Known gang members among thousands of illegal immigrant children storming the U.S. border and officials are now trying to silence officers from talking to the media
- U.S. Border Patrol stations are currently overrun with thousands of children entering the country illegally and unattended
- Some of the minors crossing the border, including teenagers, have been sporting gang tattoos
- Officers have been told to treat these potential gang members like any other child entering the country
- Most of these children are being reunited with their parents or other family members already in the U.S.
- An estimated 47,000 children have crossed into the U.S. illegally since the beginning of this year
- Border Patrol officers have been told by superior not to talk to the media about the issue
- Democrat congressman took the images at a holding center in south Texas to highlight the terrible conditions
- Border patrol officers tell MailOnline that they are so overwhelmed they are ‘quarantining’ the sick kids with police evidence tape
Border Patrol agents overwhelmed by a recent influx of immigrant children crossing the border illegally have been knowingly letting gang members enter the country.
Art Del Cueto, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson, Arizona told the National Review that officers who recognize gang tattoos on the minors are supposed to treat them like everyone else.
For the most part, that means letting these unaccompanied children be reunited with their parents or other relatives already living in the United States.
‘It’s upsetting that a lot of them are 16 or 17 years old and a lot of them are not going to face deportation,’ Cueto said.
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Signs of violence: Border patrol officers dealing with the thousands of minors crossing the U.S. border illegally have been noticing some sporting gang tattoos. They have been instructed treat them like any other minor. Above a handout photo showing a a tattoo of the MS-13 gang from 2008
Chris Cabrera, vice president of the National Board Patrol Council Local 3307, says an officer recently told him about a known teen member of the Mara Salvatrucha transnational gang whom he was powerless to stop entering the country.
‘If he’s a confirmed gang member in his own country, why are we letting him in here? ‘ Cabrera asked.
The latest revelation about potentially violent minors entering the country, comes as Border Patrol agents are being told not to talk to reporters who have traveled south to cover the hordes of children crossing into the U.S.
Assistant chief patrol Agent Eligio ‘Lee’ Pena sent a email to 3,000 officers telling them not to talk to journalists and that some reporters ‘may try to disguise themselves’.
The email, obtained by The Associated Press, said agents should not speak to reporters, on or off duty, without advanced permission and warned that anyone who does could be charged with a crime or disciplined administratively.
Young faces: The pictures, taken recently, show just how many of the illegal immigrants are children – many of whom have no supervising adult. Up to 400 a day are pouring over the border
More than 47,000 children have been apprehended at the U.S. Mexico border since the beginning of this year, and patrol officers believe the Central American media may be to blame -encouraging young people to make the trip north.
‘I’ve heard people come in and say, “You’re going to let me go, just like you let my mother go, just like you let my sister go. You’re going to let me go as well, and the government’s going to take care of us,’ Cabrera says. ‘Until we start mandatory detentions, mandatory removals, I don’t think anything is going to change. As a matter of fact, I think it’s going to get worse.
Congressman Henry Cuellar, a Texas Democrat, took shocking pictures on his camera phone of children being detained at a holding center in his state to highlight the issue plaguing the U.S. goverment.
The sad photos show child immigrants crammed inside cages and tiny rooms at a U.S. Government border facility – further highlighting the humanitarian crisis along America’s border with Mexico.
The images were taken at a holding center in Texas which can no longer accommodate large numbers of children and mothers traveling alone with their kids, forcing the federal government to open more facilities.
In one snap, taken during a tour of the Customs and Border Protection facility in South Texas, a large group of immigrants are locked in a wire mesh cage.
Caged: Congressman Henry Cuellar took these shocking images to highlight how overwhelmed the US authorities are with the recent tide of illegal immigrants
In another, tiny children run around a packed room and foil sheets – the only blankets they have – cover the concrete floors.
Up to 40 people a time – most appearing dirty and dejected – can be seen in filling rooms only large enough for ten.
Yesteryda, MailOnline reported that overworked border patrol officers struggling to cope with the huge influx are separating diseased child immigrants with make-shift quarantine methods – yellow evidence tape.
Don Ray, the Executive Director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition, said border guards were simply running a strip of tape down the center of the detention facility to separate the children.
‘The diseased kids sit on one side and the healthy children on the other,’ he said. ‘Hardly the best way to go about things’.
Mr Ray went on to describe the relocation of immigrants as akin to the displacement of people following Hurricane Katrina.
‘You can’t have an influx of people like that without having an impact,’ he said.
Flood: Don Ray, the Executive Director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition compared the situation to the displacement of people following Hurricane Katrina
Cheek-by-jowl: The immigrants are crammed in tiny rooms and forced to sleep on the floor with aluminium blankets as their only comfort
More than 400 children a day are flooding illegally in to the U.S. and the tide of border crossings by unaccompanied children mostly from Central America is not expected to end anytime soon.
It emerged Thursday that despite the influx Vice President Joe Biden believes more, not fewer, immigrants should come to America.
Speaking to a National Association of Manufacturers’ crowd this week he called for a ‘constant, unrelenting stream’ of new immigrants — ‘not dribbling (but) significant flows,’ to bolster the national economy, The Hill reported.
‘We need it badly from a purely — purely economic point of view,’ Mr Biden said, The Hill reported.
Later, on Twitter, he wrote: ‘The final thing we need to do together is pass immigration reform … We need it badly. -VP at manufacturing summit.’
His comments come as border patrol agents are appealing to the federal government to help with the thousands of illegal children pouring across the border.
Conditions: The images were taken at a holding center in Texas which can no longer accommodate large numbers of children and mothers traveling alone with their kids, forcing the federal government to open more facilities
Appeal: Border patrol agents are appealing to the federal government to help with the thousands of illegal children pouring across the border
Earlier this week, the MailOnline saw lines of children being corralled by staff at a makeshift border patrol warehouse in Nogales, Arizona being used as a central hub to process the flood of immigrants.
There were serious concerns for the health of the 1,100 children being held at the Nogales facility after MailOnline learned paramedics were called out three times in a day.
We witnessed a teenage girl being wheeled out of the make-shift detention warehouse on a stretcher and loaded in to a Nogales Fire Department ambulance.
A spokesperson for the Nogales FD said: ‘We were dispatched to a 911 call at the Border Patrol station to attend to a female minor who was feeling sick.
‘Depending on the evaluation of the paramedic we will make a decision as to whether the patient will require a higher level of medical care. If so we will transport the patient to a local medical hospital.’
The spokesperson confirmed that the call out was their third of the day to the Border Patrol facility and the eighth since June 1.
Blame game: Obama has come under fire for a change in the immigration rules two years ago which sent a message out to Central and South Americans that if you are a young illegal immigrant you will not be deported
Unprecedented: More than 160,000 immigrants have been apprehended in Texas’ Valley sector in the first eight months of this fiscal year, eclipsing the total for all of last year
Disease: A border guard said the resources are so slim that diseased children are separated simply by yellow police evidence tape
We witnessed the youngsters being processed in a yard outside the normally unused facility in an industrial area on the outskirts of the border town.
Staff set up tents and giant fans in the 100 degree heat and large green screens were used to keep the children hidden.
A border patrol officer manning the main gate at the U.S Border Patrol location told MailOnline that 200 extra officers had been drafted in to help.
Local hotels were also packed out with the influx of government officials here to tackle the problem.
The much needed response came after pictures of unaccompanied children lying on the floor of the large barren facility raised concerns of a humanitarian crisis.
And now these latest photos out of Texas increase the urgency of the situation.
A wave of unaccompanied child immigrants have been arriving at the giant holding center in Texas at an alarming rate.
More than 160,000 immigrants have been apprehended in Texas’ Valley sector in the first eight months of this fiscal year, eclipsing the total for all of last year.
Emergency: A girl is taken out on a stretcher from the Nogales camp – the third taken to hospital on Thursday
Health problems: There have been many reports of health problems amid the crush of people at Nogales
This figure includes more than 33,000 unaccompanied children.
It’s believed as many as 90,000 unaccompanied children will cross the Mexican border illegally this year in total — up from an average 6,500 over years past.
As many as 1,100 children are currently at the holding center in Nogales.
The children are sleeping in plastic cots but about 2,000 mattresses have reportedly been ordered, and medical supplies and other basics are being shipped.
Conditions are slowly improving, with shower facilities being added and donations of clothing being collected for the children.
Vendors are being contracted to provide the children with nutritional meals, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide counseling and recreational activities.
On Wednesday, MailOnline witnessed a large FedEx truck making a delivery to the rear of the warehouse.
Nogales Mayor Arturo Garina insists the site is simply addressing the immediate need for shelter.
‘I’m very comfortable with what I saw,’ he told CNN.
Sickness: Thousands of children have been transported to Nogales, Arizona, and have reportedly become sickened by the food they have been given at the shelter
PR disaster: Large green screens were used to keep the children hidden at the Nogales Border Patrol station in Arizona
He said there are makeshift cafes and medical centers and that telephone banks and computers have been set up to process people and contact relatives.
Unaccompanied children and partial families from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala make up the majority of those crossing the border.
Of the 1,200 or so crossing the Rio Grande in eastern Texas every day, up to 400 are unaccompanied children, said Rep. Henry Cuellar, who represents the district where most of the crossings occur. ‘This is a humanitarian crisis,’ he said.
It’s believed many of the immigrants use rafts to cross the Rio Grande, equipped with instructions to follow the river until reaching the Border Patrol site to surrender.
The illegal immigrants include a group of Honduran girls, some as young as 14, according to CNN.
Many in Congress have blamed President Barack Obama for policies they claim opened the floodgate of unaccompanied child immigrants.
According to the Houston Chronicle, several advocacy organizations have lodged complaints with Department of Homeland Security officials on behalf of more than 100 unaccompanied youths alleging mistreatment by Customs and Border Patrol agents within the past year.
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified Wednesday before a Congressional committee that the Federal Emergency Management Agency has 70 personnel dedicated full time to coordinating humanitarian relief efforts for the surge of unaccompanied children caught at the border.
The government has resorted to using three military installations to house an overflow of child immigrants, including an Air Force base in San Antonio, Texas.
Nogales Border Patrol station: Staff set up tents and giant fans in the 100 degree heat
Conspiracy: An association of former border guards has accused the government of deliberately ‘orchestrating’ the flood of minors for ‘political reasons’
The Obama administration is attributing the huge influx to violence in poverty stricken nations such as Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
But some members of Congress say Obama’s policies and a lack of enforcement are to blame.
‘The President has sent the message out he is not going to enforce the law,’ Rep. Steve King, an Iowa Republican whose commentary on immigration reform drew sharp criticism, told CNN. ‘That message has echoed out.’
Critics, such as King, point to Obama’s decision in 2012 to stop most deportations of young people brought to the United States as children.
After the children at Nogales have been processed, they will be transferred to Department of Health and Human Services run facilities at Lackland Air Base in Texas or Ventura County Naval Base in California.
The administration announced that a third facility in Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which will house up to 1,200 minors.
U.S. law prohibits the Department of Homeland Security from immediately deporting the children if they are not from Canada or Mexico.
Instead, the children are turned over to Department Health and Human Services supervision ‘within 72 hours of DHS taking them into custody,’ an official said.
Relatives living in the U.S. are searched for and contacted and the immigrant is given a court date.
But very few actually show up and the children often become one of the millions of undocumented immigrants.
Last night an organization of former Border Patrol agents charged that the federal government, under the administration of President Obama, is deliberately arranging for a flood of immigrant children to arrive in America for political purposes.
‘This is not a humanitarian crisis. It is a predictable, orchestrated and contrived assault on the compassionate side of Americans by her political leaders that knowingly puts minor illegal alien children at risk for purely political purposes,’ said the statement released by the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers.
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Q. Where are the migrant children coming from?
Major towns where children caught from Jan. 1 to May 14 came from
San Pedro Sula, which has the world’s highest homicide rate, sent more than 2,000 children.
Tegucigalpa, Honduras’s capital, sent more than 900, the second highest number.
More than 800 children were from Juticalpa, a rural town.
San Pedro Sula
Circles are sized to the number of children
This rural town, is among the poorest in a nation.
Guatemala’s capital is plagued with gang violence.
Rival gangs are responsible for most of the murders in El Salvador’s capital.
More than three-quarters of unaccompanied minors are from mostly poor and violent towns in three countries: El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Children from Mexico, once the largest group, now make up less than a quarter of the total. A small number come from 43 other countries.
Q. When did the surge start?
Children caught at the border,
The number of unaccompanied minors began to surge in 2012, mainly driven by an influx of children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. In March alone, 5,727 children were apprehended.
Q. What caused the sudden increase in unaccompanied minors?
per 100,000 people
Although the reasons tend to depend on the child’s home country, poverty, violence and family reunification are often cited as the main reasons. Honduras has the world’s highest murder rate, while the Guatemalan children are from extremely poor rural areas. The Department of Homeland Security has acknowledged that because so many minors caught in the past few years were reunited with their families here and not immediately deported, many Central Americans were left with the perception that the United States was allowing children to stay.
Q. Why are the children not deported immediately?
Under an anti-trafficking statute adopted with bipartisan support in 2008, minors from Central America cannot be deported immediately and must be given a court hearing before they are deported. A United States policy allows Mexican minors caught crossing the border to be sent back quickly.
Q. Where are the children crossing the border?
Where children were
caught this year
Of the children who were apprehended, more than 70 percent were caught crossing the Rio Grande Valley in Texas and 13 percent were caught in Tucson, Ariz.
Q. How old are they? Are they mostly boys or girls?
Many of them are boys between ages 15 and 17, and the proportion who are girls and younger children has been increasing in the last year.
Q. What happens to the children after they are caught?
Immigration proceedings are started. The Department of Health and Human Services gives each child a health screening and immunizations, and assigns a short-term shelter. Children stay in a shelter an average of 35 days. Most are then placed with a family member or sponsor in the United States, where they remain during the process.
Q. Where are the shelters?
There are about 100 permanent shelters located mostly near the United States-Mexico border, which are run by the Department of Health and Human Services. But because of the sudden influx of children, three temporary shelters with a total of about 3,000 beds were opened on military bases in California, Oklahoma and Texas.
Q. What is being done to address the problem?
Mr. Obama urged Congress on July 8 to authorize $3.7 billion in emergency funds to bolster border security, hasten deportations and deal with the humanitarian crisis in Central America. Congressional Republicans pushed back, saying that the border crisis is a result of Mr. Obama’s policy problems and lax enforcement at the border. Republican lawmakers are pushing to amend the 2008 law, which currently makes it difficult to return the children quickly to their home countries.