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Border Roundup: Border life examined, presidential plan to be unveiled

Law enforcement

Fernanda Santos described daily life for Border Patrol from rural desert patrols to after hours dormitory life while Michel Marizco talked to law enforcement and officials about how security success is measured along the border.

Nogales Port Director Guadalupe Ramirez held a press conference Tuesday about a seven-ton marijuana seizure made on Jan. 15 at the Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales. The seizure of the 600 bales (estimated value up to $12 million) occurred during the inspection of a 1994 International tractor-trailer on January 15. The driver, a 26-year-old man from Nogales, Sonora, was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Agents at New Mexico's Lordsburg station also seized six tons earlier this week, they announced Friday. Two Mexican nationals were arrested in connection with the 13,000 pounds of marijuana (estimated value $10.9 million).

State and federal officials will take over law enforcement work in two cities on key drug trafficking routes in the Mexican state of Durango, Gomez Palacio and Lerdo, after over 150 local police officers were arrested for suspected ties to organized crimes.

Economy

With a mandatory employment verification system up for discussion as part of comprehensive immigration reform, Jude Joffe-Block took a look at lessons learned about E-Verify in Arizona. Going into effect in 2008, Arizona was the first state to include all employers in its E-Verify mandate. While a third of new hires may not even be going through the system, it is also known for producing both false positive and false negative results, an issue that could possibly be fixed by costly upgrades. Yet E-Verify may provide peace of mind to employers if they're ever audited by ICE.

Mayors from cities on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border told Congress that the way to improve their economies and diplomatic ties lies through immigration reform and investing in infrastructure at ports of entry.

Politics and policy

President Obama's proposal for comprehensive immigration reform will include a path to citizenship and be unveiled Tuesday in Las Vegas, the White House said.

Connor Radnovich reviewed imigration advocates' reactions to President Obama's inaugural speech and Matthew Longdon talks lawmakers and applicants to the federal deferred action program for young illegal immigrants who are pressuring Gov. Jan Brewer to rescind her order banning the Motor Vehicle Division from issuing driver's licenses to approved applicants. At least two bills addressing these driver's licenses have been introduced and another is under discussion. Brewer's decision is also being challenged in federal court.

Support TucsonSentinel.com today, because a smarter Tucson is a better Tucson.

Peter O'Dowd looked into the role of Arizona politicians John McCain and Jeff Flake in the Gang of Eight, a group of bipartisan Senate lawmakers working on immigration reform and Julian Aguilar looked at the positions that politicans along the border are taking in the discussion of gun control issues.

TucsonSentinel.com's original reporting and curation of border and immigration news is generously supported in part by a grant from the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Nogales Port Director Guadalupe Ramirez talks to reporters about the Jan. 15 seizure of more than 14,000 pounds of pot (600 bales estimated value up to $12 million) discovered during the inspection of a 1994 International tractor-trailer at Mariposa Port of Entry in Nogales at a Jan. 22 press conference.

Border Patrol Activity

As reported by U.S. Customs and Border Protection press releases:

Friday, Jan. 18

After a canine alert, Wilcox Station agents at the State Route 90 checkpoint arrested a male Mexican national when they discovered 2,900 pounds of marijuana (estimated value $1,450,000) hidden in the semi-tractor trailer he was driving.

Ajo Station agents discovered 86 bundles of marijuana (almost 1,600 pounds, estimated value approximately $800,000) in a GMC Yukon hidden in brush near Pia Oik Village.

Saturday, Jan. 19

Yuma Sector agents found 131 pounds in three abandoned backpacks in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge

Yuma Sector agents found 305 pounds abandoned south of Gila Bend

Monday, Jan. 21

Yuma Sector agents arrested seven suspects in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge and seized 285 pounds of marijuana.

Wednesday, Jan. 23

Yuma Sector agents in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge arrested a group of 14 suspects and seized 452 pounds of marijuana (estimated value $226,000) on Wednesday.

Yuma Sector agents also arrested two male Mexican nationals in the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. The men had "equipment commonly used by smuggling organizations to scout and then guide larger groups through the area."

Sources: