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59,017 “Other Than Mexican” Illegal Aliens Apprehended in 2010, including 663 “Aliens from Special Interest Countries”

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Washington, DC — March 9, 2011

Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and prosecutes government corruption, announced today that it has obtained new documents from U.S. Customs and Border Protection detailing FY 2010 apprehension statistics for illegal alien smugglers and illegal aliens from countries considered to be a high threat to the United States because of their suspected ties to terrorism.
Among the highlights from the documents, obtained by Judicial Watch pursuant to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request originally filed on January 26, 2011:

  • U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 463,382 individuals smuggled across the border, including 8,905 smugglers. (3,027 of the smugglers apprehended were deemed “deportable.”)
  • U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 59,017 “Other Than Mexican” illegal aliens through October 7, 2010.
  • Among the nations represented in apprehension statistics are the four countries currently on the State Department’s list of “State Sponsors of Terrorism,” Cuba (712), Iran (14), Syria (5) and Sudan (5), as well as Somalia (9), Afghanistan (9), Pakistan (37), Saudi Arabia (5) and Yemen (11).
  • Overall, U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 663 “Aliens from Special Interest Countries.” These countries are deemed “special interest” because of their suspected ties to terrorism.
  • The countries yielding the highest “Other Than Mexican” apprehensions include: Guatemala (18,406), El Salvador (13,723), and Honduras (13,580).

(U.S. Border Patrol estimates that three out of every four illegal aliens who cross the border evade apprehension.)Press reports thrust the issue of suspected terrorists crossing the border into the spotlight in May 2010 when the Department of Homeland Security issued an alert to authorities in Texas to be on the lookout for a member of the Somali-based terrorist group Al Shabaab, who was suspected of hatching a plot to cross into the U.S. through Mexico. The warning followed an indictment unsealed earlier that month in a Texas federal court accusing a Texas Somali man of running a “large-scale smuggling enterprise” charged with bringing hundreds of Somalis across the Mexican border. Many of these illegal aliens were suspected of having ties to terrorist organizations. However, until now, the Obama administration offered little information regarding the overall scope of this growing national security problem.“We should not be surprised if terrorists take advantage of our porous borders in light of the Obama administration’s lax approach to border security,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “When you have an administration that pushes illegal alien amnesty, permits illegal alien sanctuary policies, and attacks states like Arizona for seeking to enforce the rule of law, it sends a signal to our enemies to cross the border illegally and to do their worst. The Obama administration continues to allow our borders to spiral out of control. These numbers are simply astonishing. Our country cannot secure our borders soon enough!”

Now that a federal agent has been murdered by a drug gang in Mexico, the Obama Administration promises to “look into” the crime-infested nation’s policy banningU.S. law enforcement officers from carrying weapons during official missions.That, of course, means that the U.S. government deploys federal agents intoMexico’s most violent regions unarmed. This may seem inconceivable considering that heavily armed drug cartels have taken over chunks of the country and Uncle Sam must send its overwhelmed government help to combat the growing crisis.In the last few years more than 34,000 murders have been associated with drug cartels and in 2010 serious crime connected to illicit narcotics operations hit record levels in scale and brutality. More than 13,000 people were murdered across Mexicoin disturbing and cruel ways not commonly seen in previous years, according to a report by a major newspaper in a border state. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton actually compared the drug-related violence in Mexico to a Colombia-style insurgency that devastated that South American nation a few decades ago.Earlier this week the ruthless Zetas cartel ambushed U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents stationed at the American Embassy in Mexico City as part of a human smuggling and border security enforcement task force. A 32-year-old special agent, Jaime Zapata, was murdered and another, Victor Avila, was shot twice in the leg. The men were traveling on a rural highway in an armored sports utility vehicle.In the aftermath of the vicious attack, Attorney General Erick Holder vows to look into perhaps changing the policy forbidding American law enforcement officers from carrying guns in Mexico. “We will look at this and we’ll do . . . an analysis of what it is that we need to do to make sure that everybody is as safe down there as we can make them,” Holder said during a news conference this week. Reading between the lines it’s probably best not to hold your breathe.Besides having around 30 ICE agents in Mexico, the U.S. has showered the country with more than $1 billion in the last few years to combat drug violence. The American tax dollars will keep pouring in under a multi-year program (known as theMerida Initiative) that also helps Central American nations, the Dominican Republicand Haiti fight crime. A disproportionate chunk of the cash goes to Mexico, however.

A few months after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton compared drug-related violence in Mexico to an insurgency, she’s praising the country for battling the cartels even though bloodshed remains at an all-time high.The amusing about-face comes amid record levels of drug violence and just days after seven people were murdered in Ciudad Juarez, where the situation is so serious that bullets from shootouts among rival smugglers regularly spill into theU.S. In last week’s incident, drug lords used assault weapons to spray gunfire on a public soccer field.In the meantime, Uncle Sam has showered Mexico with more than $1 billion to combat serious crime associated with illicit narcotics operations, which incidentally hit record levels in scale and brutality in 2010. More than 13,000 people were murdered across Mexico in disturbing and cruel ways not commonly seen in previous years while the U.S. keeps sending cash to deal with the issue.Never the less, Clinton assures that “we are seeing real results on both sides of the border.” During a brief jaunt to Mexico this week, Madame Secretary commended our southern neighbor for combating the drug cartels and called Mexican President Felipe Calderon’s leadership “very courageous.” That “courageous” leadership is one of the reasons why we are making some important gains, according to Clinton, who failed to offer any concrete examples.After all, Clinton told her Mexican counterpart (Patricia Espinosa) that “we are part of the same family, we share the same land as our common home and our children will inherit a common future.” The contributions that Mexicans have made are a “fundamental part of the fabric of the United Sates,” Clinton said during the schmooze fest in Guanajuato this week.Sounds like Clinton was making amends for rattling Mexican officials by comparing the country’s drug cartels to a Colombia-style insurgency that devastated that South American nation a few decades ago. Offended Mexican government officials rejected the notion, claiming that the only similarities are a high demand for drugs in theU.S.

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