Posted on August 17, 2004

Some Entrants To Face Swift Ouster

Michael Marizco, Arizona Daily Star, Aug. 14

Thousands of non-Mexican illegal border crossers

from more than 150 countries have been caught trying to get into the United

States this fiscal year, a federal report released by a Colorado congressman


The apprehension rates of illegal entrants the

Border Patrol classifies as Other Than Mexican (OTMs) include people from countries

the United States says sponsor terrorism. There were seven Iranians, five Syrians

and eight North Koreans. There were 122 people from Pakistan, a country of “elevated

concern,” according to the Department of Homeland Security.

About 41,700 non-Mexican illegal entrants were

apprehended along the Mexico and Canada borders from Oct. 1 to June 30, according

to data provided by Rep. Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican who is a vocal

critic of immigration policy.

Entrant origins

The United States is concerned that

illegal entrants from some countries could pose an elevated security

risk. A new policy is making it easier for the Border Patrol to

immediately deport non-Mexican illegal entrants. The number of

people arrested at the U.S.-Mexico border between Oct. 1, 2003,

and June 30, 2004:

● Afghanistan: 8

● Algeria: 3

● Bangladesh: 15

● Egypt: 9

● Eritrea: 15

● Indonesia: 13

● Iran: 7

● Jordan: 9

● Kuwait: 3

● Lebanon: 8

● Morocco: 2

● Pakistan: 19

● Somalia: 3

● Saudi Arabia: 6

● Sudan: 3

● Syria: 5

● Tunisia: 4

● TOTAL: 132

Largest totals

The vast majority of illegal entrants apprehended

this year along the U.S.-Mexican border are Mexican nationals,

followed by people from Central and South America. Here are some

of the apprehension totals:

● Brazil: 4,911

● Guatemala: 6,901

● Honduras: 14,906

● Mexico: 418,132 *

Country source: Immigration and Customs Enforcement

Source of nationality of those apprehended: Office of Rep. Tom

Tancredo, R-Colo. * Arrests are from Oct. 1 to Aug. 11 for the

Tucson Sector only

Of those OTM apprehensions, 132 people came from

countries that Immigration and Customs Enforcement has identified as representing

an “elevated national-security concern” since the Sept. 11 terror


The Department of Homeland Security does not make

its list of non-Mexican apprehensions broken down by nationality public, citing

national-security concerns. But the Border Patrol’s Tucson sector says

it apprehended 6,140 non-Mexican entrants through Wednesday, said Rob Griffin,

an agency spokesman.

That’s just more than 1 percent of the 418,000

Mexican nationals apprehended here since Oct. 1, the start of the agency’s

fiscal year.

Tancredo said he released the more detailed accounting

of non-Mexican illegal entrants to strengthen his contention that foreign nationals

from countries that might pose a national-security risk are being attracted

to routes along the porous U.S. border that traditionally were used mostly by

Mexican nationals.

“Thirty-five months past 9/11 and we’re

just finding out about this?” Tancredo said. “How many hundreds of

thousands of people have come into the country illegally?”

He concedes that some of the non-Mexican illegal

entrants are coming to the United States in search of a better life. But, he

says, others might have sinister intentions.

Border Patrol officials declined to comment on

Tancredo’s report but say a new expanded authority will let Border Patrol

agents quickly remove non-Mexican illegal entrants.

Under the expedited removal process, scheduled

to begin in the Tucson sector in two weeks, illegal entrants not from Mexico

or Canada caught within 100 miles of the border who have been in the United

States less than 14 days will be sent home without having to first appear before

a judge. Illegal entrants deported under the new program would be flown home.

Immigration officials have said there is no estimate of how much the more frequent

flights will cost.

The new policy is designed to get those entrants

out of the country instead of having them released from custody to await a hearing.

In the past 16 months about 28,000 foreign nationals were released from custody

on the promise of returning for a hearing in immigration court. Ninety percent

did not come back.

Agents in the Tucson and Laredo, Texas, sectors

will have a two-day course in expedited removal next week, said Customs and

Border Protection spokesman Mario Villarreal.

Locally, there are high hopes the expedited removal

process will cut down on the number of non-Mexican entrants as well as number

of immigration detention cases that never make it to court, said Griffin, of

the Border Patrol.

A United Nations report coordinated with Homeland

Security showed Border Patrol agents running into problems when they instituted

a similar policy in the nation’s airports last year. The U.N. found that

some agents did not understand asylum law and in some instances, physically

restrained people who were trying to plead for it.

The United Nations has requested a meeting with

Homeland Security officials to better gauge the training agents will receive

when the removal process begins between the ports of entry in Southern Arizona,

said Joung-ah Ghedini, a spokeswoman for the U.N.’s High Commissioner for


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