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In 1986, the San Diego Border Patrol sector accounted for approximately one-third of all apprehensions along the U.S.-Mexico border. Today, it accounts for only a small fraction.
How did the region go from one of the busiest sectors for illegal border crossings to one of the most secure? In our latest edition of “Underreported,” The Daily Signal visits the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego to find out.
The border between the U.S. and Mexico is a dangerous, deadly place — a fact that often goes underreported for political reasons. Here are five border horror stories that the mainstream media doesn’t report.
1. “Rape trees”
Human smugglers ritualistically rape the women and young girls they’re supposed to be helping. Once migrants reach south Texas, smugglers will take them on a 2-3 day hike in immense heat to avoid Border Patrol checkpoints and reach a stash house. During these hikes, smugglers will often rape the women and tie a garment, such as a bra, from the victim to a nearby tree. Police and federal agents call these trees “rape trees.”
2. Border Patrol often finds the half-eaten remains of dead migrants
Authorities routinely find the dead bodies of migrants in The Rio Grande Sector of Texas and in the Tucson Sector of Arizona. In one Texas county, the remains of 552 migrants were discovered in a 10-year period. The Ajo area of the Tucson Sector also sees a large number of bodies discovered. Though these incidents have been reported, they are often not included in current discussions about border security or the pros and cons of changing aspects of border security.
3. Migrants who cross the border without permission from a Mexican cartel are subject to brutal violence
Much of Mexico is controlled by violent drug cartels, and if migrants pass through their territory without permission they risk violence and sexual assault. In 2015, an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who passed through Sinaloa Cartel territory was intercepted by cartel members. He was severely beaten and sodomized with a wooden object.
4. There are mass graves of unidentified migrants in Texas
Several mass graves of unidentified illegal immigrants were uncovered in Brooks County, Texas. Many of the bodies were buried two to a single trash bag.
5. Families in Central America often put their daughters on birth control before sending them on their journey because it’s expected they will be raped
It’s an open secret that women and young girls are routinely raped by smugglers, so much so that mothers put their daughters on birth control in preparation for the journey. The Huffington Post reports that 80 percent of female migrants are raped or sexually assaulted on the journey from Central America to the U.S.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions told Fox News’s Bill O’Reilly this week that illegal border crossings “are down 60 percent, just because of President Trump’s strong leadership.”
Is anyone surprised? This is what happens when you actually bother to enforce the rule of law.
Furthermore, Trump’s immigration crackdown is likely saving the lives of women and children. In Central America, women and children were told they would be granted amnesty by Obama if they could make it to the United States. This created a huge surge of women and unaccompanied children trying to escape to the U.S. only to be victimized, raped, and left for dead by their smugglers. Trump’s win has since discouraged that practice, if not eliminated it completely.
See what else Sessions had to say below, including what he plans to do about America’s second largest immigration problem: sanctuary cities.
The first payment for President Donald Trump’s long-promised border wall will be $1.5 billion, said Mick Mulvaney, the director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Mulvaney spoke to reporters Wednesday about the Trump administration’s next proposed budget that would slash more than a quarter of total funding from the State Department, primarily in foreign aid, and provide a 10 percent budget hike for the Pentagon.
The Trump budget proposal also increases funding for the Department of Homeland Security by 6 percent, Mulvaney told reporters, in a briefing that was embargoed until after midnight.
“This is an America-first budget,” Mulvaney said.
He noted the president’s campaign promises and added, “We turned those words into numbers.”
The budget proposal would essentially divest taxpayers from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which runs National Public Radio and the Public Broadcasting Service.
“We proposed ending funding,” he said. “It’s an elimination, but you’ll see an amount in the budget, some amount of money that is necessary for us to unwind our involvement with the [Corporation for Public Broadcasting.]”
The budget blueprint—set for release at 7 a.m. EST Thursday—deals only with discretionary spending. So, while Mulvaney says the spending plan doesn’t add to the federal deficit, the White House doesn’t have a projection as to when or if the budget could be balanced over the next decade.
The U.S. government is projected to spend $4 trillion next year—two-thirds mandatory spending going to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and interest on the national debt. This spending will reportedly stay in place.
Mulvaney further explained individual departments and agencies would determine the budget line items in a proposal to be released in May.
Among other things, that May document will explain how much the government will spend over the next decade. Regarding the wall, Mulvaney said:
The next question will be how many miles of wall will that build. We don’t know the answer to that question because we haven’t settled on construction types. We haven’t settled on where we are going to start. I think the funding provides for a couple of different pilot cases, different kinds of barriers as we try to find the most cost-effective, the safest, and also the most effective border protections. They may be different in different areas. So, the $1.5 billion allows us to start that program. We come along with additional funding, $2.6 billion in 2018. Obviously, as we get to that full budget in May, you’ll also start seeing some projections for the 10-year window.
The $54 billion increase boosts the military budget to $603 billion, and it will be paid for through cuts to foreign aid.
“There is no question, this is a hard power budget. It is not a soft power budget,” Mulvaney said. “That was done intentionally. The president very clearly wants to send a message to our allies and our potential adversaries that this is a strong, powerful administration. So, you are seeing money move from soft power programs, such as foreign aid, into hard power programs. That’s what our allies can expect. That’s what our adversaries can expect.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is threatening a government shutdown if funding for a border wall is included in a must-pass government spending bill.
“If Republicans insist on inserting poison pill riders such as defunding Planned Parenthood, building a border wall, or starting a deportation force, they will be shutting down the government and delivering a severe blow to our economy,” Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement, according to Bloomberg.
Funding for the federal government will run out during the last week of April and in order to avoid a government shutdown, Congress must pass a spending bill by April 28.
In 2006, Schumer was among 26 Democrats who voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006 that was passed by both chambers of Congress and signed by President George W. Bush on Oct. 26, 2006.
The goal of the Secure Fence Act was to “protect the American people,” and “make our borders more secure,” said Bush in a statement.
A new letter signed by Schumer said that provisions such as funding for a border wall should not be included in the appropriations bill.
“We believe it would be inappropriate to insist on the inclusion of such funding in a must-pass appropriations bill that is needed for the Republican majority in control of the Congress to avert a government shutdown so early in President [Donald] Trump’s administration,” the letter said.
The letter was directed to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Sen. Thad Cochran, R-Miss., chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.
In addition to Schumer, the letter was signed by Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Patty Murray, D-Wash.; Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.; and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.
Sixty votes are needed to pass the bill in the Senate. Since there are 52 Republican senators, McConnell will need at least eight Democrat votes.
“We are also concerned with reports that there may be effort to include funding for a very expensive new wall along the southern border with Mexico and a ‘deportation force,’” the letter stated.
Specific concerns highlighted in the letter included the cost of the border wall, the effectiveness of the border wall, and the lack of specifics from the Trump administration on the wall.
Schumer has previously spoken critically of threatening government shutdowns.
In 2013, Schumer spoke against Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Cruz’s efforts to, according to Schumer, “hold the American people hostage until everyone agrees with his view.”
In 2013, Cruz tried to block funding for Obamacare in a must-pass spending bill, resulting in a partial government shutdown.
“He wants to hold the cancer patient hostage who won’t get [National Institutes of Health] treatments if the government shuts down,” Schumer said of Cruz, adding:
He wants to throw the construction worker out of work who is doing a job that is federally funded and won’t be funded if the government shuts down. He wants to tell the recipients of Social Security that they may not get their checks if there aren’t enough people at the centers to send those checks and make sure they get to the right place, because he wants to shut the government down.
Dan Holler, spokesman for Heritage Action for America, the lobbying affiliate of The Heritage Foundation, told The Daily Signal in an email that Schumer’s double standard should send a message to the American people.
“What a difference a decade makes,” Holler said. “Sen. Schumer’s refusal to provide funding for a law he previously supported is not surprising but it is revealing. Schumer and his colleagues seem intent on resisting President Trump even if it means flip-flopping on past positions and fighting against the very votes that delivered a decisive outcome in November.”