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Roundup: News from & about the border region

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The Washington Post reviewed how both candidates addressed - or didn't address - topics including immigration during the debates.

Law and order and technology

New Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck says he will continue his predecessor's successful policy of reaching out to minority communities, including illegal immigrants, to build public safety and avoid community disenfranchisement in a city with the second largest police force in the country and a population that's nearly half Hispanic.

A "deteriorating network of more than 12,800 ground sensors" and other outdated technology along the border may be placing law enforcement agents in danger, officials told the Los Angeles Times. New technology purchases have been "stalled" in the acquisitions office at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, possibly due to understaffing, despite the January 2011 launching of an initiative called the Arizona Border Surveillance Technology Plan which set up a 10 year funding plan for new technology including new camera towers, surveillance trucks and ground sensors.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE) is switching the type of cell phones its agents use from BlackBerries by Research In Motion Ltd to iPhones by Apple and Android phones by Google.

Latino perspectives

The New York Times reports that Republican nominee Mitt Romney's promise to eliminate President Obama's deportation reprieve program has caused some potential applicants to reconsider applying. These young immigrants fear that if their applications are in progress when the program is eliminated they will become targets for immigration authorities because of the information they submitted.

Lack of diversity in the newsroom may be impacting how the U.S. media covers Latino issues and makes decisions about the use of terms like "illegal aliens," according to a study by Fourth Estate which revealed that over 98% of front page articles on Latino issues were not written by Latinos.

Latinos are expected to be more likely to vote in November than in 2008, with Arizona turnout expected to increase by as much as 23% according to the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials.

Family

Finding out who is being held in detention for immigration offenses and increasing public records access are two of the goals behind a lawsuit against U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) filed by Syracuse University based Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC). TRAC is seeking data including demographic breakdowns of detainees and inspection records of detention facilities. Since 9/11 courts have supported federal agency restrictions on releasing information citing security concerns.

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The impact of detention and deportation on families with mixed legal status is examined in two stories by the Center for Public Integrity. The first breaks down the legal process that undocumented spouses of U.S. citizens face while the second tells the stories of families who've been separated by the status quo.

These families often include U.S. citizen children who follow their deported parent or parents across the border and find themselves adjusting to life in a country where they may not even speak the language.

Family members are touring Central America in an annual caravan trying to find lost relatives and raise awareness about missing persons cases. The caravan's sponsors estimate that 70,000 migrants have disappeared in the last six years. The number is based on reports from nonprofit groups and does not include those whose family members do not report their disappearance due to fear of law enforcement or cartel retaliation. Migrants face danger from drug cartels and smugglers throughout the region as well as brutal desert conditions along the U.S. Mexico border.

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

Marijuana seizures by Ajo agents working with a canine team.

Border Patrol activity

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

Friday, Oct. 19

Two suspects with prior criminal records and admitted gang affiliations arrested by agents at the Casa Grande Station.
Two U.S. citizens arrested at the Nogales Station for trying to smuggle two people into the country in the trunk of their vehicle.

Saturday, Oct. 20

Two U.S. citizens were stopped on State Route 86 for trying to smuggle two people into the country in the trunk of their vehicle.
Ajo Station agents arrested a 52-year-old man for illegally entering the U.S. and record checks revealed he had a 1995 conviction and 16 year prison in California for continuous sexual abuse of a child.

Sunday, Oct. 21

Naco Station agents arrested a 19-year-old man for illegally entering the U.S. and record checks revealed he had a 2011 conviction for statutory rape in Georgia.

Monday, Oct. 20

1,124 pounds of marijuana found in an abandoned vehicle off Federal Route #34 by Ajo Station agents.

Tuesday, Oct. 23

A U.S. citizen arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle two people into the U.S. illegally at the Interstate 19 checkpoint by Tucson Sector agents. The citizen's child in the car at the time of the arrest was turned over to the custody of Child Protective Services.

Wednesday, Oct. 24

117 pounds of marijuana in a vehicle at the checkpoint at State Route 80 by Wilcox Station agents and a canine team

Thursday, Oct. 25
Two suspects arrested and black tar heroin and 11 bundles of marijuana found in a vehicle by Cochise County Sheriff's Office and Wilcox Station agents.

Friday, Oct. 26

Records checks for four other suspects arrested during the week revealed "significant sexual criminal histories."

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