30 October 2007 at 11:56 AM EST

BP will begin punishing illegal crossers

Posted by SecPress in Immigration Update | Comments (5) | Permalink
By JULIAN AGUILAR , LAREDO MORNING TIMES

Saying the U.S. Border Patrol is ready to send a message to people who use the Laredo area as a gateway for illegal activity, Laredo Sector Chief Patrol Agent Carlos X. Carrillo officially announced the agency's zero-tolerance policy against undocumented immigrants."On October 30, the U.S. Border Patrol Laredo Sector will launch an initiative we call Streamline-Laredo," Carrillo said Friday morning. "Under this program, any alien who illegally enters the United States in the Laredo Sector at locations designated for zero-tolerance will be prosecuted in federal court."

The penalty for illegal entry, according to a fact sheet from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, is a misdemeanor for the first offense, which carries a maximum sentence of 180 days. Any subsequent offense is a felony, the statement reads.

The program is patterned after initiatives in Del Rio and Yuma, Ariz., which have been credited with decreasing illegal entries while increasing illegal drug seizures along the border.

"It's not a Republican issue, it's not a Democrat issue," said U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo. "We're talking about implementing the law. … It pretty much eliminates the catch-and-release policy."

Cuellar added that he acknowledges that at first there will be a spike in the number of apprehensions, but said the judicial process will be accelerated and that the U.S. Marshals will be given all the resources they need to assist in the initiative. After word spreads, he added, the illegal traffic will decrease.

U.S. Rep. John Culberson, R-Texas, said securing the border was vital to national security, and added that the law has been in the books since 1952. Culberson also referred to Muslim extremists groups that may look to the southern border as a possible path to enter the United States. He said the result of a terrorist attack by a person who sneaked in through Mexico would be disastrous.

"The affect would be catastrophic," Culberson said. "The reaction would be so strong that the border would become militarized."

Carrillo and Cuellar said, however, that there has been no evidence of terrorist activity along the Laredo border, though Cuellar said the possibility exists.

The officials added the issue of bed space in jails has been addressed, and that U.S. Marshals have contacted regional detention facilities regarding that matter.

Cuellar however, did not divulge which regional facilities had been contacted.

"We're not going to give you the names of what specific ones," Cuellar said. The congressman added that local or regional facilities with overcrowding issues would obviously not be considered.

"We're going to use the facilities that are already in place," Deputy U.S. Marshal Mark McPherson said. "We've (identified) other resources outside of (the) direct Laredo area. … Some are county facilities, some are private. If a facility is full, we're not going to force the facilities to take extra (detainees.)"

Cuellar added that by the beginning of 2009, when the federal government may again consider building a border wall in Laredo, the results of the streamline operation may be successful enough that a wall will no longer be considered.

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Comments

I guess you could say better late than never, but at least Laredo is taking a stand on the issue and doing something about it. Hopefully the zero policy will keep out the drug runners and other criminals and stop illegal immigrants as well, and Laredo can have some semblance of a protected border town.

If it weren't for men like Tom and other legislators pushing the Texas border issues, nothing would have materialized.

IT'S ABOUT TIME!
IS ANYONE IN AMERICA FED UP WITH THIS ILLEGAL ALIEN MESS??

GET INVOLVED WITH GETTING TOM ELECTED IN IOWA, PLEASE. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE IOWANS TO HELP! GET ON THE TANCREDO OFFICIAL FAN CAMPAIGN BLOG AND GET INVOLVED! LET US KNOW WHO YOU ARE, WHERE YOU ARE FROM AND WE WILL GET YOU BUSY. CAREE, CREAMPUFF, BUCK, DEB, DAN, JOHN, JOHN, NANCY, PATRICE, KAREN, TOM, JERRY, TROY, WILL GET YOU BUSY. WE NEED HELP NOW IN IOWA!! PLEASE, WE ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME!

Great article! Thank you Council Bluffs, IOWA!!!!

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18970685&BRD=2

I had the crowd chanting Tancredo Tancredo Tancredo as Tom drove into the parking lot. He had such a huge smile on his face when he entered the building.... it was wonderful to heart the chants for Congressman Tancredo and watch this event unfold to several standing ovations! It was so amazing..... Way to go Council Bluffs!! I applaude all of you!

Everyone looking at this blog comment, please get in touch with Caree and find out what you can do to help Tom win in the Iowa Caucuses. We can't do it alone.

Remember how all of us stopped the various amnesties? Well, this Caucus vote in January should have the same kind of push to it.

Please contact any of us.

I can't see where this coming effort in Laredo will make any real difference. Maybe locally, for a short period of time, but at best all it will really do is to move the point at which illegal aliens and drugs cross into America. Since, as noted, the laws have been on the books for over 50 years, I have no faith that they will actually be enforced to any great effect. And no matter what the result of this initiative, by 2009 people will come out and say "Look! We've decreased illegal immigration by 75%. A wall is no longer needed." That even in such a case we would still have hundreds of illegals coming in on a daily basis will be left out of the discussion. In the end, America will lose. When we do truly reach a point to where a wall is no longer needed, it will be because with a Nation so racked by crime, drugs, and Balkanizing conflict, people will no longer want to come...

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