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  1. #1
    Senior Member Brian503a's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    California or ground zero of the invasion

    Texas Is at Forefront of Non-Mexican Influx ... 01194.html

    Texas Is at Forefront of Non-Mexican Influx

    By Sylvia Moreno
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Sunday, May 14, 2006; A13

    WESLACO, Tex. -- At a Border Patrol station near Texas's southernmost tip, four U.S. agents laboriously processed 36 Salvadorans apprehended one recent morning -- making an electronic record of each illegal immigrant by filling out a detailed questionnaire and taking fingerprints.

    The travelers ranged from men and women to three young sisters, ages 13, 15 and 16, who hoped to meet a brother living in Los Angeles. The room smelled of people almost two months on the road. The immigrants' scant possessions -- a picture of a boyfriend, a toothbrush and small tube of toothpaste, face cream, toilet paper and even a prosthetic arm -- were catalogued and packaged in clear plastic bags.

    "We went along, asking God to help us," said Marta Estela Paredes, the eldest sister. The three left their home in Santa Tecla in the province of La Libertad in March, she said, and earned money at restaurants along the 1,100-mile trek across Guatemala and Mexico. They want to go to school in Los Angeles for now, she said, "and work later."

    The Weslaco station, 50 miles upriver from the Gulf of Mexico, is ground zero in the effort to stem the flow of non-Mexican immigrants. More than half of "other than Mexican" immigrants apprehended this year by the Border Patrol were caught in the Rio Grande Valley sector, which spans 19 Texas counties and the river's last 320 miles.

    Last year, the largest group caught in the sector was Brazilian. But in August, the United States expanded the deportation of non-Mexican border crossers without court hearings, and in October, the Mexican government stopped letting Brazilians enter without a visa. The number of Brazilians caught here is just 500 this fiscal year, down from 22,124 in fiscal 2005.

    This fiscal year 52 percent of non-Mexicans caught here said they were from El Salvador.

    Salvadorans remain exempt from the deportation crackdown because of a 1988 U.S. court injunction that gives them the automatic right to an immigration hearing and protection from being transferred out of the jurisdiction in which they are apprehended for seven days. The protection dates to El Salvador's civil war, which ended in 1992.

    In November, the Department of Homeland Security filed a motion to overturn the ruling so that Salvadorans entering the country illegally may be deported immediately.

    But for now, the arrest of Salvadorans in groups of 10, 12 or even 50 is common.

    Border Patrol intelligence agent Domingo Martinez said the size of all-Salvadoran groups apprehended almost daily points to organized smugglers. In the past seven months, U.S. authorities have caught 30,000 people border-wide who said they were from El Salvador.

    The number of available detention spaces varies each week for Salvadorans in south Texas, Border Patrol agents say. On this day, only five slots were open for the group of 36. The rest would be released with a notice to appear before an immigration court.

    Eight-eight percent of those caught in the area never show up, the Border Patrol said.

    "We spend an average of three hours processing a person from El Salvador, and then there's no room to detain them, so they're let go after that," said J.R. Villarreal, the agent in charge at Weslaco. "Catch and release -- didn't somebody call it that up in Washington?"
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Dixie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Texas - Occupied State - The Front Line
    This is exactly why we need to close the border, so people are not walking across Mexico to get here. Close the border and they will stay home.

    Join our efforts to Secure America's Borders and End Illegal Immigration by Joining ALIPAC's E-Mail Alerts network (CLICK HERE)

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