Saturday, June 7, 2014

AZMEX I3 6-6-14

AZMEX I3 6 JUN 2014

Note: "I3" is illegal immigrant issues. As always, in news stories, "immigrant" or "migrant" means those here illegally.

Updated Jun 6, 2014 - 4:31 pm
No plans to stop immigrant drop-offs in Arizona, including a spike in unaccompanied minors
By Martha Maurer
Originally published: Jun 6, 2014 - 4:17 pm

Maria Eva Casco, left, and her son Christian Casco of El Salvador, sit at at the Greyhound bus terminal, Thursday, May 29, 2014 in Phoenix. About 400 mostly Central American women and children caught crossing from Mexico into south Texas were flown to Arizona this weekend after border agents there ran out of space and resources. Officials then dropped hundreds of them off at Phoenix and Tucson Greyhound stations, overwhelming the stations and humanitarian groups who were trying to help. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
PHOENIX -- A day after it was believed DHS would stop transporting migrant families from Texas to Arizona, a spokesman for Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says that is not the case.

Andrew Wilder tells KTAR they expect the drop-offs and transporting to continue.

"The State of Arizona connected and spoke with federal officials this afternoon and got information from DHS, FEMA, ICE, both locally and nationally that contradicts that information."

Wilder said ICE has no immediate plans to stop the operation in the foreseeable future. He also disputed reports there were no unaccompanied minors arriving in the state.

"Today alone, June 6, 432 unaccompanied minors are being transported and arriving in Arizona," Wilder said. "Tomorrow, June 7, [there will be] 367."

The DHS began transporting hundreds of undocumented immigrants from southern Texas to Arizona over the Memorial Day weekend and then releasing them at Greyhound bus stations in Tucson and Phoenix.

DHS officials say the U.S. Border Patrol didn't have the manpower to handle a surge in immigrants from Central America crossing the border illegally in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer sent a letter Monday to President Barack Obama, saying she was alarmed that federal officials didn't notify state and local law enforcement.

Martha Maurer, News Editor

Central American minors flood into BP's Nogales Station
A bus used to transport detained migrants waits inside the Nogales Border Patrol Station compound on Thursday afternoon.

Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 5:20 pm | Updated: 5:53 pm, Fri Jun 6, 2014.
By Curt Prendrgast
Nogales International | 0 comments

Hundreds of juvenile migrants from Central American countries were sent from Texas to the Border Patrol's Nogales Station this week, and agents say they are being pulled from the field to respond to the influx.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has offered little detail on the situation at the station, other that to confirm that CBP is "assisting with the processing of apprehended immigrants, many of whom are family units from South Texas, including unaccompanied minors." A spokesman referred additional questions to the Department of Homeland Security, which did not reply to an information request by Friday afternoon.
Art Del Cueto, president of the Local 2544 Border Patrol agents union, said agents at the Nogales Station are processing immigration paperwork for "hundreds" of juvenile migrants, the "large majority" of whom are juveniles.
The migrants are being detained at the station, but they are "getting proper treatment," including regular meals, Del Cueto said.
"They're even getting rec time," he added. "I know they are allowing them to play, to run around, like recess, kind of."
After the paperwork is processed, the migrants will be released and some will take buses to live with family members in the United States, he said. Since they are from Central American countries, they cannot be deported to Mexico through Nogales.
The juveniles at the Nogales station are among thousands from countries like Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador who arrived in Arizona after being apprehended in Texas trying to cross the border illegally. The number of unaccompanied minors crossing the Southwest border – especially minors from Central America crossing into South Texas – has skyrocketed in the past year, creating what President Barack Obama on Monday called an "urgent humanitarian situation."
A Nogales International reporter was denied access to the Nogales Border Patrol Station on Thursday afternoon, but watched as a bus used to transport detained migrants pulled out of the gated compound, followed by a Nogales Fire Department vehicle. NFD Chief Hector Robles said one of his EMS crews responded to the station Thursday on an unrelated matter and were told that there were approximately 600 children being held there.
The Border Patrol set up a medical station to attend to the detainees and asked NFD crews to provide standby assistance, Robles said. The Border Patrol also contacted Carondelet Holy Cross Hospital to organize a plan for medical care, according to hospital spokeswoman Dina Sanchez.
Brewer complains
The Department of Homeland Security has recently been sending undocumented immigrants from Texas to Arizona and dumping them off at bus stations in Tucson and Phoenix, sparking the ire of Gov. Jan Brewer, who sent a letter Monday to President Obama urging him to "end this dangerous and unconscionable policy immediately."
A spokesman for Brewer's office told The Associated Press Friday that families and unaccompanied minors from Central American countries would continue to be flown from Texas to Arizona. Spokesman Andrew Wilder told the AP that 432 unaccompanied minors detained in Texas arrived in Nogales on Friday, with 367 more expected both Saturday and Sunday.
However, Jose Joaquin Chacon, consul general of El Salvador in Arizona and New Mexico, said the last two buses carrying juvenile migrants left Texas for Arizona on Thursday.
Chacon was in New Mexico on Friday to help 200 families who were scheduled to arrive Friday and Saturday in nearby El Paso after being detained in McAllen, he said. From there, they will be sent to locations in Texas rather than Arizona.
He said he planned to fly to Tucson on Friday afternoon and visit the Nogales Station on Saturday.
Requests to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to enter the Nogales Station on La Quinta Road and speak with the migrants went unanswered by Friday afternoon.
Out of the field
The sudden influx of juvenile migrants to the Nogales Station has forced the Border Patrol to post agents inside the facility rather than in the field, watching the border, Del Cueto said.
"We're taking agents that are working the field and now they're having to work in the processing center, so that obviously diminishes the amount of agents that are actually watching the line," he said. "That's the major thing."
Although he did not know how food is being delivered to the migrants in this case, the Border Patrol has a contract with a company to bring food for detained migrants, Del Cueto said.
When asked if local charities could provide food for the juvenile migrants, Del Cueto said that likely would not be allowed.
"You never know what they're going to give them, so that would be an issue for the agency," he said. "Somebody brings them food and we don't know what kind of food it is. If somebody gets sick, then who's responsible? Then it falls on us."
In terms of agents' feelings about dealing with the influx of juvenile migrants, he said: "We've had to deal with this before. It's our job, we're trained."
Scrambling to respond
According to CBP data, more than 47,017 unaccompanied minors had been detained in fiscal year 2014 as of May 31, more than 33,000 of them in the Border Patrol's Rio Grande Sector in South Texas. At this time last year, the Rio Grande Sector had detained just 12,484 youths.
Arizona sectors, by comparison, saw the number of unaccompanied minor immigrants drop slightly, from 6,766 last May 31 to 6,518 this year.
And while more than 80 percent of unaccompanied minors that the agency apprehended on the Southwest border as recently as 2010 were coming from Mexico, that number has fallen to only about 25 percent this year, according to CBP statistics. The other three-quarters are coming from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
The federal government is now scrambling to respond, with the number of unaccompanied minors predicted to hit as many as 60,000 this year.
In a memorandum Monday, the president directed the Department of Homeland Security to develop a coordinated plan between federal agencies to respond to the surge. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was tapped to coordinate the response, which is expected to involve the departments of Defense, Health and Human Services and others.
Sources said FEMA had been summoned to provide aid at the Nogales Border Patrol Station, but a call to the agency's Region IX, which includes Arizona, was referred to a recorded conference call with the press earlier this week that did not address the specific situation in Nogales.
(Additional reporting from the Cronkite News Service.)

Feds may release hundreds of undocumented immigrants to El Paso
By Luis Carlos Lopez / El Paso Times
POSTED: 06/06/2014 10:11:31 PM MDT

Judy Elizabeth Martinez, holding Marjorie, tries to reach family after being released by ICE at a Greyhound Bus station in Phoenix May 28, 2014. She is
Judy Elizabeth Martinez, holding Marjorie, tries to reach family after being released by ICE at a Greyhound Bus station in Phoenix May 28, 2014. She is from Guatemala and was flown from Georgia to Arizona by ICE. The Border Patrol says about 400 migrants were flown from Texas to Arizona because of a surge in migrants being apprehended in Texas. (Michael Chow / AP Photo)

El Paso may see more than 100 undocumented immigrants being dropped-off at the Downtown Greyhound station daily because of a change in federal immigration enforcement, officials said.

Michael Friel, a spokesperson for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said that El Paso's CBP sector is assisting with "the processing of individuals, many of whom were families apprehended in South Texas."

It's not known when the bus loads of immigrants will arrive in El Paso, and an official said planes carrying immigrants also will arrive in El Paso.

"Immigrants apprehended crossing the border in South Texas will be flown to El Paso so Border Patrol can assist with processing," a CBP official said.

"(The) Tucson Sector is prepared to and expects to continue to process unaccompanied children from South Texas," Friel added.

Tony Banegas, the honorary consul of Honduras to Arizona, said, the new drop-off point for many apprehended along the Texas-Mexico border will be at 200 West San Antonio in El Paso.

"We were told that they were not going to send any more buses to Phoenix ...they were going to direct buses to El Paso, Texas," Banegas said.

Banegas stated that after he noticed Phoenix buses dropped off more than 1,000 immigrants at the Phoenix Greyhound station since Memorial Day, he asked local ICE officials to specify how many more buses would be arriving.

Banegas added that he asked because he wanted to see how he could best organize to offer assistance to the newly-arrived immigrants — most of whom were women and children from Central America.

"We wanted to get a sense of how many more buses were going to come to Phoenix," Banegas said.

The potential influx of immigrants in El Paso has Banegas and officials of some Arizona immigrant shelters concerned.

They said they feel that the El Paso's shelters might not be ready to handle the volume of undocumented immigrants released from custody.

Cyndi Whitmore, a volunteer for the Restoration Project in Phoenix, said that it has taken her group a couple of years to provide adequate help for immigrants.

She said most of the immigrants have travelled for days and are in need of water and other urgent necessities.

"We are concerned that another organization in the El Paso area is not going to be prepared to see this kind of volume of families," Whitmore said.

Executives of the Annunciation House, which helps undocumented immigrants in El Paso, could be reached for comment.

Melissa M. Lopez, executive director of diocesan migrant and refugee services at the El Paso Diocese, said that while the diocese focuses on providing legal services to immigrants, local organizations may be ready to meet the challenge.

"I would say there's limited resources here in El Paso, but El Paso saw a huge increase in asylum seekers after violence in Juárez escalated," Lopez said.

"I think El Paso responded well. The service and shelters responded well. We try to work together to do the best that we can,"

It's not known how many undocumented immigrants will be sent to El Paso.

The Associated Press reported that because of a surge of undocumented immigrant traffic across South Texas, President Barrack Obama's administration is releasing immigrants inside the U.S.

The AP also reported that there's a growing perception that immigrants — particularly families — are being allowed to stay in the country freely.

Cecilia Muñoz, director of domestic policy for the White House, said those rumors are false and that immigrants caught at the border, "regardless of their age, still face deportation," the AP reported.

The immigrants released in the U.S., including those in El Paso, will have to report to immigration officials within 15 days as directed by federal authorities, the AP reported. "Immigrants apprehended crossing the border in South Texas will be flown to El Paso so Border Patrol can assist with processing. The vast majority of individuals transferred were family units from Central America and Mexico with children," an El Paso official said.

He said the Department of Homeland Security is screening every individual, taking biometrics, and putting them in the system.

Luis Carlos Lopez may be reached at 546-6381.

Rumors of asylum raise hopes for migrant families
Christopher Sherman
Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 8:12 pm

In this June 3, 2014 photo, 14-year-old Brian Duran, from Comayagua, Honduras, who traveled alone to the U.S.-Mexico border, collects his line-dried laundry at the Senda de Vida migrant shelter during his journey north in Reynosa, Mexico. The word has spread about young children migrants being reunited with parents in the U.S., but there is no new asylum for children, or their parents. Nonetheless, more migrant families are being released in the U.S. because there is nowhere to house them. Many are being allowed to continue to their U.S. destinations with an order to appear before immigration authorities once they arrive. (AP Photo/Christopher Sherman)
Posted: Friday, June 6, 2014 8:12 pm
Christopher Sherman | AP

REYNOSA — The 27-year-old Honduran woman is desperate to know if the rumor is true: that she'll be allowed to stay in the United States because she is traveling with her 2-year-old daughter.
At a shelter for immigrants, Jennys Aguilar Cardenas and other women have heard about mothers being released with their babies, about children being reunited with relatives in the U.S. Like a game of telephone, the word has spread, giving hope to an apparently growing number of migrants willing to risk the dangerous crossing — with their young children — to escape intense poverty and crime at home.
The truth is there is no change in the law for children or parents. In practice, though, so many Central American migrants are illegally entering the U.S. with young children that there is nowhere to hold them while they wait for deportation hearings. With full capacity at the nation's lone family detention center, an 85-bed center in Pennsylvania, migrants simply are being freed with orders to appear before immigration authorities at a later time.
How many are complying with the order is unknown. A U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman said the agency did not have numbers available.
But as stories about releases spread in Honduras, Guatemala and elsewhere, shelter workers and Border Patrol agents are seeing more parents attempting to enter the U.S. with their children. The Department of Homeland Security has not said how many so-called "family units" it has processed this year. Officials, however, do report a dramatic spike in the number of children caught traveling without any adult relative or guardian.
Border Patrol agents in the Rio Grande Valley sector made more than 160,000 apprehensions between October 2013 and May, about a 70 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. Nearly one third of those detained — 47,000 — were children traveling alone. President Barack Obama last week called the phenomenon "an urgent humanitarian situation," and asked Congress to approve additional spending to house the children at two military bases.
The spike in migrant detentions comes as Obama is under pressure both to reform immigration laws and to do more to stop illegal entries. Republican lawmakers have suggested the rise in child migrants is a result of lax enforcement. The Border Patrol acknowledges there is a problem in families being released, with deputy chief Ronald Vitiello noting in a May 30 draft memo that such actions are "incentives to additional individuals to follow the same path."
Aguilar Cardenas, a single mother of four, tried to enter the U.S. alone last year. She barely made it over the Rio Grande before she was caught and sent back to Honduras. This time, she brought her young daughter, Keillin Mareli, on the 1,400-mile journey, traveling by foot and freight trains to reach Reynosa, where she hopes to find a guide willing to help them cross for free.
"I decided to leave with my daughter so that maybe, this way, they'll give me the chance to help my children advance," she said, as the girl played with a white bear decorated with stars like an American flag.
At another shelter in Reynosa, another single mother from Honduras, Sandra Calidono, said she's also heard vague stories about the U.S. offering political asylum to children. "Almost all the families in Honduras are emigrating because they heard this talk," she said, watching her 3-year-old daughter playing with a migrant boy even younger.
Calidono was unable to find work in Honduras and was eager to escape a crime wave that has made it one of the most dangerous countries on Earth. The nation's murder rate of 90.4 per 100,000 people is more than 15 times the global average.
With only a dark future for the children at home, migrants are eager to believe the rumors of freedom for children and families.
"It's not uncommon when you are in a desperate situation and you need to believe what you want to believe," said Stacie Blake, director of government and community relations at the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants. "In this case, it's not the reality."
Ana Bulnes, the Honduran consul for South Texas, said Wednesday it is hard to discourage families from making the trip when U.S. authorities, in fact, are releasing them — sometimes dropping them off at bus stations in Texas and Arizona.
"The message also has to be from both sides, from both governments," Bulnes said in McAllen. "We have to work in the same direction."
The rumors are spreading by word of mouth, not through any mass media channels such as radio that can be monitored, she said.
"We have not found anywhere any kind of publicity that's, 'Come to the United States. Bring your kids, we'll let you pass,'" Bulnes said. "The people who are able to enter are those who send the message back."
Texas Gov. Rick Perry last week asked that the Department of Homeland Security stop releasing immigrants with notices to appear. On Monday, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer asked the same for the hundreds of immigrants, mostly women and children, who in recent weeks have been flown to Arizona from South Texas for processing.
Richard Rocha, a spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said in an email decisions regarding detention are made on a case-by-case basis, with top concern given to national security and public safety. "To be clear," he said, "they are subject to removal, but may not be detained through the length of their proceedings."
With her little Perla, Calidono hopes to cross the border as soon as she comes up with the money to pay a guide to help them. Then, she'll join a brother who lives in the Carolinas — she didn't know if it was the north one or south one. Either way, she's heard, life is better there.
Associated Press writer Alicia A. Caldwell in Washington contributed to this report.

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