“Welcome to America,” Border Patrol agent Albert Spratte says.
As politicians in Washington debate how to best deal with the influx of illegal immigrants from Central America along the southwest border, smugglers continue to transport women, children, and entire families into the country.
The Daily Signal went on a tour of the border near McAllen, Texas, with Spratte, sergeant at arms of Union 3307 of the National Border Patrol Council, to capture raw footage of the precise location of many border crossings.
In the three videos below, Spratte breaks down the illegal immigrants’ access points, revealing how easy it remains to break into America.
Along the banks of the Rio Grande Valley, illegal immigrants navigate tall sugarcane to make it onto American shore. The path is difficult and dangerous for Border Patrol agents to access, says Spratte, and easy for smugglers to direct immigrants onto U.S. soil.
Spratte describes how smugglers transport children and families from one side of the Anzalduas Dam to the other. Once in the U.S., many of them willingly give themselves up. Within the last several months, the Border Patrol agent says, the Department of Homeland Security, or “whoever controls press access” to the U.S. side of the dam, has made it more difficult for the news media to get to that spot.
“It’s really restricted the ability of the American press to report what’s going on to the public,” Spratte said. “We believe the public has a right to know what’s going on, and it’s difficult when the press is being controlled and not allowed to go to those areas.”
In a highly visible part of Anzalduas Park in the Rio Grande Valley, Spratte describes how human smugglers use jet skis to transport men, women, and children from parkland on the Mexico side of the river to the Texas side. “We don’t have a checkpoint at the park,” he said, making it “impossible” to tell whether people arrived illegally.
Eyewitnesses at dozens of points across the United States have begun working together to track down where the tens of thousands of illegal alien children from Central America are ending up, because the federal government won’t disclose many details of its handling of the immigration crisis.
Even top government leaders have been caught off guard.
Sen. Mark Kirk, a Republican from Illinois, said he did not know the locations of children being held in Illinois, Fox News reported.
He believes the White House does not want such information to be made public.
Nebraska Gov. Dave Heineman recently said he discovered that 200 of the children were sent to his state without warning or notice to his office.
Federal agency managers refused to give him the names and locations of the children, he said.
“We need to know who they are,” Heineman insisted. “And so far, they are saying they’re not going to give us that information.”
NumbersUSA’s map, which derives its information from members of Congress, eyewitnesses, reliable sources and news reports, shows children are being taken to many states, including Washington, Oregon, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Iowa, Nebraska, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts.
NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy Beck told WND it’s clear that the Obama administration’s dispersal of the children across the nation conflicts with its promise that many will be returned to their home countries.
“[They want to keep this] as secret as possible for as long as possible,” Beck told WND.
“We’ve been told by advocates of amnesty that you can never get the people here illegally to go back home… Actually, there are ways to get them back home.”
He argued that if the government intended to return them, it “wouldn’t disperse them, because it’s harder to find them.”
The secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, Beck noted, has said “the answer has to be that nearly all these people have to be moved back to Central America.”
But the administration’s actions don’t match its words, he said.
William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration PAC, told WND that Obama’s plan to handle the flood of incoming children is “to lie to us as long as possible.”
Gheen said the nation’s existing laws, if enforced, would do a great deal to resolve some of the most critical problems. But many citizens feel the need to take immediate action, including stopping buses transporting illegal aliens, a reference to protests in Murrieta, California.
One of many places where the immigration battle is coming to a head is Prince William County, Virginia.
Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart said he’s asking county staff members to investigate how many children are being brought to Virginia and left there.
Stewart said federal officials had not informed county officials of plans to relocate some of the children to his county.
“The crisis at the border has again reached Prince William County. Without providing the county any notice, the federal government is now placing illegal immigrant children at private and perhaps federal facilities in our county,” he said in a statement at the time.
“Although no county facilities are being used to house the children, I will ask the board tomorrow to direct the county executive to attempt to find out more about the location(s) where these children are being held and whether there is anything that the board can do to stop it. While it may seem cold hearted, it is important that these children be sent back home since letting them stay simply entices even more children to attempt the long and dangerous journey to the United States.”
The crisis is being blamed on Obama’s announcement that he would bend federal law and defer prosecutions and deportations of children who have come to the U.S. illegally. That message apparently is being heard in Central America as an invitation for children to come and obtain housing, schooling, health and even legal benefits as soon as they arrive.
But experts have noted that among the illegal aliens are gang members and carriers of contagious diseases, including tuberculosis.
Officials in Central America say they want “immigration reform” in the United States to make access easier, or they’ll continue sending children illegally to the nation’s border.
A recent Reuters report quoted Jorge Ramon Hernandez, a representative of Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, saying as long as immigration reform is not approved, “the exodus of children to the United States will continue.”
But regarding the flood of illegals, estimated at more than 50,000 unaccompanied children already this year and forecast for more next year, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad simply told Washington he doesn’t want them delivered to his state.
“The first thing we need to do is secure the border. I do have empathy for these kids,” Branstad said. “But I also don’t want to send the signal that (you) send your kids to America illegally. That’s not the right message.”
National Review confirmed the secrecy surrounding the handling of the children.
“Across agency lines, officials have ignored questions from the press. ICE officials referred National Review Online’s questions on to Kenneth Wolfe, deputy director of the Office of Public Affairs in HHS’ Administration for Children and Families. Wolfe did not respond to repeated requests for an interview, but did email links to the Administration for Children and Families’ website,” the publication said of its attempts to get information.
“The Army Public Affairs office in Washington also referred Judicial Watch’s questions about Fort Bliss to Wolfe. And a spokesperson for BCFS Health and Human Services, a San Antonio-based network of non-profit organizations, declined comment to the Brownsville Herald about its plans to open a shelter for illegal immigrant children in Weslaco, referring the Herald to Wolfe as well,” the report said. “Federal officials have instructed caseworkers, who identify and verify the sponsors of the illegal immigrant children, not to speak to the media under any circumstance.”
The NumbersUSA map notes that 1,200 illegals were being held at Fort Lewis, Washington, and 1,400 at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.
Its list documents where the illegals are being housed, where more are to be placed and other details.
“NumbersUSA is daily updating this interactive map to show which communities are under threat of the federal government moving large numbers of illegal aliens there from the border,” the report said. “NumbersUSA is providing its members actions they can take to help stop the government’s dispersal of illegal aliens in a way that usually means they never go back home.”
As the Obama administration tries to warn Central American parents about the dangers of exporting their children to the United States, it appears that some of those parents already know the risks.
Some parents are giving their daughters birth control before they head to the United States — “in case they’re raped along the way,” Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress last week.
“I’ve met with enough of these kids now, including a 15-year old in Nogales (Ariz.) two weeks ago, who was three months pregnant, to have a real sense for what these kids go through,” Johnson told the Senate Appropriations Committee on July 10.
“We’ve heard about how before they leave Central America, some of these kids’ parents actually will give them birth control in case they’re raped along the way.”
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told the committee that he’d just received a report from an immigration advocacy group at the University of Chicago Law School describing the ordeal of two unaccompanied children:
“Samuel and Emily are siblings; amazingly, ages 3 and 6 — 3 and 6. They got here from Honduras. I don’t know how,” Durbin said.
“When they initially arrived in the United States, they were very quiet and they didn’t open up. They were clearly victims of trauma. After two months of care and custody of these 3- and 6-year-old children by HHS, Emily revealed that both children had been raped by members of a local drug cartel.
“I think about those children when I think about this debate. Are they the exception? God, I pray they are. But I’m afraid there are many more with similar stories.”
Durbin told the panel that President Obama’s $3.7 billion emergency spending request to deal with the flood of children coming to the U.S. illegally does not include enough money “to provide the kind of representation and advocacy to protect these kids.”
Committee Chair Sen. Barbara Mikulski said border agents are finding the children “dehydrated, malnourished, scared. Many have been abused. They come here relying on smugglers’ false promises, smugglers that are part of dangerous gangs and cartels who see women and children like commodities to be able to buy and sell them across the borders. Children leave home based on lies, endure dangerous journeys and the threat of being trafficked along the way.”
As of mid-June of the current fiscal year, the U.S. Border Patrol had apprehended more than 52,000 children at the U.S.-Mexico border. Approximately three-quarters of them originated from El Salvador, Guatemala or Honduras after traveling for weeks through Mexico.
Some die along the way, including a 15-year-old boy who was buried in Guatemala on Saturday.
The Associated Press reported that the decomposed body of Gilberto Francisco Ramos Juarez was discovered on June 15 in the Rio Grande Valley, just over the Texas border with Mexico. He apparently got lost on his way north and likely died from exposure in hot, dry brush country of South Texas.
“Around his neck was a rosary he had received as a gift for his first communion as a Roman Catholic. Scribbled inside his belt buckle was the phone number of an older brother in Chicago he had hoped to reach,” the report said.
At last week’s hearing, Sen. Susan Collins noted that the influx of Central American children began in 2012. “So we need to look at what happened that year,” she said.
“Well, on June 15th of 2012, President Obama took unilateral action and announced his Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy.
“Now let me make clear that I think the president’s action was motivated by compassion. But it seems clear to me that it sent the wrong message to those parents in Central America. And it demonstrates what happens when the president unilaterally decides to issue an executive order affecting immigration without securing the border.”
Collins noted that the number of children coming to the U.S. from Central America more than doubled between Fiscal Year 2011 and Fiscal Year 2013. “Yet until just recently, the president did not even speak out to warn their parents and to tell them that the journey would be horrendously dangerous for their children and that they would be sent home.
“We know that many of these children have been abused or harmed on their way here. And when the wave became evident two years ago, the president took no action at that time to try to stem the tide,” Collins said.
Rep. Kay Granger (R-Texas) recently traveled to Central America, where she met with the presidents and first ladies of Guatemala and Honduras. They “want their children back,” she said.
“And they’re willing to cooperate with us to send the children back as quickly as possible,” Granger told Fox & Friends on Tuesday.
“Did they indicate that President Obama had reached out to them? And if so, what did he say?” Elizabeth Hasselbeck asked Granger.
“No, they didn’t. They didn’t say anything about that,” Granger replied.
“I did ask them how helpful it would be if the president of the United States spoke out clearly and strongly and said, don’t send your children to the United States illegally, because we will send them back; they will not complete their journey. And they said that could be – could be very helpful. They did not indicate that that was happening.”
Nothing to see here, move along…
Dr. Michael Vickers and Chris Burgard learn a few phrases of Urdu, from an Urdu dictionary, that was dropped by a coyote on the Vickers’ ranch in Texas. Urdu is spoken in Pakistan.
Training Mexico to secure their southern border.
The United States is quietly expanding its training of Mexico’s armed forces, helping to reverse decades of mistrust that made Mexico’s military reluctant to cooperate with its northern neighbor.
The amount the Pentagon spent on training Mexico’s armed forces, though small, increased to more than $15 million last year, up from about $3 million in 2009, according to U.S. Northern Command, which oversees U.S. military contacts with Mexico.
The training comes as Mexico’s armed forces have been drawn deeper into the country’s war on drugs and organized crime.
“For decades, Mexico’s military tried to remain autonomous from the U.S. military,” said David Shirk, a fellow at the Wilson Center.
U.S. military officials are reluctant to discuss the relationship openly because of sensitivities in Mexico about appearing dependent on American help. In a statement, the Pentagon said the U.S. military participated in 150 “engagements” with Mexican troops on both sides of the border, “sharing training opportunities with more than 3,000 Mexican soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines.”
The statement said the Pentagon’s “interactions” with Mexico’s military have expanded over the past three years. Mexican government officials declined to speak on the record about the training.
The Mexican navy and marine corps have been particularly receptive, allowing the United States to expand its training with Mexico’s armed forces and build trust.
“Our security agencies have focused heavily on cooperation with the navy and marines,” said George Grayson, a professor at William and Mary who has written a book about Mexican drug cartels.
By contrast, the army is a more “insular” institution less willing to cooperate with foreign military forces, Shirk said.
“The navy has earned a tremendous amount of trust from American authorities,” Shirk said.
The army is more susceptible to corruption, since its soldiers have been deployed throughout the country in fixed locations, where there are more opportunities to be bribed. They have direct contact with drugs through eradication efforts.
Democrat Maryland Governor (and potential 2016 Presidential candidate) Martin O’Malley’s words and actions don’t line up regarding what to do with the thousands of unaccompanied illegal alien children showing up at the border.
Just last week, at a National Governors Association meeting in Nashville, O’Malley said:
“We are not a country that should turn children away and send them back to certain death… Through all of the great world religions we are told that hospitality to strangers is an essential human dignity.”
Hours later, O’Malley was singing a different tune about a proposal to convert a former Army Reserve Center into housing for the children.
“He privately said ‘please don’t send these kids to Western Maryland,’” a Democratic source told CNN. The heated discussion between O’Malley and White House domestic policy adviser Cecilia Munoz occurred during a phone call late Friday evening, sources familiar with the conversation added.
HHS has since scuttled the plan for the Western Maryland site, an O’Malley official said.
Don’t send the children back to certain death, but don’t send them to my state either. Oh, and about that “hospitality to strangers” you referenced, Governor, have you been a part of any private relief efforts that religious organizations have been organizing to help these children, regardless of their legal status? Or is that just something somebody else should do as well?
Touting hospitality to strangers and then hours later begging the government to not send the children to Maryland sounds pretty hypocritical, Governor.