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Border roundup: Obama's immigration policy goals, Peña Nieto takes on cartels

Politics and policy

President Obama outlined his approach for comprehensive immigration reform in a Tuesday speech that "championed" a bipartisan senate plan that includes a path to citizenship. That widely anticipated plan was unveiled the day before by five of the eight participating senators including both senators from Arizona. Sen. John McCain delivered a statement and a question and answer about the plan, calling it "difficult, but achievable," and the White House released a fact sheet to accompany the speech.

The bipartisan plan for immigration and President Obama's speech both produced a wide variety of reactions including politicians who called the plan 'amnesty' and the academics who fact checked them. The Huffington Post looked for online reactions from readers in the four U.S.-Mexico border states while The Texas Tribune broke down responses of state lawmakers and stakeholders. In Arizona border ranchers met to listen to politicians and voice their concerns about addressing border security and immigrant rights group said their focus is on reforms that keep families together.

After successfully recalling Russell Pearce from the Arizona Senate, members of the group that campaigned for his removal have filed paperwork for a similar recall campaign against Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Respect Arizona has 120 days from filing paperwork with the Arizona Secretary of State’s office to collect "more than 350,000 valid signatures" from registered voters to trigger a recall election.

Law enforcement

An autopsy report on José Antonio Elena Rodríguez has raised new questions about his death last October. The 16-year-old was killed in Nogales, Sonora by Border Patrol agents who say they fired through the U.S.-Mexico border fence at suspects throwing rocks at them. However the autopsy report states that entry and exit wounds indicate that all but one of 11 bullets hit him from behind and he may have been lying on the ground.

The Center for Investigative Reporting has revealed corruption charges against 147 border enforcement agents since 2004 according to a government study hidden for more than a year.

Perla Trevizo investigates three reported incidents where casino workers reported customers to Border Patrol.

Border Patrol agents give a bit more detail on the seizures and arrests from the last week in January.

Federal authorities are charging two men in the deaths of three immigrants being smuggled through Texas. The three young men died when the Chevrolet Tahoe transporting them crashed during a car chase with law enforcement. Nine other survivors from the accident are also in custody.

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Keith Rosenblum tells the story of a friend's attempt to leave the U.S. without being stopped and detained for illegal entry and return to Mexico.

Across the border

Nogales, Sonora's San Juan Bosco migrant shelter has worked with over 1 million people since Juan Francisco and Gilda Loureiro founded it 31 years ago and on its anniversary, the couple tell the shelter's story from a cold night in 1982 to Perla Trevizo.

In Guadalajara, Amanda Holpuch talks to young adults who grew up undocumented in the U.S. and returned to Mexico before DACA about adjusting to life in a new country.

Dudley Althaus explores the vigilante justice being practiced in the countryside around Acapulco where volunteers have armed themselves, taken law enforcement into their own hands and are negotiating turning detainees whose crimes range from theft and cartel connection to murder and kidnapping over to the government.

The scenes of detainees handcuffed in front of seized drugs or weapons used everywhere after a big bust but this January Mexican law enforcement will "stop parading detainees in front of the news media, stop using defendants’ nicknames and stop naming the drug cartel the person worked for," a policy change that comes from new Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto's administration and may be aimed at reducing cartel notoriety.

Juárez police commander Rafael Ochoa Leyva is expected to recover from a bullet wound recieved in an attack that may be connected to his success as head of the auto theft unit which, over the last two years, has arrested over 200 suspects and reduced car thefts in the city by 70 percent.

Eight bodies found in a Nuevo Leon well in are being identified and include some of the 20 Kombo Kolombia band members kidnapped late Thursday after being hired for a private performance in Monterrey. The band, which included 12 musicians and eight crew members, was not known to be associated with cartels or play narcocorridos, songs that celebrate their activities. The bodies are being tested for DNA and law enforcement is investigating those who planned the event, acknowledging that it may have been planned as a trap.

An explosion at Mexico's state-owned oil company, Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), that killed 37 people and injured more than 100 has been attributed to a buildup of leaked gas ignited by a stray spark. The explosion was considered a "key test" for new Mexican President Peña Nieto's promise of transparency because Mexico's oil industry has a reputation for "a horrendous accident record, widespread corruption and antiquated infrastructure." Another explosion at a Pemex plant near Reynosa followed a month of unexplained fires and killed at least 26 in September.

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U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Nogales Station agents and a canine team discovered 11 abandoned bundles of marijuana (556 pounds, estimated value at $278,000) east of the DeConcini Port of Entry. They received assistance from the Office of Air and Marine.

Border Patrol Activity

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

Thursday, Jan. 17

Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa Port seized two boxes of poultry vaccine being transported without a permit

Friday, Jan. 25

Border Patrol reports Nogales Station agents at the Interstate 19 checkpoint arrested a female U.S. citizen, Clarisa Aguilar, 18, and seized 1.9 pounds of methamphetamine during the inspection of a commercial shuttle van.

Sunday, Jan. 27

Yuma Sector agents following footprints east of Highway 85 found two abandoned burlap backpacks with 53 pounds of marijuana (estimated value $26,500)

Monday, Jan. 26

Clarisa Aguilar, 18, was formally charged with narcotics smuggling Monday and now faces federal prosecution after being apprehended Friday for possession 1.9 pounds of methamphetamine

Customs and Border Protection officers at the Mariposa Port apprehended Jose Luis Martinez, 20, of Mesa, when they discovered and seized 33 packages of meth (estimated value $347,820) concealed under the dashboard of his Ford sedan

Tuesday, Jan. 27

Agents from the Ajo Station's Horse Patrol Unit discovered four bundles of marijuana (292 pounds, estimated value of $146,000) near Pia Oik.

Agents from the Ajo Station's All-Terrain Vehicle Unit found 249 pounds of abandoned marijuana (estimated value $124,500) southeast of the Lukeville Port of Entry.

Agents from Ajo Station's Field Training Unit also discovered six bundles of abandoned marijuana (268 pounds, estimated value $134,000) a little east of Gila Bend.

With assistance from assistance from the Office of Air and Marine, Nogales Station agents and a canine team discovered 11 abandoned bundles of marijuana (556 pounds, estimated value at $278,000) east of the DeConcini Port of Entry.

Wednesday, Jan. 28

Wellton Station agents conducted a checkpoint inspection on Interstate 8 near milepost 78 when a canine alerted to the vehicle, a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche. They arrested a male U.S. citizen after discovering 15 kilograms of methamphetamine.

Yuma Sector's Blythe Station agents ended a week long I-10 operation on Monday. The temporary checkpoint led to 97 arrests for being "illegally present in the United States" and seizures of 10 firearms, drugs and $31,735 in cash. Of the 9 handguns and 1 revolver, 4 had been reported as stolen. The narcotics seizures, which had a total estimated value of $167,000, included 6 pounds of cocaine, 110 pounds of marijuana and one pound each of methamphetamine and heroin.

Friday, Feb. 1

Yuma Sector agents south of the Camino Del Diablo trail in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge apprehended four drug smugglers carrying 265 pounds of marijuana

Saturday, Feb. 2

Yuma Sector agents in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge apprehend seven smugglers carrying 223 pounds of marijuana

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and a detection dog at San Luis discovered 38 pounds of methamphetamine (estimated value $580,000) in the frame of a Ford SUV driven by Guillermo Eleazar Lopez-Rodriguez, a 50-year-old Mexican male.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers and a detection dog at the Mariposa Port in Nogales discovered 10 packages of cocaine (more than 24 pounds) in the Chevrolet sedan of Rafael Balvanedo Anaya-Arce, 37, from Nogales, Sonora.

Tuesday, Feb. 5

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers alerted by a drug dog at the Nogales Port discovered 12 packages of methamphetamine below the windshield of a Nissan van leading to the arrest of Alvaro Aglaidel Arellano Carvajal, 30, of Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers alerted by a drug dog at the Nogales Port discovered six packages of methamphetamine and four packages of cocaine from a compartment near the gas tank of a Chevrolet sedan during a secondary inspection, leading to the arrest of Carlos Ramos Jaramillo, 45, a Mexican national


Feds charge two as smugglers in fatal crash

ABC15: Pemex Oil Mexico explosion: Blast rocks Mexican state-run oil company offices

Arizona Capitol Times: Arpaio foes planning recall effort

Arizona Daily Star: Casinos turned them in to Border Patrol, 3 local patrons say

Arizona Daily Star: Labor of love keeps immigrant shelter open 31 years

Arizona Republic: Group launches Sheriff Arpaio recall effort

Arizona Republic: New theory on Border Patrol killing of boy

British Broadcasting Corporation: President Obama makes immigration reform push

Cronkite News: Arizona’s GOP senators join push for immigration reform

Cronkite News: Few Arizonans applying for deferred deportation program

Cronkite News: Immigrant rights groups want reform to focus on families

El Universal: NL: hallan asesinados a músicos de Kombo Kolombia

Fronteras Desk: Arizona Border Residents Skeptical Of Latest Immigration Plans

Fronteras Desk: Juarez Police Commander Likely Shot As Retaliation

Fronteras Desk: Mexico Ending Narco 'Dog And Pony Shows'

Global Post: Bodies found in well thought to be missing Mexican band members

Global Post: Can vigilante justice save Mexico?

Global Post: Senators: Comprehensive immigration reform coming soon

Guardian: Undocumented migrants back in Mexico hope to some day return to US

Huffington Post: Immigration Plan: Thoughts On Border Security From Texas, Arizona, New Mexico And California

National Public Radio: Death Toll Continues To Rise After Explosion At Mexican Oil Company

National Public Radio: Gas Buildup Caused Blast At Mexican Oil Company Headquarters

Nogales International: Undocumented man evades detection and returns home to Mexico

Reuters: Analysis: Deadly Pemex blast tests Mexico's new president

Texas Tribune: Texans voice praise, concerns over immigration plan

Tucson Sentinel: Border Patrol activity: Woman caught with 1.9 lbs of meth at checkpoint

Tucson Sentinel: Is Senate immigration plan ‘amnesty’?

Tucson Sentinel: McCain: Immigration reform 'difficult, but achievable'

Tucson Sentinel: Obama: 'Now is the time' for immigration reform

Tucson Sentinel: Report details Border Patrol corruption

White House: FACT SHEET: Fixing our Broken Immigration System so Everyone Plays by the Rules