Thursday, February 13, 2014
AZMEX POLICY 12-2-14
AZMEX POLICY 12 FEB 2014
Comment: Several issues addressed in this one. Pima County and Tucson have been defacto "sanctuary" entities for long time. Tons of drugs and tens of thousands of IA's pass through relatively unhindered. It is about illegal immigration, as legal immigrants are unaffected by SB1070, et al.
County officially adopts "immigrant-welcoming" designation
10 hours ago •
By Joe Ferguson
The 9,188 square miles of Pima County are now an "immigrant-welcoming" community.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a nonbinding resolution on Tuesday that was backed by a coalition of area religious leaders opposed to SB 1070 or who are part of the Pima County Interfaith Council.
About 40 people from the group attended Tuesday's board meeting, asking the supervisors to back a measure similar to one passed by Tucson City Council more than a year ago.
The Rev. Randy Mayer, with The Good Shepherd United Church of Christ, said he has been lobbying the board for more than a year to pass the measure.
He said passage of the measure marks "a new day" for Pima County, adding that the county now will be able to distance itself from those at the Legislature who passed SB 1070.
"We can set ourselves apart," he said. "We are going to do everything we can to welcome you and treat you with dignity."
Supporters say the new measures will encourage economic tourism and honor those living here legally.
Supervisor Richard Elías said the measure was designed to recognize the contributions from the legal immigrant community. "Immigrants and refugees are a vital part of our economy. The contributions they make every day make a big difference in what we are doing, and we have to recognize that," he said.
"The Elías family has been here for seven generations, but I can guarantee you that we have not forgotten that we are immigrants, and we came here from another place."
Elías cautioned that true immigration reform has to come from Congress, noting existing federal policies are forcing families apart and hurting the national economy.
Supervisor Ally Miller supported the measure, saying the county needs to adopt policies to increase trade with Mexico. "We need to catch up to ensure we are competitive in this global economy," she said on Tuesday. "We all know Mexico is quickly growing as an economic power, and if we don't become more business-friendly and make sure trade is coming our way, we will end up losers in the end."
The two-page resolution notes that Mexico is the United States' third-largest trading partner and second-largest market for U.S. exports.
It also points out that an estimated 400,000 people and 15,000 containers cross the U.S.-Mexican border legally every year, and an estimated 6 million jobs in the U.S. are tied to trade with the nation's southern neighbor.
Imports and exports with Mexico totaled $500 billion in 2011, according to federal statistics.
Note: Many also cross border to attend AZ public schools
Ban sought on unaccompanied minors crossing the border
Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2014 10:47 pm | Updated: 10:51 pm, Tue Feb 11, 2014.
By Cesar Neyoy
SAN LUIS, Ariz. – A city councilman wants the U.S. port of entry to stop unaccompanied youths from entering the country, as a way to fight drug smuggling.
City Councilman Marco Pinzon says he wants a meeting with federal officials to discuss enforcing such a restriction. But a spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the agency can't bar minors from crossing the border, because no law gives it that authority.
The issue arose last month when David Lara, a San Luis resident and community activist, appeared before the council to present concerns that youth who cross from Mexico to attend schools in the Arizona border city are being recruited by drug traffickers to carry drugs. He called on the San Luis Police Department to join with school districts and police from neighboring San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., in a coordinated campaign to prevent the use of minors as drug "mules."
Pinzon in an interview said the police department has long been been aware of minors carrying across the border. In fact, he said, the problem led to creation in 2010 of its K-9 program, which pairs narcotics detection dogs with officers who walk a beat in the city.
But ultimately, he said, the solution lies with federal officials who oversee the staffing and operation of the border crossing. "The question is why the federal government allows those youths to cross when they are not accompanied by their parents or an adult," Pinzon said. "While that continues, so will the danger that they will be used to cross drugs." "It's an issue for which we're seeking a meeting with them and, if necessary, to put pressure at the federal level and with lawmakers" to revise policy to prevent minors from crossing the border alone.
Teresa Small, a supervisor at CBP at the San Luis port, said the agency looked forward to discuss city officials' concerns with them. But she said existing law allows unescorted minors to enter the country if they have property issued border crossing documents.
Only if a minor is carrying a fraudulent document can he or she be detained, Small said.
"Our hands are tied," she said. "We can only do what the law allows us to do."
Small said CBP officers at San Luis keep an eye out for drug smugglers among border crossers in all age groups. Apart from efforts to stop drugs at the border, she said, CBP and the Border Patrol also visit Yuma-area junior high and high schools to talk about to students about the dangers of getting involved in drug traffickers in Mexico.
Note: online poll at the Douglas Dispatch (AZ) http://www.douglasdispatch.com
Are teenagers easily influenced in getting involved in drug trafficking?