Sunday, April 10, 2011

All Quiet on the Southern Front?

According to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, everything is hunky-dory on America's southern border. In her public appearances and speeches, Napolitano consistently claims that things along our side of the U.S.-Mexico border are "safer than ever" and that "spillover violence" is simply "a widespread misperception." In a recent Wall Street Journal op-ed column she co-authored with Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, Napolitano claimed, "The Southwest Border Is Open for Business." Unfortunately, too much of the business is in drugs, murder and mayhem -- and business is good.

"Illegal immigration is decreasing. Deportations are increasing. And crime rates have gone down." Those oft-repeated assertions by the Obama administration make a nice sound bite, but like so many other things coming from the O-Team, the facts don't square with the rhetoric. As usual, there's more to the story -- and very little of it is being covered by the so-called mainstream media.

Less than 24 hours after Napolitano and Locke boasted about how "major investments to renovate and expand outdated ports of entry" have improved cross-border trade and "bolstered security," two American citizens were murdered while waiting to come into the U.S. at the San Ysidro port of entry, south of San Diego. The incident was buried by the potentates of the press, but Fox News correspondent William La Jeunesse reported the victims were killed by a lone male gunman, who calmly "walked through the lanes of traffic and boldly unloaded five rounds from a 9-mm. handgun." Apparently, the Obama administration's "improvements" on the border do not include long-range, high-resolution cameras capable of identifying a perpetrator just a few yards into Mexico.

In the past four months, two federal law officers have been murdered by heavily armed criminals. Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed 13 miles deep in Arizona on the night of Dec. 14-15. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Special Agent Jaime Zapata was assassinated south of Monterrey, Mexico, on Feb. 15. Napolitano offers reassurance by throwing out numbers. She says federal agents "seized 81 percent more currency, 25 percent more drugs and 47 percent more weapons" last year than they did during the final year of the Bush administration. She also contends that apprehensions of illegal aliens "have dropped by 36 percent over the past two years to less than a third of its all-time high."

The National Border Patrol Council, a union representing Border Patrol agents, isn't buying into the numbers game. In a statement posted March 25, the NBPC said: "Mexico is hemorrhaging violence and we are being hit with the splatter. The U.S.-Mexico border is unsafe and to say anything else is not true."

Auditors at the U.S. Government Accountability Office also maintain that Napolitano's numbers don't add up. According to the congressional bean counters, "over the last three years, apprehensions on federal lands (820 miles of the 2,000-mile border) have not kept pace with Border Patrol estimates." The GAO reports the number of "illegal entries" in 2009 was three times higher than the number of apprehensions.

Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County, Ariz., agrees. When our Fox News' "War Stories" team interviewed him for a documentary titled "The Third Front," he described the situation along his 82-mile stretch of the U.S.-Mexico boundary as "under siege." Last week, Dever explained how the Department of Homeland Security cooks the books and why drug, gun and money stats are up while apprehensions are down. He has told his outgunned and outnumbered deputies that the Border Patrol's mission is "not to catch anyone, arrest anyone. Their job was to set up posture, to intimidate people, to get them to go back."

All of this pales in comparison with charges now being investigated by Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, ranking member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. They want to know whether the Department of Justice is complicit in illegally exporting thousands of firearms being used to threaten and kill American citizens on both sides of the border. According to congressional sources and court documents, weapons recovered after the murders of federal agents Terry and Zapata are linked to a DOJ-approved undercover operation dubbed "Fast and Furious."

Several current and former federal agents allege that the operation began in 2010 as a way to "take down" a major cartel and that it all went seriously awry. One congressional investigator asserts that the DOJ "all but ordered" licensed firearms dealers to "facilitate" the sale of guns to "known and suspected criminals who were illegally moving the weapons across the border." If these charges are borne out, it was all kept secret from Mexican President Felipe Calderon -- as he wages war against drug lords, who have killed nearly 35,000 of his countrymen.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder promises that his inspector general will "fully investigate the matter." And this week in San Fernando, Mexico -- just 50 miles from Texas -- authorities found 59 "freshly buried bodies in mass graves." They were apparently all passengers on a bus that was hijacked March 25. All quiet on our southern front, indeed.


'What about my family rights?' Father's despair as appeal court refuses to deport failed asylum seeker who killed his daughter

A father made an impassioned plea for justice yesterday after a last-ditch attempt to deport his daughter’s killer ended in failure. Paul Houston’s 12-year-old daughter Amy was knocked down and left to die trapped under the car driven by illegal immigrant Aso Mohammed Ibrahim.

But the Court of Appeal dismissed an attempt to overturn two earlier decisions allowing Ibrahim, 33, to stay in Britain because of his ‘right to a family life’.

As the judges announced their verdict, a clearly distressed Mr Houston shouted across the court: ‘My Lords, what about my right to a family? Amy was my child.’

Later, he told the Daily Mail: ‘I had to say something, even if they didn’t reply. Amy was my world, my only child and she had such a bright future.

‘By allowing him to stay, we are rewarding him for his criminal action. He claims that to be sent home would take away his right to family life. But what about mine? What about Amy’s right to life?’

Mr Houston, 41, an engineer from Darwen, Lancashire, has battled for nearly eight years for Ibrahim – who was driving while disqualified and without insurance – to be thrown out of Britain.

The failed asylum-seeker served four months in prison but launched legal action to stay in the UK. He claimed sending him home to Iraq would breach his right to a ‘private and family life’ under the Human Rights Act as he had fathered two children here. The Home Office case that he should be deported went before the judges yesterday, leading to the heart-breaking ruling.

Mr Houston added: ‘They had the opportunity to stand up for hard-working people, the people who pay their taxes and show the world and the country that the Human Rights Act isn’t just about asylum-seekers, criminals and terrorists but the average man. ‘But they let me down and didn’t do that.’

Amy was knocked down by Ibrahim in November 2003 as she walked to buy a music CD near her home in Blackburn. The Iraqi Kurd fled, leaving Amy crying out in pain under his Rover. Hours later, her parents, now divorced, made the decision to turn off her life-support machine.

At yesterday’s hearing, Lord Justice Sullivan and Lord Justice Gross said there had been ‘fatal flaws’ in the way the case was presented but no ‘error of law’. They questioned why the Home Office had not acted to deport Ibrahim for six years, giving him time to create a ‘family life’.

The judges added that officials should have argued for permanent deportation because of his crimes. Instead, they asked for his temporary ‘removal’ to Iraq where he could re-apply for UK citizenship.

Ibrahim arrived in Britain hidden in the back of a lorry in 2001. His application for asylum was refused and an appeal in 2002 failed. After Amy’s death, he served time after admitting driving while disqualified and failing to stop after an accident. He has since racked up criminal convictions, including more driving offences and harassment.

Ibrahim also started a relationship with Christina Richardson and they had two children, Harry, four, and Zara, three. Immigration Minister Damian Green said the latest ruling was ‘extremely disappointing’. He added the issues raised by the ‘tragic case’ could be considered by a commission on human rights law which will be set up later this year. The outcome will also add to pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron over a pre-election pledge to abolish the Human Rights Act.

Mr Houston said that he may go to the European Court of Human Rights if eligible for legal aid. He added: ‘Me and my daughter are victims in this. If they can’t protect the innocent and vulnerable people of society, there’s no point in the justice system.’


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