Tuesday, July 10, 2012
AZMEX UPDATE 10-7-12
AZMEX UPDATE 10 JUL 2012
Note: Driver's license continues to be primary ID for firearms purchase.
NM to use technology to verify license information
Mon, 07/09/2012 - 4:07pm
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.(AP) — New technology will soon be used in New Mexico to verify information documents presented by people seeking driver's licenses.
The state is grappling with recurring incidents of fraud, as critics claim New Mexico has become a go-to place nationally for illegal immigrants — or preying criminals representing them — wanting to obtain real driver's licenses.
Critics attribute most of the problem to the 2003 state law that allows foreign nationals to obtain New Mexico licenses, regardless of whether they are in the country legally.
The Albuquerque Journal reports (http://bit.ly/NbcU67) that the changes being carried out include getting bar code readers to help verify bank statements and utility bills, and other software to help ensure passports are legitimate.
In addition, Demesia Padilla, secretary of the state Taxation and Revenue Department, which oversees New Mexico's Motor Vehicle Division, said her agency is considering establishing a field office in Albuquerque that would handle all foreign national applicants in the state's largest city. Other MVD field offices around the state would still handle all types of driver's license applicants.
About 70 percent of New Mexico's appointments for foreign national licenses are made in Albuquerque, Padilla said. "That would take some pressure off of the field offices," she said. "It's something that we're discussing and considering."
A decision on whether to set up the field office for foreign nationals, who can only obtain licenses through state-run MVD offices, is expected to be made later this summer.
Recent busts of two "rings" that obtained New Mexico licenses driver's licenses for illegal immigrants in other states prompted renewed scrutiny of the state's law — and how it is being enforced.
New Mexico and Washington are the only states that allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses, though proof of a local address is required. Utah law allows for a more limited driving.
Information from: Albuquerque Journal, http://www.abqjournal.com
Mexico's old ruling party falls short of majority
The Associated Press
Posted: 07/10/2012 09:41:10 AM MDT
MEXICO CITY—Electoral authorities say Mexico's old ruling party and its allies have fallen just short of a majority in both houses of Congress.
The situation may give small parties leverage to offer their swing votes.
The Institutional Revolutionary Party has been declared the winner of the July 1 presidential elections. Known as the PRI, it is allied with the smaller Green and New Alliance parties.
The Federal Electoral Institute projected Tuesday that the three parties together would have 250 seats in the 500-seat lower house, one short of a majority.
The PRI and allies would have 62 seats in the Senate, three short of a majority in the 128-seat body.
The figures are projections. The final totals will be announced by a federal electoral court.
Note: some interesting TXMEX stories. Always have to be skeptical when feds say they doing it to save money. By fed standards, $1.3m and 41 personnel isn't even a drop in the proverbial bucket. Country boys might question gathering firewood in a river bottom.
6 Border Patrol stations closing in Texas
Border Patrol in Texas
Nine U.S. Border Patrol stations, including six in Texas, will be closed within the next six months to move 41 agents closer to the southern and northern borders, CNN is reporting.
• Houston Chronicle: U.S. border worries migrate inland
The stations closing in Texas are in Abilene, San Angelo, Dallas, San Antonio, Lubbock and Amarillo. The others are in Riverside, Calif., Billings, Montana, and Twin Falls, Idaho.
(U.S. Customs and Border Protection) spokesman Bill Brooks said the interior stations that will be shut are in some instances hundreds of miles from a border. He said the decision is in keeping with a strategy to use resources wisely and "increasingly concentrate our resources on the border."
But the Federation for American Immigration Reform said the interior stations are a needed "second line of defense" to track down and apprehend illegal immigrants who make it past international borders and into heavily traveled corridors in the United States.
There will be a budget savings of $1.3 million a year when the nine posts are closed, according to Brooks.
In Amarillo, law enforcement officers told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal they are concerned because they don't have the authority to police human trafficking and illegal immigration.
"We've got a big corridor that runs through Amarillo," Potter County Sheriff Brian Thomas said. "If we pull over illegal aliens, we can call over (Border Patrol agents) who can detain them. We won't have the resources to check them."
… "All we can do is see if (someone) is wanted," he said. "We won't be able to detain them, so it's something we're going to have to look at."
In 2011, Border Patrol agents in Texas arrested almost 119,000 people and seized 1.5 million pounds in drugs and about $19.9 million, according to the agency's website, lubbockonline.com reports.
'My brother ... he's dead': Mourning after border shooting
July 10, 2012 7:37 AM
MATAMOROS — At a small home along a dirt road a few yards from the Rio Grande, about a dozen friends and family gathered Sunday afternoon, awaiting the body of their beloved Juan Pablo.
"My brother, Juan Pablo Perez Santillán, he's dead," Juanita Soto Santillán said through tears as she sat in a lawn chair outside the white-walled Los Pinos neighborhood home. A red wreath and a white-and-blue flower ornament was all the family could afford on short notice for the impromptu wake.
"My son Jorge … I don't know what happened to him," Soto said. "I want him here with me.
"I don't know if he's missing, if the (Border Patrol) got him, or … ." She trailed off.
Her 14-year-old son, it turned out, had been detained by U.S. border agents — a fate less harsh than her brother's.
The 30-year-old Perez died Saturday morning on the banks of the Rio Grande, presumably from a bullet fired by a U.S. border agent on the Brownsville side of the river. Border Patrol says its agents opened fire in separate incidents that occurred about the same time Saturday near the Veterans International Bridge: once at rock throwers who were pelting border enforcers attempting to arrest illegal crossers; once at a man who was aiming a gun at an agent from across the river.
Soto said she didn't know what her brother and her son were doing at the time of the gunfire.
The Mexican Foreign Ministry strongly denounced the shooting soon after it happened, calling the death of Perez a disproportionate use of force. Calls by The Monitor seeking comment from the U.S. State Department regarding the Mexican Foreign Ministry's statements were referred to Border Patrol, whose spokesman said that a rock attack is considered deadly force.
"We had an agent that spent almost a year out (recovering) and had to have reconstructive surgery after being attacked with rocks," spokesman Enrique Mendiola said, referencing an agent injured while responding to a drug smuggling attempt at the Hidalgo-Reynosa border in April 2010.
Rock attacks targeting Border Patrol agents are common, with approximately 500 of them along the Southwest border in the last calendar year, Mendiola said.
One confrontation in June 2010 proved fatal for a 15-year-old boy in Ciudad Juárez when a Border Patrol agent trying to detain illegal immigrants in El Paso came under attack from rock throwers and responded with gunfire.
Mendiola said that if need be, border agents won't shy away from violence.
They "are well-trained and -equipped and will respond with necessary force to any aggression," Mendiola said.
The shooting took place just south of Veterans International Bridge when Border Patrol agents responded to the river regarding illegal immigrants attempting to cross, Mendiola said. When the agents detained a group of people, they were pelted by rocks and one agent fired his weapon in self-defense but didn't hit anyone. About the same time, just south of that location, an agent saw a man pointing a weapon at him and fired.
The Mexican consul in Brownsville, Rodolfo Quilatán Arenas, said the man that Border Patrol claimed was holding a weapon was Perez, and they are trying to confirm whether he was armed.
"The Mexican government is confirming the death of an individual," Mendiola said. "We are not confirming that information. We are confirming that our agents fired in self-defense after being placed in danger."
Quilatán said that his office began working on the case soon after the shooting, and later that day, it sent a statement to Rosendo Hinojosa, chief of the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley Sector, asking for a full investigation.
During the incident, Quilatán said, Border Patrol detained three individuals, including an underage male. Soto later confirmed — much to her relief — that her son Jorge was that teen in custody.
Quilatán said his office is working with its legal department to investigate not only a violation of national sovereignty but also a possible human rights violation.
A small team of journalists visiting the northern bank near the scene the day after the shooting was hailed by a 30-something man who popped out of the brush on the Mexican side of the river.
"They killed my cousin," the man said before diving into the river and swimming across to give his side of the story.
The man, who refused to give his name but identified himself as Perez's cousin, said a group of individuals had been throwing rocks at the agents, but he and Perez had been in the area gathering wood to roast chickens. A shot rang out, and Perez went down.
"Yes, he bled to death right there," the man said, pointing to a spot on the Mexican side of the river.
The man then abruptly ended the interview, jumped back into the water, swam to the Mexican side and walked away.
Border Patrol: 'Deplorable conditions' as more than 80 found at human stash house
July 10, 2012 7:36 AM
MISSION — U.S. Border Patrol agents discovered more than 80 individuals living in "deplorable conditions" at a Mission residence Monday afternoon.
Authorities have at least two other individuals in custody who they believe may be the principal suspects in the case but must still question each person and determine their immigration status before moving forward, Border Patrol spokesman Enrique Mendiola said.
About 12:30 p.m. Monday, agents found more than 80 people at a residence at the intersection of Doffing Road and 7 Mile Line near La Joya Juarez-Lincoln High School.
Mendiola said at least six of those detained were juveniles and appeared to be in decent health, despite rough living conditions.
"Nothing was wrong with them," he said, "but when you have 80 people stuffed into a house with one or two bathrooms, there will be deplorable conditions. It will be hot."
Teen kidnap suspect: Ransom was to pay off narco
July 09, 2012 9:27 PM
EDINBURG — A 16-year-old male kidnapping suspect told a judge Monday that he tried to ransom a female victim because of a debt he owed a drug lord.
Weslaco police arrested the teenager over the weekend after he and other suspects reportedly stormed Rudy's Auto Sales in the 1400 block of Westbound Expressway 83 between 1 and 2 p.m. and took a female employee by force.
On Saturday morning, the victim was able to escape her captors and ran to a nearby home, where she asked for help.
Prosecutors told a judge at juvenile court Monday that the suspect was a danger to society, prompting them to keep him in custody.
The teenager spoke in his defense, claiming he owed money to a drug lord and had fled to Mexico before he returned to the U.S. recently.
The judge ordered he undergo psychological testing.
The state hopes to try him as an adult, and court proceedings will continue Aug. 1 with a status hearing.