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Border roundup: BP agent killed, Southwest faces enviro threats

A look at border and immigration news from the past week:

Border shooting

Early Tuesday morning, Border Patrol Agent Nicholas Ivie was shot and killed. Another agent injured in the same incident has been treated and released from the hospital.

The investigation is still in early stages, according to federal and local law enforcement who are exploring all possibilities including friendly fire. Radio Sonora reports that the two suspects arrested by the Mexican Army hours after the shooting are young men from Agua Prieta who're now being held in Hermosillo. 

Agent Ivie is survived by his wife Christy and two daughters, four and one. Ivie's family described him as a hero who always wanted to be in law enforcement. A community vigil was held Thursday evening in Naco and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, who ordered all Department of Homeland Security flags to be flown at half mast, will meet with Agent Ivie's family Friday. The family has scheduled funeral services in Sierra Vista for Monday morning

Border law and order

Gov. Jan Brewer is appealing the hold placed on part of SB 1070 provision that criminalizes harboring or transporting illegal immigrants. The hold was placed by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals on Sept. 5 in response to motions by civil rights groups against this measure and the "papers please" provisions; the "papers please" provisions are now in effect though the appeals and hearings process continues.

Nogales Border Patrol agents seized heroin valued at over $97,000 at the Interstate 19 checkpoint Wednesday, according to a CBP press release. The suspect, a Mexican national, faces criminal charges and the 7.15 pounds of heroin will be turned over to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Suspected Sinaloa cartel member Jose Sanchez Villalobos faces federal grand jury charges for building and overseeing two "sophisticated" tunnels used by drug smugglers between San Diego and Tijuana.

Climate and environment

New regional environmental studies raise concerns about the safety of groundwater in Southwest aquifers and the regional effects of climate change, Fronteras Desk reports. The U.S. Geological Survey shows "dangerously high" levels of arsenic and nitrate in aquifers through Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Colorado and southern California. Scientists from the University of Arizona and the U.S. Geological Survey were among the organizations represented by a study that predicts climate change will make the southwest warmer and drier, causing massive droughts and tree die offs.

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Ivie family photo

Sources