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Customs and Border Patrol

How A Nonprofit Reunites Separated Families At The US-Mexico Border

Standing atop a makeshift platform in the middle of the Rio Grande, Armando Rodriguez held his 6-year-old daughter tightly on a warm morning last month. This was the first time he had embraced his daughter since the girl was a year old. Immigration policies kept them away from each other, though they were only separated by a river. His daughter, sister and former partner live in the Mexican city of Juárez, while he resides a few miles away in El Paso, Texas, with no way to see his family face-to-face. On May 6, the Border Network for Human Rights held its 10th annual Hugs Not Walls event, clearing the way for 200 families to reunite in the river.

More US Activists Face Harassment By Authorities Upon Return From Cuba

On May 7, several members of the US-based National Network on Cuba (NNOC) who had participated in the May Day Brigade, were detained and harassed by US Customs and Border Patrol upon arrival to the United States from Cuba. The NNOC released a public statement on the evening of May 7, emphasizing that “In face of persecution, we reaffirm our right to travel to Cuba. Solidarity is not a crime – the US blockade is!” They added that several of the people who were detained by CBP also had their electronics seized and some were even threatened with jail time. The harassment of their brigade members comes just days after over a dozen members of the International Peoples’ Assembly delegation to Cuba were similarly detained and questioned at the Miami International Airport and the Newark Liberty International Airport. Other organizations that traveled to Cuba for the May Day activities such as LA US Hands Off Cuba, faced similar treatment by border officials.

Cuba Solidarity Activists Harassed By US Customs And Border Patrol

This year marked the largest delegation of people from the US in decades to be in Cuba for the events around the International Day of Workers.  Over 350 people from the states participated and it was easy to see how youth made up the largest percentage, many of whom were visiting revolutionary Cuba for the first time. Yesterday delegates began to return home and some were met and detained by US Customs and Border Patrol in multiple cities. One reported that several of them traveling with the International Peoples Assembly (IPA) and the LA Hands of Cuba Committee were yanked into secondary questioning  pertaining to their political motives. At least two people had their phones confiscated. At this time all have been released.

Robbed By Law Enforcement

I am a fan of bad television.  I admit it.  I even DVR it.  I watch an awful show on the National Geographic Channel every week about Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and how they intercept drugs and birds and food and other contraband from people arriving from abroad into the airports of New York, Atlanta and Miami. I was watching an episode this week where an elderly Korean man arrived at JFK airport in New York with a few hundred dollars in his pocket. For no apparent reason, he was pulled into secondary for a more comprehensive search.  When the CBP officer went through the man’s wallet, he found four cashier’s checks, dated years earlier, that totaled $136,000.  The man said that it was his life savings, he had been carrying it around for years, and that he had forgotten that the checks were on him.

Uvalde And The Border Security Scam

For so long, the people of South Texas have been expected to sacrifice their communities to a border security apparatus. Drones, helicopters, and agents have saturated cities and towns where residents have gone without health insurance and send their children to underfunded schools. It was this apparatus that responded in late May when a gunman rampaged through an elementary school classroom in Uvalde, killing children—19 in all—and two teachers. Hundreds of state troopers, federal immigration agents, sheriff’s deputies, U.S. Marshals, and local police quickly descended on a town of 15,000, set among ranchlands 80 miles southwest of San Antonio and 60 miles from the border with Mexico. That rapid influx reflected the deep penetration of the border security apparatus in the region.

Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez’ Family Demand Justice 9 Years After Murder

Since the night of October 10, 2012, Taide Elena and Araceli Rodriguez have traveled a long road to access justice for Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez. The road has not been easy. On three occasions, the U.S. government has denied them justice. On countless other events, the same government has violated their rights as victims of a crime that has become tragically common over the years: the murder of people -migrants or not- by U.S. Border Patrol agents. In the first trial on April 2018, a jury in a federal courtroom in Tucson, Arizona, acquitted Border Patrol agent Lonnie Swartz of second-degree murder charges for the murder of Jose Antonio. In a second trial for lesser charges in November 2018, a jury only reached a nonguilty verdict for involuntary manslaughter and a hung jury for voluntary manslaughter. 

There Is No ‘Border Crisis’

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) temporarily closed the San Ysidro border crossing in San Diego on the morning of Nov. 19, 2018. With 100,000 people and 40,000 vehicles crossing each day, San Ysidro is one of the most heavily crossed land borders in the world — and CBP’s actions came during Monday morning rush hour.

Changing The Border Narrative

Much of the public discussion of our southern border today is one-sided. It is most often created by those with the most power and the loudest bullhorn; those in search of power, authority and money. So, it should come as no surprise to you that much of what we have been told about the border and of those who come to it are either not true or are highly exaggerated. It is after all the result of nearly a hundred years worth of the Border Patrol’s racist rhetoric and racist politicians creating ever more unfair and biased laws and policies. Many of which have little to do with creating an immigration system and more about scapegoating migrants for political and racist purposes while trying to make money off it. For more on this history, please take a look at this recent amicus brief on the history of our immigration laws.

The Border Patrol Is The Crisis

It’s no surprise that there are claims of a new crisis on our border. A new year, a new administration, new policies in regard to who can cross and how they are processed will always bring a crisis claim from one side or the other. Depending on which side you are on politically often determines how you feel about migrants coming to our country. Conservatives usually feel we allow too many migrants to enter; liberals believe we should allow more. That is a generalized statement of course. There are all sorts of nuances about our immigration policies and what we believe to be the best course of action. In my activism, I have come across few who believe we should have completely closed or completely open borders. Most want humane immigration laws, but with some reasonable amount of precautions to protect Americans from truly dangerous people.

Border Agents Can Search Phones Freely Under New Circuit Court Ruling

A US appeals court has ruled that Customs and Border Protection agents can conduct in-depth searches of phones and laptops, overturning an earlier legal victory for civil liberties groups. First Circuit Judge Sandra Lynch declared that both basic and “advanced” searches, which include reviewing and copying data without a warrant, fall within “permissible constitutional grounds” at the American border. Lynch ruled against a group of US citizens and residents objecting to invasive searches of their electronic devices. The group includes Sidd Bikkannavar, a NASA scientist who was detained and pressured to unlock a secure government-issued phone.

Humanitarian Camp Raided By Border Patrol, 30+ People Arrested

The government ramped up its efforts to stop humanitarian workers on the U.S.-Mexico border and raided the ‘No More Deaths’ aid station, Byrd Camp, arresting over 30 people. The Friday, July 31 raid featured the U.S. Border Patrol, an armored vehicle, two helicopters, three ATVs, a couple dozen vehicles and BORTAC, a type of tactical unit that was recently deployed in Portland against protesters for Black lives. Volunteers from No More Deaths/No Más Muertas, a humanitarian organization seeking to end death and suffering on the US-Mexico borderlands, have continually faced charges, surveillance, and threats by the government. Along with helping to aid migrants and refugees with water, shelter, healthcare, and food, No More Deaths also releases investigative reports detailing abuses by the Border Patrol, which has retaliated with raids and other repressive actions. In January of 2018, Dr. Scott Warren was arrested by Border Patrol just hours after the group released a 23-page report spotlighting the government’s interference with their humanitarian aid efforts in the southern desert of Arizona.

Border Patrol Agents Raid No More Deaths Migrant Aid Camp

The humanitarian group No More Deaths said an aid camp it operates for migrants crossing the desert was raided and then surrounded by Border Patrol agents. The group said the move as an escalation of tensions at a time when the aid they provide is vital. Byrd Camp is located near Arivaca and serves as a medical aid site for people passing through one of the deadliest desert corridors of the borderland. No More Deaths volunteer Emily Saunders said Border Patrol usually allows activities there to continue. But in late July, agents entered the property and arrested a migrant receiving care.

Border Patrol Violently Assaults Civil Rights And Liberties

In the past week, unidentified federal officers in camouflage fatigues, labeled only “police,” abducted people off the streets of Portland in unmarked vehicles and threatened the “Wall of Moms” standing up for our Constitution. The administration later confirmed the unidentified officers were Border Patrol agents.   This blatant demonstration of unconstitutional authoritarianism is demonstrating to the entire country the cruel capabilities of the U.S. Border Patrol. For communities that have historically borne the brunt of Border Patrol’s abuses — and still do — seeing these agents pose as a “secret federal police” force on the streets of Portland is no surprise. The Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, which includes Border Patrol, has been conducting secret, violent arrests of immigrants for years.    

Oregon Sues Federal Agencies Over Protest Enforcement

The Oregon Department of Justice is suing several federal agencies for civil rights abuses, and state prosecutors will potentially pursue criminal charges against a federal officer who seriously injured a protester. The federal lawsuit names the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, the United States Customs and Border Protection and the Federal Protective Service, agencies that have had a role in stepped-up force used against protesters since early July. The state filed the lawsuit late Friday night. It lists defendants specifically as John Does 1-10 because the “identity of the officers is not known, nor is their agency affiliation,” the lawsuit states. 

Trump Faces Backlash Over Idea To Militarize The Canadian Border

Ottawa -- After U.S. President Donald Trump's team floated the idea of placing troops on the Canada-U.S. border, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says it is in the U.S. and Canada's interests to keep the border unmilitarized. He made the comment after recent discussions between Canada and the U.S., in which Trump’s team was floating the idea of putting U.S. troops within 30 kilometres of the shared border. "Canada and the United States have the longest unmilitarized border in the world, and it is very much in both of our interests for it to remain that way. We have been in discussions with the United States on this," Trudeau confirmed, speaking from the front steps of Rideau Cottage on Thursday.
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