Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) is leading the charge to implement a pilot program on the U.S. southern border that will expedite the process of removing illegal alien families who do not qualify for asylum.
Sinema joined a bipartisan group of nine senators who sent a letter to acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan on Wednesday describing a program they call “Operation Safe Return” that they believe can help fix the national emergency that has resulted from the unprecedented flood of third-world migrants at the border.
“This pilot program would apply to families who aren’t claiming ‘credible fear,’ which of course is the first threshold in seeking asylum,” Sinema said to The Arizona Republic. “If someone says ‘I left my country because I can’t make a living,’ (or) ‘it’s hard to take care of my family’ — that’s what we call an economic migrant.”
Under Sinema’s proposed program, migrant families determined to be ineligible for asylum could be booted after 15 days by the Department of Homeland Security. This would help alleviate the strain on the system, as migrant detention facilities are severely overstrained.
Unlike some other Democrats, Sinema is focused on finding solutions rather than scoring partisan political points. She worked on the program alongside Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, after meeting at the White House with officials from the Trump administration.
The letter was also signed by Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH), Joe Manchin (D-WV), James Lankford (R-OK), Doug Jones (D-AL), Michael Enzi (R-WY), John Barrasso (R-WY), and John Cornyn (R-TX). They are expected to pitch the program in person to Secretary McAleenan in the upcoming weeks.
“We have worked with your agencies to develop a streamlined process to rapidly, accurately, and fairly determine those family units that do not have a valid legal claim and safely return those individuals to their home countries,” the letter reads.
“The process would use existing authorities, but surge necessary resources to a limited, particular location on the southern border,” it adds.
Border Patrol agents would be tasked with conducting “detailed, fair and accurate interviews” within one to three days under the proposed Operation Safe Return. If families claimed fear upon returning to their home countries, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Officers would conduct a credible-fear interview within nine days. After they released their report, the Department of Justice and Homeland Security would make the final determination within six more days.
“Within approximately 15 days after being encountered, the Department of Homeland Security should remove family units whose negative credible fear determinations are affirmed by the immigration judge,” the letter reads.
Sinema felt there was a way to solve the problem without changing laws or challenging the Flores Settlement Agreement, a judicial ruling that protects youthful asylum seekers. She devised the pilot program as a result, hoping to solve the problem without making serious changes to existing law.
“I just felt those weren’t the right answers,” Sinema said. “We wanted to solve the problem. We wanted to protect the asylum process for valid applicants … and we want to respect the Flores decision.”
However, migrant advocates are complaining about Sinema’s proposal might stop the third-world invasion that has proven to be big business for smugglers, NGOs and other profiteers from this glorified human trafficking operation.
“We still have children who are missing in the system,” said Ruben Reyes, who is a board member with the American Immigration Lawyers Association. “So we can’t take this letter outside of the context of what’s happened for the year and a half.”
Despite the naysaying from so-called civil liberties groups, Sinema is hopeful that the Trump administration will implement her pilot program based on overtures they have given to her.
“They’ve indicated a strong interest in this program for several reasons,” she said.
Sinema, who defeated Republican Martha McSally in the 2018 general election, has become a pleasant surprise in the U.S. Senate as she has largely rejected the pressures from her extremist Democratic colleagues and focused instead on solving the issues that matter to her constituents.
Sinaloa Cartel Suspects Arrested at Border for Carrying $3.5 Million in Cash and Massive Amounts of Cocaine and Fentanyl
Drug Cartels Will Have a Field Day During a Biden Administration
On November 24, 2020, the Justice Department published a press release on how three Mexican citizens suspected of trafficking enormous quantities of illegal drugs for the Sinaloa Cartel received charges in federal court. This case is likely the biggest seizure of ammunition, cash, and narcotics in the district.
Jesus Burgos Arias, Juan Alatorre Venegas, and Jose Yee Perez were arrested on November 20, 2020. This arrest was the product of a joint investigation by the Drug Enforcement Administration, Homeland Security Investigations, the San Diego Sheriff’s Department, San Diego Police Department, and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of California, that set its sights on individuals connected to the Sinaloa Cartel.
During these arrests, agents confiscated roughly $3.5 million in cash, 685 kilograms of cocaine, 24 kilograms of fentanyl, and about 20,000 rounds of .50 caliber ammunition and hundreds of body armor vests at a truck yard in Otay Mesa.
In a complaint filed in federal court, the defendants received a drug trafficking conspiracy charge. The defendants were transferred from the San Diego Central Jail to federal custody and made their first appearance before U.S. Magistrate Judge Barbara L. Major.
“This historic seizure and prosecution is a clear indication of the success of our joint investigative efforts,” declared U.S. Attorney Robert Brewer. “To eradicate this threat to San Diego and our partners in the Republic of Mexico, we will continue to aggressively attack the Sinaloa Cartel’s drug smuggling, money laundering, and arms smuggling operations – depriving them of their illegal merchandise, their profits, and a safe haven.” Brewer gave praise to prosecutor Matthew J. Sutton and the federal and local agents and officers for their diligence in this case.
“Thanks to the collaborative work with our state and federal law enforcement partners, we are able to announce this blow to the Mexican Cartels operating in San Diego,” remarked DEA Special Agent in Charge John W. Callery. “We are further encouraged that we were able to separate them from their dangerous .50 caliber ammunition and over $3 million in drug proceeds that they have gained through selling death here in our community and throughout the US.”
“This seizure is significant not just because of its size, but because it demonstrates the direct correlation between narcotics, illicit money, and guns that drives violence in our communities and destroys lives,” stated Homeland Security Investigation (HSI) Special Agent in Charge Cardell T. Morant. “HSI will continue to work with our law enforcement partners and prosecutors to aggressively pursue the Sinaloa Cartel and other transnational criminal organizations.”
“The Sheriff’s Department is committed in working with our justice partners throughout the region to combat the dangerous drugs and violence associated with narcotic trafficking,” commented San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore. “Sheriff’s deputies see the destruction and damage that illegal drugs cause every day. We are proud of what this case has accomplished, and the continued work being done to hold these criminals accountable.”
The Southern District of California led an investigation over the past five years that resulted in the aforementioned case being brought forward. The overall investigation has brought charges against over 125 people and has greatly affected the global operations of the Sinaloa Cartel.
The investigation started in late 2011 when authorities busted a small-scale drug distribution cell in National City and Chula Vista. After substantial investigation, law enforcement discovered that the Sinaloa Cartel was involved and the case morphed into a massive investigation that crossed state and national lines. The broader case led to dozens of arrests and seizures of 1,397 kilograms of methamphetamine, 2,214 kilograms of cocaine, 17.2 tons of marijuana, 95.84 kilograms of heroin, and $27,892,706 in drug-related funds.
With the Biden administration coming into power, similar cases will abound as it becomes clear that border security will become an afterthought during a Biden presidency.
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