk or catch rides in police pickups to get to their flights out, or check-in, according to the Associated Press.

The State Department advises travelers that “past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.”

Mexican: ‘You Don’t Go to Certain Places’

The kidnapping of four Americans and subsequent murder of two made headlines in the United States, but for many Mexican citizens, it is commonplace.

“For Mexicans, it’s very normal to see [stories] of dead people every day, in the news always you can hear like two people are disappeared and two days later they’re found dead. It’s sad but it started to become a normal thing here,” Pablo Gutierrez of Queretaro, Mexico, told The Epoch Times.

Gutierrez says oftentimes roads are blocked off because of shootings involving the cartels, sometimes between each other and sometimes with law enforcement.

“You don’t go to certain places where the cartels are fighting like Michoacan and Colima, you just go to the tourist places and that’s it,” he says.

Gutierrez also warns people never to drive at night in Mexico between cities, as Andres Avecias of Guadalajara learned when he was carjacked at gunpoint outside of the city by suspected members of a drug cartel.

“When the people came to me, the only thing I thought was that they would take the car or whatever they wanted, at the end of the day they had [guns] and I had nothing to defend myself with and even if I had, I would not have done anything that could put my life at risk,” Avecias told The Epoch Times.

Avecias says he stopped at a gas station late at night while he was driving between Guadalajara and a nearby town and when he pulled out to leave he found his path blocked by a truck. That’s when two men came up on either side of him with AK-47s pointed at his head and demanded his car.

He says in a situation like that, all you can do is “pray.”

“I’m not very religious, so the only thing that went through my mind is that if God exists, he would protect me so that nothing bad would happen to me, when they took the car and left, all I did was thank him for being alive,” Avecias said. “After having been pointed at with guns, I ran to my house and from there, already being in a safe place, I called the police, who all they did was go the area and file my complaint but everything has gone unpunished and there was never a solution.”

He says carjackings occur on a regular basis all over Mexico, which is why it’s recommended that for those traveling south of the border, they do so by plane and rely on ride-sharing services, to avoid a situation like that which happened in Matamoros.

“I would never advise anybody to drive across the border but if the situation is they are going to I would stay on main roads, I would stay on toll roads, I would only travel in daylight I would maintain contact via cell phone with family … [and] take every necessary step to avoid a confrontation with cartels,” said Conway.

It’s encouraged to take caution and avoid the Mexican states with a “do not travel” advisory listed above from the U.S. State Department. But for those who decide to travel to Mexico, the State Department has a list of safety tips to follow.
A blast from the past, illustrates that the open border policy is no accident.

Young face put on illegal migration at DNC
Noncitizen takes convention stage
By Stephen Dinan
The Washington Times
Wednesday, September 5, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrats broke yet another barrier Wednesday when they invited an illegal immigrant young adult onto the stage at their nominating convention in Charlotte — part of a historic Hispanic outreach program the party hopes will cement ties to the fast-growing ethnic voting bloc in the country.

It’s likely the first time an illegal immigrant has taken the podium at a major party convention, and highlights President Obama’s own stance on the issue: The student, Benita Veliz, had her deportation halted under Mr. Obama’s non-deportation policies.

In a pointed political appeal, Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, the Illinois Democrat who has become his party’s de facto leader in pushing immigration reforms, said the fate of Ms. Veliz and a million other illegal immigrants rests on whether Mr. Obama gets re-elected.

“President Obama is protecting immigrants. Mitt Romney wants to send them back,” Mr. Gutierrez said. “This election will determine whether high school valedictorians, football team captains, and student council presidents will be treated with respect — or treated like suspects. Whether they reach their dreams, or whether Mitt Romney turns their dreams into nightmares.”

But Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who helped draft the Arizona immigration crackdown law and stiffer enforcement language in the Republicans’ 2012 platform, said that in hosting Ms. Veliz, the Democratic National Convention is sending the wrong message.

“The DNC leaders are now portraying law breakers as heroes,” he said. “They are promoting the myth that Dream Act amnesty recipients are not responsible for their law breaking, referring them as ‘children.’ … When these adults choose to stay illegally in the United States in defiance of federal law, they are defying our country’s laws. Now the DNC is cheering them on.”

The Democrats’ convention reflects the rising power of Hispanics in American politics, with the party putting one Hispanic after another on the podium, trying to counter Republicans who highlighted their own cadre of telegenic rising Hispanic stars, such as Sen. Marco Rubio, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Texas Senate candidate Ted Cruz.

Democrats responded with speeches by talk-show host Cristina Saralegui, who has been labeled the Latina Oprah; keynote speaker Julian Castro, the mayor of San Antonio; and Ms. Veliz, the illegal immigrant who spoke to delegates just ahead of Ms. Saralegui.

Mr. Veliz said she was brought to the U.S. as a child, graduated as valedictorian of her high school at 16 and earned a double-major degree from college at 20.

“I’ve had to live almost my entire life knowing I could be deported just because of the way I came here,” she said. “President Obama fought for the Dream Act to help people like me.”

The Dream Act was legislation the Senate blocked by filibuster in 2010 that would have legalized most illegal immigrants under age 30.

Eighteen months after it failed, and after repeatedly saying he didn’t have the power to act unilaterally, Mr. Obama reversed himself and said he could, in fact, stop deportations for those who would have qualified for the Dream Act — known as “dreamers.”

His policy does not grant citizenship, but does allow a tentative legal status and gives them the chance to work in the U.S. legally.

That move helped defuse pent-up anger among Hispanics who had long argued the president had the authority to issue the non-deportation order.

“I think I’m a reflection of a community of people. I was frustrated, I was angry, I thought that things didn’t happen quick enough, I shared those with others, and I’m [now] very happy,” Mr. Gutierrez told reporters Wednesday ahead of his speech.

Republicans have decried Mr. Obama’s order as illegal, and said adding those new legal workers will only hurt unemployed Americans.

“Giving amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants under 30 would encourage more illegal immigration and make it harder for 23 million Americans to find full-time jobs,” said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, a Texas Republican who has pushed for stricter immigration enforcement.

Mr. Romney has criticized Mr. Obama’s non-deportation policy as too flimsy, though his campaign won’t say whether he would leave it in place if he wins the White House. Instead, they refer to a speech in which the candidate warned future presidents could alter it.

Overall, Mr. Romney has staked out a position as the most fervent opponent of illegal immigration of any major party presidential nominee.

Mr. Obama, meanwhile, has tried to walk a tricky line, boosting deportations of illegal immigrants but carving out large categories and exempting them from being deported.

Hispanic outreach is part of a broader appeal Democrats are making to convince minorities, women, gay voters and other specific demographics that they have more to lose on domestic issues by voting for Mr. Romney.

One key ingredient is the flood of minority faces from the podium, where an Hispanic mayor from San Antonio became the first Hispanicto deliver a party’s keynote address on Tuesday — part of a night that also highlighted top black officials nationwide.

“The people on stage yesterday — you can’t compare that to any other convention,” said Rep. Michael M. Honda, California Democrat and former chairman of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus.

On the sidelines of the convention, Democrats have been holding caucuses to fire up various ethnic groups.

Mr. Honda said that a decade ago the Asian caucus members at conventions could be counted on one hand, but this year there are 321 here.

Read more: Young face put on illegal migration at DNC - Washington Times
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Cartels Using Illegal Immigrants as ‘Human Shields’ for Drug Smuggling: Ex-Border Patrol Chief

March 29, 2023Updated: March 30, 2023

“The cartel uses these people as human shields to shape the border to completely overwhelm all law enforcement in areas very systematically, so that they can bring in other threats—people that are willing to pay more money to not meet a Border Patrol agent, or the narcotics, the fentanyl that we see poured into our cities all across this country,” he said. “Those are the threats that the illegal immigration is a cover or a mask for.”

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