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  • #16
    Border Patrol to hire 6,000 by end of 2008

    By Amanda Miller - Staff writer


    Moving to the U.S. Border Patrol's Rio Grande Valley Sector was a culture shock for Border Patrol Agent Frederick Mangona and his family.

    "Being so close to Mexico, the culture is very much influenced by the Mexican culture," Mangona said.

    But the Army veteran, husband and father prefers the slow pace of his south Texas lifestyle in coastal Corpus Christi over the fast pace he perceives in bigger cities.

    The Border Patrol is looking for more veterans like Mangona. The organization's goal is to grow by 6,000 agents, for a total force of about 18,000, by the end of 2008.

    About 6,000 National Guard troops are supplementing the Border Patrol's efforts along the southwest border.

    The Border Patrol's recruiting push comes during a high-profile time in border security, with lawmakers considering guest worker programs and a post-Sept. 11 emphasis on preventing suspected terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S.

    It's a historic opportunity for service members leaving the military to enter jobs as federal law enforcement officers.

    Mangona is one of many veterans who have found careers with the Border Patrol. He's a native of the Philippines and joined the U.S. Army in 1992 as a permanent resident alien.

    He left the Army as a specialist serving with mechanized infantry units and later earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice along with his U.S. citizenship, a requirement to join the Border Patrol.

    "I encountered a Border Patrol agent in 2001, and I was just impressed by the professionalism "” and the ability to speak Spanish," said Mangona, who learned Spanish along with other non-Spanish-speakers at the Border Patrol Academy.

    Every new Border Patrol agent starts out along the southwest border "” those areas of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California closest to Mexico.

    That's why intense Spanish-language training is a big part of agents' experience at the 17-week Border Patrol Academy in Artesia, N.M. Agents must learn Spanish, but recruiters emphasize that Spanish proficiency is not a prerequisite to joining the force.

    Border Patrol's mission
    The Sept. 11 terrorist attacks resulted in changes for the Border Patrol. The security force became a part of the Homeland Security Department's U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency.

    Reorganization came with a new "priority mission" "” to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the U.S.

    The new mission puts added pressure on Border Patrol agents already seeking to prevent illegal aliens and illegal contraband "” particularly drugs "” from crossing U.S. borders.

    "We have to be not only more vigilant, we have to look for more things," Border Patrol spokesman Todd Fraser said. "We have to be concerned with trucks carrying a lot of fertilizer or individuals carrying lab equipment. Before, we wouldn't have second-guessed it. Now, we have to second-guess it."

    Preventing people and drugs from entering the country illegally are still the biggest parts of a Border Patrol agent's job.

    The Border Patrol stopped more than one million people from entering the U.S. illegally in fiscal 2006 and seized more than 1.3 million pounds of marijuana and nearly 13,000 pounds of cocaine. The busiest area now is Border Patrol's Tucson Sector in Arizona.

    "Our entire mission has changed, but our goal is the same: border security," Fraser said.

    Becoming an agent
    If you're not already a member of a federal law enforcement agency such as the FBI or the Drug Enforcement Administration, then you must pass the Border Patrol exam and receive a tentative job offer letter prior to your 40th birthday. Military police don't qualify for the age waiver.

    For every 30 people who apply to take the Border Patrol's written exam, only one enters the Border Patrol Academy. Only about 40 percent of the applicants pass the exam.

    "It's a very difficult test," said Todd Bryant, acting assistant chief of Border Patrol's training and recruitment branch. Those who sign up for the test receive study guides, which they're strongly encouraged to use. "If you come in cold, though, your chances aren't good," Bryant said.

    The three-part exam tests applicants' logical reasoning skills and ability to learn a foreign language. Candidates are administered an "artificial language test," but a Spanish-language proficiency test is substituted for those who believe they're already proficient in Spanish. The exam also includes an assessment of what you've learned from past work experiences. The test takes about 4½ hours, Bryant said.

    Depending on the exam location or recruiting event an applicant attends, a medical exam and physical fitness test may be administered on the same day. To pass the physical fitness test, candidates must do 20 push-ups in 60 seconds, 25 sit-ups in 60 seconds and a 30-step-per-minute step test for five minutes. The medical exam and physical fitness test may also be scheduled for a later date, along with an **** interview before three experienced Border Patrol agents.

    "We'll ask questions about how you'd respond and react to certain scenarios based on real occurrences in Border Patrol. What would a reasonable person do in that scenario?" Bryant said.

    Once an applicant passes the written exam, medical exam, physical fitness test and **** interview, there's a drug test and background check. Investigators will interview friends, neighbors and employers "” "to make sure you are who you say you are."

    The entire process can take several months. You can request duty in one of Border Patrol's sectors along the southwest border, but you may not be assigned there. You'll find out whether your desired sector is available before you accept a job.

    If you accept, you're responsible for reporting to your initial duty station for a couple of days of paperwork. Next, you head to Border Patrol Academy in New Mexico; from that point through the duration of your academy training, Border Patrol pays for your room and board.

    Intense training
    Mangona compares Border Patrol Academy with his Army training.

    "Physically I would say it's about equal to the Army basic training," he said, "but it's a lot more academically challenging, not to mention that we all have to be proficient in Spanish when we graduate."

    The Spanish-language portion is considered the equivalent of two years of college-level Spanish.

    "It's everything you would need to know to conduct an interview," Bryant said.

    Recruits learn constitutional law, immigration law, close-quarters combat and driving techniques, among other subjects, at the academy.

    One or two groups of 50 recruits enter the Border Patrol Academy each week. They attend classes eight hours a day on weekdays, and most spend weekends studying and otherwise preparing for the coming week.

    After graduation comes five to seven months of field training in new agents' home sectors "” "to get you to a competent level," Bryant said.

    More tests follow at seven and 10 months after graduation to ensure recruits have retained what they learned at the academy.

    Agents are eligible to join the agents' union, the National Border Patrol Council, after two years of service, but they are not required to do so. As is customary within law enforcement unions, supervisors are not allowed membership.

    Military experience
    Senior Patrol Agent Adrian H. Arcides left the Marine Corps as a staff sergeant in 2000 after 13½ years of service. The former aircraft maintainer was drawn to the Border Patrol because of the likelihood he could work in his home state of Texas as well as the opportunity to apply his military time to his federal retirement.

    He's assigned to the same Rio Grande Valley Sector as Mangona.

    "I started off as a line agent, looking for terrorists, any type of illegal immigration, any type of smuggling "” whether it be narcotics or people," said Arcides, who now works as a recruiter.

    Arcides considers the Border Patrol a good opportunity for troops set to leave the service.

    "It's an easier transition for them going from one uniform to the next. Adventure is there as well," Arcides said.

    Arcides was able to "buy back" his time in the Marine Corps and apply those years to his Border Patrol retirement. He had the option of making a lump-sum payment of about $5,400 for his 13½ years in the Corps. That amount could also be deducted in $25 increments from his Border Patrol pay.

    When Arcides retires from Border Patrol after 20 years, his retirement checks will reflect 33½ years of service.

    The bad with the good
    Former Border Patrol agent and Marine Corps veteran Ray Harris couldn't do much more to promote the Border Patrol, even in retirement. A 13-year Marine Corps veteran who served as an avionics technician and later as an auditor, Harris took the Border Patrol exam as a gunnery sergeant, wearing his Marine Corps uniform, in 1980.

    Harris now runs http://www.honorfirst.com, an unofficial Border Patrol Web site which he started in the 1990s, before the agency had a Web site of its own.

    "I think it's one of the best jobs in the world," Harris said to any service member considering applying to the Border Patrol. "Most military veterans find it to be a really good fit."

    But changes within the force are spurring T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council, to caution those considering a career in the Border Patrol.

    "I bleed green, the color of the uniform," said Bonner, who represents about 7,000 members as union president. "The job was just an incredible occupational choice for me at the time I accepted it."

    But politics have crept into agents' day-to-day jobs in a number of ways, "some subtle and some not so subtle," Bonner said.

    Calls for immigration reform among U.S. lawmakers and activist groups historically have caused more illegal activity along the borders, especially when those tempted to cross illegally glimpse "the carrot of legal status," Bonner said.

    He also cites instances of Border Patrol agents being prosecuted for doing what Bonner considers their jobs.

    "The government of Mexico demands prosecution of our agents, and sadly our government goes along with those demands more often than not," Bonner said.

    Bonner alluded to the prosecution and subsequent convictions of two former Border Patrol agents following a February 2005 incident in which they fired on a Mexican citizen and later failed to report the shooting.

    The U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Texas, has issued a number of statements in an attempt to clarify what it deems "factual inaccuracies and unfounded criticism" regarding the case.

    National Border Patrol Council leaders in April publicized a no-confidence vote against Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar, listing 10 points including "promoting amnesty and a guest worker program" and operational issues such as the agency's vehicle pursuit policy.

    U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner W. Ralph Basham responded to the no-confidence vote in a written statement: "During a period of tremendous change and unprecedented financial and political support for the Border Patrol, Chief Aguilar has been a tireless advocate for agents on the frontline."

    Those considering the Border Patrol as their next career should do so "with their eyes wide open," Bonner said. "We need patriots to step forward who are willing to bend and in some cases break the rules to get the job done. It's going to expose you to discipline and sometimes prosecution. ... That doesn't mean it can't change."

    Border Patrol spokesman Fraser took exception to Bonner's statement.

    "Our motto is ˜Honor first.' The Border Patrol does not have any place in its ranks for individuals who are intentionally, purposely breaking the rules."

    Border Patrol pay
    Border Patrol agents may enter at one of three pay levels, depending on their academic and law-enforcement backgrounds.

    GL-5: $35,595

    Requires one of the following:

    "¢ Substantial work experience in fields such as interviewing, claims adjusting, journalism or security.

    "¢ A bachelor's degree.

    "¢ A combination of education and experience.

    GL-7: $40,519

    Meets GL-5 requirements, as well as demonstrated the ability to:

    "¢ Make arrests and exercise sound judgment using firearms.

    "¢ Deal "courteously, tactfully and effectively" in law-enforcement matters.

    "¢Quickly analyze information and act appropriately according to laws, court decisions and law-enforcement procedures.

    "¢ Develop and maintain contact with a network of informants.

    GL-9: $45,189

    Meets GL-7 requirements, as well as demonstrated the ability to:

    "¢ Develop cases, conduct interviews or interrogations, make apprehensions and arrests.

    "¢ Prepare cases and appear as a professional witness in court.

    "¢ Exercise sound judgment using firearms and conduct training or qualification exercises in the proper care and use of firearms.

    "¢ Deal effectively with individuals in their detention, control or interrogation, and promote community outreach and public relations.

    "¢ Analyze and disseminate intelligence information and data, and apply law enforcement concepts and techniques.

    "¢ Develop and maintain a network of informants, social and political organizations, local law enforcement agencies, and citizens.

    "¢ Use law-enforcement databases.

    "¢ Prepare legal reports and documents concerning illegal activities.

    For a full list of qualifications, visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Web site. Click on "CBP Border Patrol "” Now Hiring," then on "CBP Border Patrol Entry Level Positions," and then on "Border Patrol Agent Fact Sheet."

    Voices of experience
    Agents shared their favorite reasons to work for the U.S. Border Patrol as well as the toughest parts of their job.

    Best part of the job:

    "I would say because we're not a 9-to-5 job. It's an opportunity to ... serve your country and try something new." (Todd Bryant, acting chief, Border Patrol's training and recruitment branch)

    "I'm not stuck behind a desk all the time. I can get out and go do different jobs." (Adrian H. Arcides, senior patrol agent and Marine Corps veteran)

    "Being able to work outside Â… with minimum supervision, dictating the pace of work I want to do during the day ... serving the country while having fun." (Frederick Mangona, Border Patrol agent and Army veteran)

    The reason to join:

    "Because border security is essential to the continuation of the sovereignty of our country." (T.J. Bonner, president of the National Border Patrol Council)

    Toughest part of the job:

    "Being under the [public's] microscope, especially now, when immigration is such a big issue." (Mangona)

    "When you come across a big group of people who are crossing illegally. You scare them because you come out of the brush in the middle of the night. They spread out from the group and end up separating. A young daughter or a young son is just left behind. The child is scared." (Arcides)

    Most common misconception:

    "That we sit in booths at the international crossings and ask people if they have anything to declare." (Todd Fraser, Border Patrol spokesman)
    "Until the color of a man's skin is of no more significance than the color of his eyes everywhere will be war"...................BOB MARLEY

    Comment


    • #17
      Originally posted by mike_2007:
      when they first come up with all this ,,this whole thing was about the land border... but now i guess not,,so i guess the ID card will still be good enough to cross the land borders
      Mike, thats always amazed me that you could go across the Mexican Border and the Canadian border just using your Drivers Licence, in the UK if we wanted to take the ferry across to France, belgium or Holland, we had to have a passport.

      So I think having to use a passport to cross the border is a good thing.

      Comment


      • #18
        By FRANK ELTMAN, Associated Press Writer
        Thu Jan 17, 6:35 PM ET



        RIVERHEAD, N.Y. - For months, the nurses complained that they were subject to demeaning and unfair working conditions "” not what they were promised when they came to America from the Philippines in search of a better life. So they abruptly quit.

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        But in doing so, they put more than their careers at risk: Prosecutors hit them with criminal charges for allegedly jeopardizing the lives of terminally ill children they were in charge of watching.

        The 10 nurses and the attorney who advised them were charged with conspiracy and child endangerment in what defense lawyers say is an unprecedented use of criminal law in a labor dispute. If convicted of the misdemeanor offenses, they face up to a year in jail on each of 13 counts, and could lose their nursing licenses and be deported.

        The case has unfolded against the backdrop of a chronic nursing shortage in the United States. All of the defendants were from the Philippines, which exported 120,000 nurses last year.

        One defendant was a doctor back home and a top scorer on the country's medical board exams, but decided it was more lucrative to be a nurse in the United States. Others had respectable medical jobs back home and viewed their work in New York as a dream come true.

        "Coming to the United States is like the fulfillment of your nursing career," said Maria Theresa Ramos, who arrived on Long Island in 2004.

        The nurses are backed by several Filipino organizations in the U.S., as well as both the New York and California state nurses associations, which fear prosecuting nurses who quit their jobs could set a bad precedent.

        Prosecutors say the nurses' resignations "” without notice "” on April 7, 2006, jeopardized the lives of children at Avalon Gardens in Smithtown, where some of the patients are on ventilators and required constant monitoring.

        None of the patients suffered ill effects, but an indictment alleges the nurses knew their sudden resignations would make it difficult to find replacements. Their trial is scheduled to begin Jan. 28.

        The nurses claim that they were sent to work at facilities they never signed up for, and made to perform tasks they deemed demeaning and below their job descriptions. There were also disputes about scheduling and pay. Sixteen other nurses and one physical therapist also walked off the job at other facilities, but they were not charged because they did not care for terminally ill children.

        Lawyers for the 10 nurses say one of the nurses remained on-duty when resignation letters were submitted. They insist that the nurse "” Ramos "” stayed four hours past the scheduled end of her shift to ensure that the patients received proper care.

        The nurses contend they are facing prosecution because influential Democratic officials "” Sen. Charles Schumer and Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota "” took interest in the case at the behest of an attorney for Sentosa Health Care, which operates Avalon Gardens.

        The defense has asked Gov. Eliot Spitzer to appoint a special prosecutor, a request being considered in Albany.

        "If I could get a special prosecutor, I have no doubt that this case would be dismissed in a heartbeat," said defense attorney James Druker, a former federal prosecutor who represents all 10 nurses. "I just want somebody fair and independent."

        Spota opposes a special prosecutor and insists he exerted no special influence on the case.

        "Their reason for asking for a special prosecutor is they say I have a close personal, political and financial relationship with the owners of Sentosa," Spota said. "Wrong. I don't have any relationship."

        The case also has attracted attention in Manila, where hearings in the Senate and House of Representatives were held last month.

        After the nurses complained they were being mistreated, a suspension order was issued against a Sentosa Health Care affiliate in the Philippines. But the suspension was later lifted, and the nurses believe that decision was politically motivated because Schumer got involved.

        He sent letters in June 2006 to the Philippines Overseas Employment Administration and the Philippines Labor Secretary, and later to Philippines President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, asking that they meet with Sentosa representatives and then "take any actions that you consider appropriate."

        The POEA head, Rosalinda Baldoz, said the dismissal of the nurses' complaint was not the result of political influence.

        Defense attorneys noted that Schumer's Long Island finance chairman, attorney Howard Fensterman, also represents Sentosa. Fensterman's office referred calls to a public relations representative, who derided the allegation.

        "This is on its face and in its substance a pathetic smokescreen to divert attention from the fact that 10 nurses got up and left pediatric patients on ventilators in a deliberate act of labor sabotage," said Gary Lewi, speaking on behalf of Fensterman and Sentosa.

        Schumer said the letters were the result of his efforts to ease the nationwide shortage of nurses and to seek due process on behalf of a New York company. He said they had "no connection whatsoever" to political donations made by Sentosa executives.

        "There are many times that a company will call us up and say a foreign country is treating it unfairly. I regard it as part of my job to help New York companies," he said.

        Defense attorneys say they are perplexed why the case is proceeding to trial because two separate state-agency investigations cleared the 10 nurses. Spota said the legal standards for a prosecution differ from those of the state agencies.

        He said the nurses and their attorney had the chance to tell their side at a grand jury proceeding "” an unusual event in a misdemeanor case "” but all declined to testify.

        Ramos and the other nurses have since found employment elsewhere. She works at Stony Brook University Hospital, also on Long Island, but still tears up with emotions at the prospect of being criminally prosecuted.

        "It's really devastating for us. ...How can it happen in America?" she said.


        OK, there is a nursing shortage in the US, employer allegedly provided unsafe working conditions, yet the first ones to get prosecuted are the immigrants. Is there something wrong with this picture?
        "Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams on Defense of the boston Massacre

        Comment


        • #19
          By ASSOCIATED PRESS, Jan 17

          CHICAGO (AP) -- A widowed illegal immigrant who was allowed to stay in the U.S. to care for her paralyzed husband for 14 years faces deportation to France unless a congressman can win passage of a bill written especially for her.

          Democratic Rep. Dan Lipinski introduced a private bill Wednesday on behalf of Corina Turcinovic, who has been detained by U.S. immigration officials since Dec. 28. A private bill is one that would provide benefits to specific individuals.

          Turcinovic, 43, overstayed a visa while taking care of her husband, Maro Turcinovic, who had been paralyzed from the neck down and died in 2004.

          Bills like the one Lipinski is pushing for Turcinovic pass ''fairly rarely,'' said Fred Tsao, the policy director at the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights.

          ''It really depends how sympathetic the cases are,'' he said.

          Turcinovic lived on the city's South Side while taking care of her quadriplegic husband, an immigrant from Croatia. She has been held at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in northern Illinois and could be deported on Jan. 30, said her attorney, John Colbert.

          Lipinski's bill could stall Turcinovic's deportation order and eventually grant her permanent resident status, but it has to pass the House and Senate and be signed by the president.

          ''I do not condone the breaking of U.S. immigration law, but I believe that Mrs. Turcinovic's special situation merits reconsideration,'' Lipinski said in a statement.

          A vehicle struck Maro Turcinovic on a visit to the U.S. in 1990. He later won a seven-figure settlement in a medical malpractice suit against the hospital.

          Corina Turcinovic, of Bordeaux, France, immigrated to the U.S. on a visa waiver. The couple moved to Chicago and married, living off the settlement money and her savings.

          Corina Turcinovic lived legally in the U.S. for 14 years by applying for stays of deportation on the humanitarian grounds that she was her husband's caretaker.

          Maro Turcinovic was granted legal status and applied for citizenship. As part of his application, he was required to give fingerprints, but could not leave his home to do so because of his disability.

          Immigration officials were aware of the situation and resolved to accommodate him, but made a mistake by denying his application when Maro Turcinovic didn't show up for an immigration status hearing, Colbert said.

          If it wasn't for the error, Corina Turcinovic could have stayed in the country legally as the wife or widow of a U.S. citizen, Colbert said.

          Immigration officials declined to discuss details of the case.

          ''We have the file and we are currently exploring all legal options to rectify the case if there should be some legal avenue,'' said Marilu Cabrera, a Chicago spokeswoman for the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services.

          Because she had no legal avenue to stay in the U.S. after her husband's 2004 death, immigration officials considered Corina Turcinovic a fugitive and arrested her at home late last month.

          Comment


          • #20
            By MICHELLE ROBERTS | Associated Press, Jan 17

            SAN ANTONIO -- A methamphetamine dealer who gunned down a deputy during a traffic stop in Southern California. A man in Arizona who killed his ex-girlfriend's parents and brother and snatched his children. A man who suffocated his baby daughter and left her body in a toolbag on an expressway overpass near Chicago.

            Ordinarily, these would be death penalty cases. But these men fled to Mexico, thereby escaping the possibility of execution.

            The reason: Mexico refuses to send anyone back to the United States unless the U.S. gives assurances it won't seek the death penalty _ a 30-year-old policy that rankles some American prosecutors and enrages victims' families.

            "We find it extremely disturbing that the Mexican government would dictate to us, in Arizona, how we would enforce our laws at the same time they are complaining about our immigration laws," said Barnett Lotstein, special assistant to the prosecutor in Maricopa County, Ariz., which includes Phoenix.

            "Even in the most egregious cases, the Mexican authorities say, `No way,' and that's not justice. That's an interference of Mexican authorities in our judicial process in Arizona."

            It may be about to happen again: A Marine accused of murdering a pregnant comrade in North Carolina and burning her remains in his backyard is believed to have fled to Mexico. Prosecutors said they have not decided whether to seek the death penalty. But if the Marine is captured in Mexico, capital punishment will be off the table.

            Fugitives trying to escape the long arm of the law have been making a run for the border ever since frontier days, a practice romanticized in countless Hollywood Westerns.

            Mexico routinely returns fugitives to the U.S. to face justice. But under a 1978 treaty with the U.S., Mexico, which has no death penalty, will not extradite anyone facing possible execution. To get their hands on a fugitive, U.S. prosecutors must agree to seek no more than life in prison.

            Other countries, including France and Canada, also demand such "death assurances." But the problem is more common with Mexico, since it is often a quick drive from the crime scene for a large portion of the United States.

            "If you can get to Mexico _ if you have the means _ it's a way of escaping the death penalty," said Issac Unah, a University of North Carolina political science professor.

            The Justice Department said death assurances from foreign countries are fairly common, but it had no immediate numbers. State Department officials said Mexico extradited 73 suspects to the U.S. in 2007. Most were wanted on drug or murder charges.

            Lolita Parkinson, a spokeswoman for the Mexican Consulate in Houston, said Mexico opposes capital punishment on human rights grounds and has a particular obligation to protect the rights of people of Mexican descent who face prosecution in the U.S.

            The U.S. government typically pays more attention to those entering the country from Mexico than it does to those trying to leave the U.S. But Texas authorities have begun making checks of vehicles and drivers heading south on the 25 international bridges that connect the state to Mexico.

            The initiative, announced in October, was originally intended to catch drug smugglers taking cash or stolen cars into Mexico, but "we would hope it would be a deterrent for fugitives" as well, said Allison Castle, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Perry.

            In the North Carolina case, local authorities and the FBI are working with Mexican law enforcement to hunt down Cpl. Cesar Armando Laurean, a 21-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen born in Mexico. He is accused of killing 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach in mid-December, months after she accused him of rape.

            Wanted posters and information on Laurean have been distributed to the Mexican media.

            Also recently, prosecutors in Dallas pledged not to seek the death penalty if Mexico extradites Ernesto Reyes, a man accused of killing and burning the body of a University of North Texas student last year. That extradition request is still pending.

            Last March, Teri March, the widow of a Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy who was killed during a traffic stop in 2002, lashed out at Mexico's justice system as Jorge Arroyo Garcia was sentenced to life in prison in California after hiding out in Mexico.

            "Garcia hid and hid behind a system that was very broken," she said.

            John Walsh, host of TV's long-running "America's Most Wanted," which plans to devote Saturday's episode to the Marine case, said the delays and death-penalty compromises needed to get fugitives returned can be heartbreaking for victims' families

            "It's not about revenge. It's not so much about closure. It's about justice," he said.

            Lotstein, the prosecutor's assistant in Phoenix, said the county has agreed to drop the death penalty in a number of cases: "The option we have is absolutely no justice, or partial justice."

            Comment


            • #21
              HARTFORD, Conn. -- A Turkish-born woman convicted along with her son in a multimillion-dollar hedge fund scheme has been ordered deported, officials said Friday.

              Ayferafet Yalincak was ordered removed to her native Turkey following a hearing Wednesday in Hartford, said Susan Eastwood, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Justice Department's immigration review office.

              Yalincak has 30 days to appeal. Telephone messages were left with her attorneys Friday.

              Yalincak was sentenced last March to two years in prison after she pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection with the scheme.

              She completed her prison term in November after getting credit for serving more than 14 months in prison before her sentencing. She is now in the custody of federal immigration officials.

              Her son, Hakan Yalincak, was sentenced last year to 3 1/2 years in prison after being convicted of persuading sophisticated investors to pour millions into a nonexistent hedge fund.

              Prosecutors say he charmed his way into the exclusive world of Greenwich high finance by posing as an heir to a wealthy Turkish family, shuttled counterfeit checks worldwide and brokered deals with a Kuwaiti financier.

              Hakan Yalincak also faces possible deportation. His release date is September 2008.
              ................................................................................................................................................................................................
              Associated Press, Jan 18

              Police officers were taped joking about a dying, homeless Guatemalan immigrant after he was found on the side of a deserted road in their suburban town, a TV station reported.

              "You wanna hear something really funny? ... He's alive," a Bedford police officer tells a sergeant on a taped phone call aired Thursday on WCBS.

              The two go on to marvel "” with the officer chuckling "” that Rene Perez had apparently revived himself temporarily after authorities thought him dead. The station said Perez died an hour after the officers' taped exchange April 28.

              In a phone call to another Bedford sergeant after Perez's death, a Bedford officer sings the title line from the 1966 Left Banke single "Walk Away Renee."

              Chief Chris Menzel defended the department, telling WCBS, "We are not callous or indifferent." He said he could not comment further on the ongoing case.

              Through a translator, Perez's brother, Anival Perez, called the taped conversations disrespectful.

              A police officer in neighboring Mount Kisco is charged with manslaughter in Perez's death and has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors say George Bubaris drove the drunken Perez to Bedford, dealt him a deadly blow to the abdomen and left him to die.

              Perez, 42, had a history of making drunken 911 calls. He called Mount Kisco police complaining of stomach pain on April 28, and police records show Bubaris reported there was no need for further action.

              Lawsuits filed on behalf of Perez's family maintain that Mount Kisco and Bedford made a practice of "dumping" each other's undesirables in the neighboring town. Bedford police had taken Perez into Mount Kisco hours before Bubaris allegedly took him to Bedford, about 40 miles northeast of New York City.
              ................................................................................................................................................................................................
              By KHALED AL-DEEB | Associated Press, Jan 18

              Libya on Friday defended plans to carry out a massive expulsion of illegal immigrants, rejecting criticism from a human rights group that doing so would violate international law.

              Labor officials estimate there are 2 million foreigners in Libya and that only 60,000 of them have work permits and legal visas. Most are Africans who sneak through the deserts into Libya from Sudan, Chad and Niger.

              On Wednesday, the state news agency Jana said authorities were working on the "immediate deportation of all the illegal foreign residents," quoting a member of the national assembly.

              "No resident without a legal visa will be excluded," the report added.

              London-based rights group Amnesty International called on Libya "not to implement what appears to be a rushed decision as it would violate the rights of potentially hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children," it said in a statement Friday.

              Abdel-Moneim al-Lamoushi, a government spokesman, told The Associated Press Friday that the expulsions are legal according to national law, which requires entry and exit visas for foreigners, and he called the decision "final and not to be reconsidered."

              "Libyan tolerance was abused by those immigrants that have been using Libya as a passage to Europe and put Libya in a critical situation in front of the international community," al-Lamoushi said.

              Libya has regularly deported refugees and asylum-seekers in recent years and routinely expels migrants, Amnesty said.

              Comment


              • #22
                3 Die in Fire at Brooklyn Apartment By JOHN ELIGON and ANN FARMER | NY Times, Jan 20

                Three men died Saturday morning after they were overcome by thick black smoke and flames from a fire in the Brooklyn apartment they shared, the Police and Fire Departments said. Two other men, including one who jumped from a window, were in critical condition.

                The cause of the fire, which started shortly before 7 a.m., was believed to be accidental, but the investigation was continuing, according to a fire marshal.

                Merchants and residents in the neighborhood said the apartment, at 7421 18th Avenue in Bensonhurst, had three or four bedrooms and housed seven or eight Guatemalan workers. The apartment did not have smoke detectors, said John Coloe, a deputy assistant fire chief.

                The fire started on the second floor of the two-story tan brick building, which has a 99-cents store on the ground level.

                The fire was mostly contained to the living room area on the second floor, Chief Coloe said. Although the blaze was small, it cut off the exits in the apartment, he added. About 60 firefighters battled the blaze, which broke out at 6:48 a.m. and was put out within an hour, according to a Fire Department spokesman.

                Four men were found unconscious in the front of the apartment, Chief Coloe said.

                "It looked like they were in the process of getting out when they were overcome," Fire Lt. Michael Doda said.

                One of the men was in cardiac arrest and was not breathing when he was found, Chief Coloe said. The man was pronounced dead at Coney Island Hospital, the police said. Three other men were taken to Staten Island University Hospital, where two of them were pronounced dead, the police said. The other man was in critical condition.

                The Fire Department said the three men were taken to the Staten Island hospital instead of other hospitals that were closer because it has a better burn center.

                A fifth man, who was believed to have jumped through a window, suffered cuts and was in critical condition at Lutheran Medical Center, the police said. None of the men were identified by the authorities on Saturday.

                Witnesses said the apartment's other occupants were able to escape through windows in the back of the building. Shortly before 1 p.m., fire marshals escorted three young men who had lived in the apartment to collect their belongings from the charred building.

                The sidewalk in front was littered with glass and stained with blood. Part of the ceiling of the 99-cents store had collapsed, and water had soaked rugs, mattresses and bed frames.

                Adnan Perviaz, 21, a student who lives in an adjacent building, said his father had awakened him after smelling smoke. He said he had opened a closet door "and the smoke started coming in." He added, "I looked down the stairs and there was a lot of smoke. There was thick, black smoke."

                He said he went outside and saw a man jump.

                "There was blood on his cheeks, there was blood on his body; almost his whole body was covered," Mr. Perviaz said. "His right eye was hurt."

                Ahmed Tebet, 39, the owner of New Way Deli and Grocery, which is next door to the burned building, said the men who lived in the apartment often came to his store to buy phone cards, chips, sandwiches and beer. He said they would sometimes have parties at night.

                "They're friendly," Mr. Tebet said. "We have no problems with them."

                The building, which is near Bay Ridge Parkway, is in a neighborhood where many day laborers seek work, residents and workers said.

                "Any given day, you'll see a couple hundred of them," said State Senator Martin J. Golden, a Brooklyn Republican. "They stand outside for employment and are picked up for a host of different types of work."

                The jobs include construction, painting and carpentry, said Mr. Golden, who went to the scene of the fire.

                Emilio Chavez, 30, an immigrant from Guatemala who lives about a block away, said he usually came out about 7 a.m. to look for work. In the winter, he said, he works only about two days a week. When it is warm, he said, he works nearly every day, usually making about $80 per day.

                Mr. Chavez said the four-bedroom apartment where he lives is usually occupied by 9 or 10 men.

                "I worry about fires," he said. "Yes, maybe my apartment catch fire, too."

                A Fire Department spokesman said officials were determining whether the building's owner would receive any citations. Efforts to reach the owner by telephone for comment Saturday were not successful.

                Smoke detectors are required within 15 feet of all rooms used for sleeping, according to Seth Donlin, a spokesman for the city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development.

                Mr. Donlin said his department had listed the top floor of the building as a single-family dwelling. He said the building had no history of violations or complaints.

                The police said it remained unclear whether any residents of the apartment were related.

                Comment


                • #23
                  A NASCAR race car, sponsored by the U.S. Border Patrol. Billboards hundreds of miles from the Rio Grande, promoting a career as a border agent. TV commercials for the federal agency, aired during Dallas Cowboys games.

                  With the Border Patrol undergoing an unprecedented hiring boom, the agency is going to extraordinary lengths to compete with police departments around the country for an unusually small pool of qualified applicants.

                  "We've not done anything this ambitious before," said Assistant Chief Michael Olsen. "Our biggest task, our biggest hurdle, is just getting our message out to parts of the country that maybe didn't know we existed."

                  Previously, the Border Patrol relied heavily on word of mouth and job fairs to find recruits. But it has been forced to get creative to compete with local and state agencies, including the expanding Texas Department of Public Safety, that are mimicking the corporate world with hiring incentives such as take-home cars, paid internships and five-figure signing bonuses.

                  The multimillion-dollar recruiting campaign was also prompted by a shortage of qualified candidates, blamed on a number of factors. Among them: the strong economy, which can offer jobs that pay more than the Border Patrol's starting salary of about $35,000 to $45,000; the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has reduced the flow of military retirees applying for second careers in law enforcement; and the Border Patrol's own stringent requirements.

                  Too many applicants lack the clean criminal records and good credit required for patrol duty along the border, where bribes are an ever-present temptation.

                  Nationally, only about 3 percent to 5 percent of applicants for law enforcement jobs meet the requirements, according to Jason Abend, executive director for the National Law Enforcement Recruiters Association. Olsen said the Border Patrol finds an average of 1 qualified candidate for every 30 to 40 applicants - a rate as low as 2.5 percent.

                  With politicians demanding more "boots on the ground" to secure the border with Mexico, the Border Patrol is expanding rapidly. It has gone from about 12,000 agents in 2005 to nearly 15,000 now, and wants to reach about 18,000 by the end of the year.

                  To reach recruits, the agency is posting highway billboards far inland, including suburban Salt Lake City, 800 miles north of the U.S.-Mexican border, and is looking into other new corners of the country.

                  Michael E. Douglas, a Border Patrol assistant chief patrol agent in Washington, said a team of eight agents is canvassing about 13 Southern states to look for new hires.

                  "We're going down into the Southeast where we haven't traditionally had a lot of candidates. We are hitting minority groups and trying to make them more aware of who we are," Douglas said.

                  During the 2007 NASCAR Busch Series season, the Border Patrol put its agency name and seal on the No. 28 Chevy in a sponsorship arrangement worth more than $1 million.

                  And under a deal signed in November with the Dallas Cowboys, football fans around the country will be seeing TV commercials reminding them that the agency is hiring.

                  Border Patrol officials are also talking about making a slogan for the agency, one they hope would become as ubiquitous as the Marines' "The few, the proud."

                  Also, the Border Patrol has raised its age limit for new hires to 40 from 37.

                  Douglas said it may take several months to know exactly how successful the department's efforts are.

                  Despite such enticements, recruiting for law enforcement jobs is likely to be a challenge for a while, said Merle Switzer, a consultant and retired law enforcement officer in California.

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    By KHALED AL-DEEB | Associated Press, Jan 18

                    Libya on Friday defended plans to carry out a massive expulsion of illegal immigrants, rejecting criticism from a human rights group that doing so would violate international law.

                    <span class="ev_code_BLUE">Labor officials estimate there are 2 million foreigners in Libya and that only 60,000 of them have work permits and legal visas. Most are Africans who sneak through the deserts into Libya from Sudan, Chad and Niger</span>.

                    On Wednesday, the state news agency Jana said authorities were working on the "immediate deportation of all the illegal foreign residents," quoting a member of the national assembly.

                    "No resident without a legal visa will be excluded," the report added.

                    London-based rights group Amnesty International called on Libya "not to implement what appears to be a rushed decision as it would violate the rights of potentially hundreds of thousands of people, including women and children," it said in a statement Friday.

                    Abdel-Moneim al-Lamoushi, a government spokesman, told The Associated Press Friday that the expulsions are legal according to national law, which requires entry and exit visas for foreigners, and he called the decision "final and not to be reconsidered."

                    "Libyan tolerance was abused by those immigrants that have been using Libya as a passage to Europe and put Libya in a critical situation in front of the international community," al-Lamoushi said.

                    Libya has regularly deported refugees and asylum-seekers in recent years and routinely expels migrants, Amnesty said.

                    Lol last I Know of, Libya is still in Africa too. and I am surprised becuase Libya is has very tight border. but then of course it is very large country and once loop hole is found. there is the weak link.

                    It will be interesting to follow this story to see if in fact the mass deportation will be followed through on.

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      Young men fleeing poverty, joblessness, high prices at home By Paul Schemm & Maggie Michael | Associated Press, Jan 20

                      In this town in one of Egypt's poorest provinces, lavish villas with rooftop swimming pools and escalators tower over mud brick houses. Main streets are named Roma and Milano, and men in traditional Egyptian robes admit to having developed a taste for espresso.

                      Italy looms large in the life of Tatoun. Thousands of the town's young men make the dangerous, illegal journey across the Mediterranean to Italy to flee grinding poverty, high unemployment and rising prices at home.

                      "Everything you see is made out of Italian money," said Khaled Abdel-Salam, gesturing at the concrete and brick structures lining the town's unpaved main street, Milano Street, as he lounged outside one the two buildings he built after working 12 years in Milan.

                      Of Tatoun's 40,000 inhabitants, more than 6,000 are in Italy, about a third of the town's male population, according to the Egyptian Organization for Human Rights.

                      Over the last several years, Italy has become an increasingly common destination for Egyptians; government surveys indicate that young men think they can make more money in Italy than in the oil-rich Persian Gulf states that once beckoned them.

                      It's easy to see the payoff in Tatoun, in Fayoum province southwest of Cairo. Every sign of wealth - from a new private school and a kindergarten to a 13-story building under construction, by far the town's tallest - can be traced to a family whose son made it to Italy.

                      The dangers are clear. In the rough village of Saadiyeen, north of Cairo, Umm Haytham weeps in her crumbling mud brick house as she describes how just weeks earlier her son, Tariq Abdel-Nabi, drowned off the coast of Italy in his attempt to find work.

                      "He saw his friends becoming wealthy and wanted to be like them," she said.

                      The last she heard from Tariq was when he called from the boat, off Egypt, terrified and telling his mother that the smugglers arranging their trip were threatening to stab him and pour acid on his face if he and his companions did not deliver more money.

                      "We were slapping our faces, running back and forth searching for money," said a tearful Umm Haytham, whose husband and sons make about $50 a month as farmers. "We sold his sister's gold and borrowed money and gave it all in the morning to a man who passed by our house."

                      A few weeks later, one of Tariq's friends who had traveled with him called from a Red Cross camp in Italy to say that Tariq had died at sea.

                      Tariq was among 22 people who died in November when two smuggler boats carrying around 150 Egyptians capsized off Italy's southern coast. The next month, another boat sank off Turkey, killing 50 people, half of them Egyptians.

                      The recent deaths underline how Egyptians are still trying to make the dangerous crossing to Europe, particularly Italy, in search of the jobs they can't find at home. Some leave from Egypt's Mediterranean coast, but most travel to Libya to take the shorter sea journey from there.

                      They are part of the wider wave of tens of thousands of migrants from North Africa and Sub-Saharan countries that try to make their way into Europe every year - usually through Spain, Italy, and Malta. Last year, Spain caught some 31,000 illegal migrants trying to reach its Canary Islands, off the West African coast, a frequent steppingstone for reaching mainland Europe.

                      The number of would-be migrants caught on Italy's southern shores rose to more than 22,000 in 2006, up from 2,700 six years earlier, according to the Italian Interior Ministry. Egyptians have made up a significant part of those numbers - with a high of 10,000 in 2005.

                      In response, Italy has stepped up cooperation with Egypt - and with Libya, which has increased its arrests and deportations of migrants crossing its territory. The efforts appear to be having an effect, with Italian authorities reporting the number of Egyptians caught entering its shores fell to around 4,500 in 2006.

                      The recent drop however could also be related to the fact that many Egyptians when caught identify themselves as Iraqis and Palestinians in hopes of gaining asylum.

                      The country's widespread poverty remains a powerful motivator to keep prompting Egyptians to make the dangerous journey.

                      In Tatoun, 19-year-old Walid Abou Zeid is one of those rare residents who can't seem to make it to Italy. Three times he has failed, once spending 12 days in a Libyan prison, another time two days jailed in Alexandria.

                      Despite having already spent $3,600 on his various failed attempts, the taciturn teenager just nods quietly when asked if he will try again.

                      Nearly half of Egypt's 70 million people live on or below the poverty line, according to World Bank figures. Despite recent government economic reforms that have boosted the annual growth rate to 7 percent for the last three years, life for most Egyptians has become worse. Instead of job opportunities, the growth has only brought with it inflation that is putting even basic foodstuffs out of reach.

                      "Employment is dead in Egypt," said Mohammed Ahmed, 24, a college graduate from Tatoun who is heading to Italy for work.

                      "There are people who earn 1,000 euros ($1,450) a day there, they make money from the air," he said. Ahmed is giving up a $160-a-month computer programming job in Cairo, but his trip to Italy will be by a comfortable plane ride, because relatives living there invited him to visit.

                      Once one person from a town makes it, his neighbors follow, using him for advice and contacts, explaining how a single town like Tatoun can have so many young men emigrating and how a particular country, like Italy, becomes a frequent destination. Some 90,000 Egyptians are believed to have gone to Italy illegally over the past decade, according to the Egyptian government.

                      Traditionally, Egyptians have gone to the oil-rich nations of the Persian Gulf to seek their fortunes, and hundreds of thousands still work there. But a 2006 survey of 1,500 young Egyptians by the Egyptian Ministry of Manpower and Emigration found a growing preference for working in Europe over the gulf. Respondents to the survey said that working for a year in Europe was better than a decade in the gulf, where salaries are lower and there is greater competition from Asians.

                      Hossam Mohammed, 43, left a teaching job in Yemen in 1990 to wash dishes in a bar in Italy. He hasn't been back to Italy since 1992 - fearing the sea journey - but his brothers and their sons still live there.

                      He has seen the transformation Italy has had in his hometown. "There were no tall buildings before people went to Italy," he said - adding that he still likes his Italian coffee.

                      "My brother brought back a little machine to make it," he said. "I like a cup in the morning and then the evening."

                      Abdel-Salam, who still recalls with horror his five days crammed in the stinking hold of a fishing boat, says he would never make the illegal sea journey to Italy again and has put his children in a newly built private language school so they can one day get a job in Cairo.

                      "We are doing all these things so they won't have to travel," he said.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        By AHMED AL-HAJ | Associated Press, Jan 19

                        The bodies of nearly 50 Africans trying to immigrate washed up on Yemen's shores Saturday after their boat capsized in the treacherous waters of the Gulf of Aden.

                        The 35 survivors told authorities in Yemen that at least 135 people, all Somalis and Ethiopians, were crammed into the rickety boat, indicating that dozens more may have lost their lives.

                        The search continued for more bodies along the beaches of Yemen's Abyan province, said an official on condition of anonymity because he was not allowed to speak to the press.

                        Hundreds of Africans die every year trying to reach Yemen, many of whom drown or are killed by pirates and smugglers in the dangerous waters separating Somalia and the Arabian peninsula.

                        The Africans that have survived the journey register with the U.N. refugee agency and stay in refugee camps in Yemen, while others take jobs in the cities as laborers for less than a $1 a day.

                        The wave of refugees to the poorest country in the Arab world shows no sign of abating as violence continues to rock Somalia, despite Ethiopia's December 2006 intervention in the country to support the internationally recognized government.

                        In 2007, Yemeni authorities said about 5,000 illegal Ethiopian and Somali migrants arrived in Yemen, while nearly 400 died along the way. Out of 88,000 registered refugees in Yemen, about 84,000 are Somali, according to the UNHCR.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          By TIM MARTIN | Associated Press, Jan 21

                          LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan will no longer let illegal immigrants get driver's licenses, a practice just seven other states continue to allow.

                          Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land, who oversees the motor vehicle department, announced the new policy Monday and said it takes effect Tuesday.

                          The new policy also prohibits people who are legal but not permanent U.S. residents from getting licenses. Legislation to allow those on temporary work or student visas to get licenses is pending in the Legislature.

                          The change is aimed at complying with an opinion issued last month by Attorney General Mike Cox, who said granting licenses to illegal immigrants is inconsistent with federal law. Opinions by the attorney general's office are legally binding on state agencies and officers unless reversed by the courts.

                          The new policy applies to first-time applicants for a Michigan driver's license or identification card. Updated procedures for renewals will be released soon.

                          "This is one more tool in our initiative to bolster Michigan's border and document security," Land said in a statement. "It also puts Michigan's procedure in line with those of most other states."

                          Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah and Washington do not require drivers to prove legal status to obtain a license. Michigan borders Canada and contains some of the nation's busiest boundary crossings.

                          Driver's licenses are among several hot-button issues surrounding the debate over illegal immigration. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer last year proposed allowing illegal immigrants to get licenses, but withdrew the idea under heavy criticism.

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            By DENISE LAVOIE | Associated Press, Jan 21

                            BOSTON -- More than two decades ago, Frank Enwonwu got caught smuggling five ounces of heroin into the United States from his homeland in Nigeria. He admitted his mistake and readily agreed to work as an informant, believing the U.S. had promised to keep him safe.

                            He went on to pursue his share of the American dream, driving a cab and training as a nurse's aide _ until a change in law in 1996 retroactively made him liable to be deported for his drug conviction, despite his work to help the government.

                            Now, he weeps in a room at a homeless shelter he shares with his 13-year-old son, fearful that any day he could be sent back to Nigeria to be tortured or killed as drug dealers with long memories seek retribution for his work as an informant.

                            "Trust me, no one there has forgotten what I did _ even after 22 years. I'll be killed there before I even have the ability to see daylight," he said.

                            Enwonwu, 58, has spent about five of the last 11 years in detention while fighting his deportation order. His legal appeals all but exhausted, he now is asking to be spared on humanitarian grounds.

                            "I have a little boy who did not grow up with me because of all the time I have spent in detention. He needs me," said Enwonwu, who is separated from his wife and has custody of the teen.

                            Enwonwu is under a final deportation order and could be taken into custody and deported without notice.

                            "This is a man who assisted the United States government as an informant, helping them prosecute drug-related crimes, and in so doing, he has put his life at complete risk. We believe that creates an obligation on the part of the United States to protect him," said Meetali Jain, an attorney at the American University Washington College of Law International Human Rights Law Clinic.

                            Enwonwu admits he committed a crime when he brought drugs into the United States, but claims he was tricked by a Nigerian military officer who offered to buy him a plane ticket if he would show the man around Boston, where he had attended Tufts University in the 1970s.

                            The night of their flight, Enwonwu said, other military officers ordered him to carry two packets of heroin. He was arrested at Boston's Logan International Airport after Customs officials found the drug.

                            Within hours of his arrest, Enwonwu said, federal drug agents asked him to participate in a sting to catch the dealers who were to come to Boston from New York to pick up the heroin. Enwonwu agreed, and two men were arrested. Their boss in Ohio was also prosecuted. All three were from Nigeria.

                            In the mid-1980s, Nigeria had become a major transit point for Asian heroin and South American cocaine being smuggled to Europe and North America. The transit networks expanded and became highly organized, prompting U.S. pressure on Nigerian authorities to crack down on the trade, which Nigerian police say frequently involves gang killings.

                            Enwonwu worked for the Drug Enforcement Administration for 10 months, providing the names of suspected drug dealers in Nigeria who U.S. officials believed were running drugs to the United States themselves or through couriers. He also supplied the names of Nigerians living in the United States who he had learned were involved with drugs.

                            Enwonwu said the DEA promised him he would not be deported and would be protected from the drug dealers he had ratted on.

                            "They knew how dangerous the drug lords in Nigeria were and they told me I wasn't going back to Nigeria," Enwonwu said. "Based on that promise, I continued my cooperation with them."

                            The DEA acknowledges it paid him $1,600 for his work as an informant, but Herbert Lemon Jr., the DEA agent who Enwonwu claims made the promises, said he never told Enwonwu he would not be deported.

                            "Absolutely not. I (didn't) have the authority to do it," Lemon, who is now retired from the DEA, told The Associated Press. "That just didn't happen."

                            Lemon said he did tell federal prosecutors that Enwonwu had cooperated, which the agent believes spared Enwonwu from serving jail time. He got a suspended sentence and probation on the heroin charge.

                            "I think that's the benefit he received for his helping the government," Lemon said.

                            Lemon said he feels badly for Enwonwu's wife and son who may be left behind in the United States, but said he does not fault the U.S. government for now moving to deport Enwonwu.

                            "He committed a criminal act, and as such, he has to face the consequences," he said.

                            Enwonwu came close to being spared deportation in 2005, when U.S. District Judge William Young found the government had a "constitutional duty" to protect Enwonwu.

                            "The Constitution simply cannot permit (the government) to endanger the life of an alien, promise to protect him, and then cast him aside like refuse when he is no longer useful," Young wrote.

                            However, Young was unable to issue a ruling in the case because a federal law, the REAL ID Act, made it more difficult for immigrants to get amnesty and also stripped federal district courts of jurisdiction in deportation cases.

                            Since that ruling, repeated efforts to have Enwonwu's deportation order reversed by a federal appeals court have failed.

                            Enwonwu claims that while working for the DEA, he also worked as an informant for the Immigration and Naturalization Service, the predecessor agency to Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

                            Paula Grenier, a spokeswoman for ICE, declined to comment on Enwonwu's appeal or his claim that he worked for ICE.

                            "The case has been presented to both administrative and judicial courts, and the matter has been decided upon by a judge," Grenier said. "The next step in his case is his removal from the U.S."

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              In response, Italy has stepped up cooperation with Egypt - and with Libya, which has increased its arrests and deportations of migrants crossing its territory. The efforts appear to be having an effect, with Italian authorities reporting the number of Egyptians caught entering its shores fell to around 4,500 in 2006.

                              Yep

                              Italy does not play with this. Standing joke is that if yu come by morning , by the afternoon you are on a plane back to your country.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Airports Fingerprint Foreign Travelers By DENISE LAVOIE | Associated Press, Jan 22

                                BOSTON -- As a foreign traveler, Punit Pawar is used to the security when he flies into the U.S., so he barely noticed Tuesday when he was asked to put his 10 fingers on a digital scanner as part of an enhanced security system rolling out at airports across the country.

                                "It didn't take much of my time, so it didn't bother me," said Pawar, a citizen of India and a student at Boston's Northeastern University. "I'm OK with it, if this is what they need to do for security."

                                Since 2004, nonresidents traveling internationally have been required to allow airport personnel to scan their two index fingers at airports as part of a program called US-VISIT. But now, foreign travelers will be asked to scan all 10 fingers, an enhancement the U.S. Department of Homeland Security hopes will help officials more closely monitor watch lists of suspected terrorists, criminals and immigration violators.

                                Logan Airport, where two of the passenger planes involved in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks took off, became the third airport to use 10-finger scanners last week. Dulles Airport, serving Washington, D.C., began using the devices in November, while Atlanta's airport began using the new system this month.

                                Seven other airports are scheduled to start using the new system by the end of February, including Chicago O'Hare, San Francisco, Houston, Miami, Detroit, Orlando and New York's Kennedy.

                                By the end of the year, the devices are expected to be up and running in all of the nation's international airports, as well as seaports and border points.

                                Robert Mocny, director of the US-VISIT program, said the new device scans fingerprints from travelers and within a matter of seconds matches them against more than 3.2 million fingerprints of people in FBI and Department of Defense databases. Mocny said going from two fingerprints to 10 improves matching accuracy and reduces the number of false matches.

                                "By having this additional data, the machine will be able to say with more certainty that this is the person, this is a match," Mocny said after officials used the new scanners on international travelers arriving at Logan Tuesday.

                                Steven Farquharson, director of field operations for the Boston office of Homeland Security, said that if a traveler's prints match those in a database, the traveler will be taken to a separate area of the airport and questioned.

                                International passengers arriving at Logan on Tuesday were asked to place their right four fingers, then their right thumb, their left four fingers, then their left thumb, on a small, square scanner. A camera snapped a digital photograph of their faces. Several couples traveling together completed the process in about three minutes.

                                Pawar said he did not find the new system intrusive or time-consuming.

                                "I don't think it was too private," he said. "I don't see any problem with it, if you haven't done anything wrong."

                                About 2,000 international passengers a day will be scanned at Logan.

                                Comment

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