Cuban Migrants Flood the SW Border

2015: At Least 44,000 Cubans Entered US Through Texas and Southern Border This Year, Number on the Rise – Report

The number of Cubans attempting to come to the Unites States via Texas has increased this year, thanks in large part to the thaw in political tensions between the U.S. and Cuba.


After President Obama and Cuban leader Raul Castro announced their plans to normalize relations between the two nations, many Cubans feared that the special migrant status they have enjoyed for over 50 years would come to an end. The current “wet foot, dry foot policy” allows anyone who has fled Cuba and entered the U.S. the ability to pursue residency and work in the country.

The Los Angles Times reports that at least 44,000 Cubans have reached the southern U.S. border during the fiscal year which ended in September. This figure is more than twice as many of the 17,466 Cubans who came through the southern border the year before. Full article here.

Tension Simmers as Cubans Breeze Across U.S. Border

LAREDO, Tex. — They are crossing the border here by the hundreds each day, approved to enter the United States in a matter of hours. Part of a fast-rising influx of Cubans, they walk out to a Laredo street and are greeted by volunteers from Cubanos en Libertad, or Cubans in Freedom, who help them arrange travel to their American destination — often Miami — and start applying for work permits and federal benefits like food stamps and Medicaid, available by law to Cubans immediately after their arrival.

The friendly reception given the Cubans, an artifact of hostile relations with the Castro government, is a stark contrast with the treatment of Central American families fleeing violence in their countries. And it is creating tensions in this predominantly Mexican-American city, where residents saw how Central American migrants, who came in an influx in 2014, were detained by the Border Patrol and ordered to appear in immigration courts.

“The people here are starting to feel resentment,” said Representative Henry Cuellar, Democrat of Texas, whose congressional district includes the city. “They are asking, is it fair that the Cubans get to stay and the Central Americans are being deported?”

The disparity will be in sharp relief next week when Pope Francis comes to the border at El Paso to offer prayers for the many migrants who have faced danger or arrest trying to cross the United States border.

Town officials have warned Cubans not to loiter in the streets. Local bus companies complain that Cubans are chartering special vans to travel. Some residents here have also begun to speak up.

A group of veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq held two protests by the border bridge in recent weeks, saying the federal government was spending money on Cubans when it was not meeting the needs of people here.

“We make everyone from Central America wait in line, while the Cubans walk in even though they are not refugees,” said Gabriel Lopez, a Mexican-American Navy veteran who is president of the group of veterans. “We are saying, don’t open the borders to Cubans and give them instant benefits while we have American veterans living on the streets.”

In coming weeks the number of Cubans is expected to spike, as more than 5,000 who have been stalled in Costa Rica since late last year will leave there on regular plane flights agreed to by governments in Central America and Mexico. Already about 12,100 Cubans entered through Laredo and other Texas border stations in the last three months of 2015, according to official figures. Border officials say as many as 48,000 Cubans could cross here this year, more than all those who came in the last two years combined.

Under the Cuban Adjustment Act, a law Congress passed in 1966 in the early years of enmity with Fidel Castro, any Cuban who sets foot on American soil is given permission to enter, known as parole. Cubans are also eligible for federal welfare benefits including financial assistance for nine months under separate policies from the 1980s. After a year, they can apply for permanent residency, a gateway to citizenship.

The recent exodus from Cuba began in mid-2014, even before President Obama in December of that year announced a restoration of diplomatic relations with the government, now led by Mr. Castro’s brother Raúl. In a major change, President Raúl Castro allowed Cubans to leave the country without exit visas. Many Cubans have said that rumors that the special entry to the United States would be canceled had caused them to pack up and go.

“The rumors are unfounded,” Alan Bersin, assistant secretary of Homeland Security, said in an interview, seeking to dispel the fears. “The Cuban Adjustment Act is still in effect and is part of the overall immigration policy and there is no intent presently to change that.”

Mr. Cuellar has called for the act to be repealed, but he acknowledges there is little prospect that Congress will act this year.

The recent influx is nothing like the chaotic rush of Cubans fleeing the Communist government that overwhelmed South Florida with the Mariel boatlift in 1980, and the rafter crisis in 1994. The federal border authorities, who have been watching the number of Cubans growing steadily, added officers and opened extra rooms in the border station, doubling their capacity to process them. Most Cubans move through in less than an hour, officials said.

Frank Longoria, assistant director of field operations for United States Customs and Border Protection, said that despite their numbers, the Cubans’ entry has not affected the huge flows of people and freight trucks each day through Laredo, the country’s largest land port of entry.

At the border, Cubans are fingerprinted and pass through routine criminal and terrorism background checks. There is no special vetting for Cubans, and there are no medical examinations or vaccination requirements.

“Right now I feel like the freest Cuban in the whole world,” said Rodny Nápoles, 39, a coach of the Cuban national women’s water polo team who crossed into Laredo this week.

This week, the first direct flights from northern Costa Rica to the Mexican city just across the border brought more than 300 Cubans, including at least 41 pregnant women and their families.

One of them, Yadelys Rodríguez Martín, 28, who was 19 weeks pregnant, sat down to rest and enjoy a moment of relief on the front steps of Cubanos en Libertad, right after emerging from the border station. After traveling through Ecuador and being stuck for three months in Costa Rica because of a political dispute in the region, she said she was stunned by how quickly she had been admitted into the United States.

“We are not used to things happening so fast,” Ms. Rodríguez said.  More here.

Facts: Mexico to U.S. Immigration

Unaccompanied Alien Children Charged in Execution-Style Murder, Media Calls Them “Baby-Faced Boys”

It appears that the recent execution-style murder of a Massachusetts man was committed by two Central American teens that came to the U.S. as Unaccompanied Alien Children (UAC) under President Obama’s open border free-for-all. Tens of thousands of illegal immigrant minors—mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras—have entered the country through the Mexican border since the influx began in the summer of 2014 and the administration has relocated them nationwide.

News reports indicate that the 17-year-olds charged in the gruesome Massachusetts killing entered the U.S. recently as UAC’s and both have ties to MS-13, according to authorities cited by various outlets. They lived in Everett and one of the teens, Cristian Nunez-Flores, moved to Massachusetts from his native El Salvador a year and a half ago which is when the influx of Central American minors began. His parents remain in El Salvador, according to a local news article. The other gangbanger’s name is Jose Vasquez Ardon and he too is a recent arrival from Central America. Prosecutors say the teens, described in a local news article as “baby-faced boys,”shot a 19-year-old in the head. Both are being held without bail for obvious reasons. A must read summary here.

*** Meanwhile***

5 facts about Mexico and immigration to the U.S.

PewResearch: Pope Francis is expected to make immigration a major theme of his visit to Mexico. By traveling northward across Mexico, he intends to symbolically retrace the journey of Mexican and Central American migrants traveling to the United States. After the pope leaves Mexico City, his route will begin in the southern state of Chiapas, which shares a long border with Guatemala, and end in Ciudad Juárez, located across the U.S.-Mexico border from El Paso, Texas, a longtime entry point to the U.S.

U.S. immigration from Latin America has shifted over the past two decades. From 1965 to 2015, more than 16 million Mexicans migrated to the U.S. in one of the largest mass migrations in modern history. But over the past decade, Mexican migration to the U.S. has slowed dramatically. Today, Mexico increasingly serves as a land bridge for Central American immigrants traveling to the U.S.

Here are five facts about Mexico and trends in immigration to the U.S.

1Mexico increases deportations of Central AmericansMexico is stopping more unauthorized Central American immigrants at its southern border. The Mexican government said in 2014 that it would increase enforcement at its southern border in response to an increased flow of Central Americans traveling through Mexico to reach the U.S. In 2015, the government there carried out about 150,000 deportations of unauthorized immigrants from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, a 44% jump over the previous year. These three Central American countries alone accounted for nearly all (97%) of Mexico’s deportations in 2015.

2Despite increased enforcement by Mexico, many unauthorized Central Americans are still reaching the U.S. via Mexico. At the U.S.-Mexico border, the number of families and unaccompanied children apprehended by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials is again rising, though it’s too early to tell how 2016 will compare with prior years. From Oct. 1, 2015, to Jan. 31, 2016, 24,616 families and 20,455 unaccompanied children – the vast majority of them from Central America – were apprehended at the southwestern U.S. border, double the total from the same time period the year before. Apprehensions of unaccompanied children rose to record levels in fiscal 2014, then decreased by 42% in fiscal 2015.

3More Cubans are also traveling through Mexico to reach the U.S. The number of Cubans migrating through Mexico to reach the U.S. spiked dramatically last year after President Barack Obama said the U.S. would renew ties with the island nation. In fiscal 2015, 43,159 Cubans entered the U.S. via ports of entry, a 78% increase over the previous year. Two-thirds of these Cubans arrived through the U.S. Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector in Texas. (Cubans who pass an inspection can enter the U.S. legally under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.)

4Fewer Mexicans are migrating to the U.S. today than in the past. In fact, more Mexicans left than came to the U.S since the end of the Great Recession. Between 2009 and 2014, 870,000 Mexican nationals left Mexico to come to the U.S., down from the 2.9 million who left Mexico for the U.S. between 1995 and 2000. Of those moving back to Mexico, many cite family as the reason for their return. About 1 million Mexican immigrants and their U.S.-born children moved from the U.S. to Mexico between 2009 and 2014, and 61% said they had done so to reunite with family or to start a family, according to the 2014 Mexican National Survey of Demographic Dynamics.

5More Mexicans now say life is about the same in the U.S. and Mexico. In 2015, 33% of Mexican adults said life in the U.S. is neither better nor worse than life in Mexico, up from 23% who said this in 2007. Still, about half of Mexican adults believe life is better in the U.S. and 35% of Mexicans said they would move to the U.S. if they had the opportunity and means to do so, similar shares as in 2009.

Have you Met Taylor Johnson?

Imagine a government doing this to an employee, when an employee is bound by law to do so. Ah, Harry Reid, of course.

EXCLUSIVE: ICE Whistleblower Fired After Refusing DHS Hush Money

DailyCaller: The Department of Homeland Security on Thursday dismissed an ICE whistleblower it was secretly smearing to reporters after she testified before Congress about her troubles with the agency.

Special Agent Taylor Johnson — who had a storied career until she irked Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid by objecting to a visa program for foreign investors tied to the senator’s son — says she declined to take a $100,000 severance package because it included a non-disclosure agreement.

Gee, what a great use of taxpayer money that would have been. Pay a woman not to talk about what already got nationwide coverage when she talked about it before Congress.

DHS Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Todd Breasseale did not respond to multiple inquiries about the reason for Johnson’s dismissal and why they tried to buy her silence.

Despite all the media coverage of her case, including a Washington Gadfly report that the ICE press secretary with the approval of Breasseale was peddling confidential information to discredit her in violation of the Privacy Act, Taylor is not surprised she got the boot.

“My entire chain of command was appointed by Obama,” she remarked. “They can do anything they want.”

In testimony last June to the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Johnson said she was stripped of her gun and badge, without explanation, after discovering fraud and abuse.

“Some of the violations investigated surrounding the project included bank and wire fraud, and I discovered ties to organized crime and high-ranking politicians and they received promotions that appeared to facilitate the program,” Johnson testified.

She said that during her investigation in 2013, she “discovered that EB-5 applicants from China, Russia, Pakistan, Malaysia had been approved in as little as 16 days” and that case files “lacked the basic and necessary law enforcement queries.”

At ICE, Johnson had amassed many awards and never had any disciplinary problems. But everything changed abruptly in 2013 when she invoked the ire of Senator Reid by holding up a visas for a foreigner investor in a Las Vegas casino represented by his son, attorney Cory Reid.

The Senator’s office complained to Johnson’s Special Agent in Charge. She was then placed on administrative leave, without explanation, on October 13, 2013.

Under pressure from Senate Democratic staffers Johnson did not mention in her testimony the role Reid’s office played in her ouster. But the DHS Inspector General concluded in a report last March that U.S. Customs and Immigration Services (USCIS) director Alejandro Mayorkas intervened in “an unprecedented matter” to approve EB-5 visas for the Las Vegas casino investors after pressure from Reid’s office.

The report essentially vindicated complaints by Johnson and other DHS employees about the program.

DHS has never given any public explanation for the disciplinary action it took against Johnson. After the hearing a DHS spokeswoman said they do not talk about personnel matters.

But this past December, ICE press secretary Gillian Christensen, citing confidential information from Johnson’s file, tried to convince this reporter off the record that she was a dishonest and a problem employee.

That argument is going to be even harder to peddle now that the Department would have allowed Johnson to leave with a clean work record and $100,000 in spending money if she promised to keep her mouth shut.

Johnson is soliciting donations on to cover legal fees for a possible federal lawsuit.




Clapper Breaks with Obama’s Threat Crisis Plank

North Korea has restarted plutonium reactor: US

North Korea has restarted a plutonium reactor that could fuel a nuclear bomb and is seeking missile technology that could threaten the United States, Washington’s top spy said on Tuesday.

Intel Chief Breaks From Obama Narrative On Iran Deal

DailyCaller: The head of U.S. intelligence believes that Iran’s recent actions speak loudly to its intentions, particularly given the country’s recent provocations since the Iran nuclear deal came into effect.

Testifying to the Senate Committee on Armed Services Tuesday, director of national intelligence James Clapper gave a very somber description of what he sees as Iran’s intentions toward the U.S. now that last summer’s nuclear deal has commenced. In particular, his statements offered little assurance that Iran is acting as an honest actor with the U.S. and the other states involved in last year’s negotiations, or that the nuclear deal will stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“Iran probably views JCPOA [Iran deal] as a means to remove sanctions while preserving nuclear capabilities, as well as the option to eventually expand its nuclear infrastructure,” said Clapper, who also noted that, so far, he sees no evidence that Iran is violating the nuclear deal.

Clapper’s statements stand in stark contrast with those made by President Barack Obama, who lauded the nuclear accord last summer, claiming it would not only stop all of Iran’s possible pathways to a nuclear weapon, but that “under its terms, Iran is never allowed to build a nuclear weapon.” More here.


Clapper went into all specifics on the threat matrix both at home and globally. He did not leave anything behind, from cyber wars, space wars, weapons systems, human trafficking, terror organizations, economic instability, migrants, disinformation and drug cartels.

February 9, 2016
Chairman McCain, Vice Chairman Reed, Members of the Committee, thank you for the invitation to offer
the United States Intelligence Community’s 2016 assessment of threats to US national security. My statement reflects the collective insights of the Intelligence Community’s extraordinary men and women, whom I am privileged and honored to lead. We in the Intelligence Community are committed every day to provide the nuanced, multidisciplinary intelligence that policymakers, warfighters, and domestic law enforcement personnel need to protect American lives and America’s interests anywhere in the world.
 The order of the topics presented in this statement does not necessarily indicate the relative importance or magnitude of the threat in the view of the Intelligence Community. Information available as of February 3, 2016 was used in the preparation of this assessment.
GLOBAL THREATS Cyber and Technology Terrorism Weapons of Mass Destruction and Proliferation Space and Counterspace
Counterintelligence Transnational Organized Crime
Economics and Natural Resources Human Security
China Southeast Asia North Korea
Russia and Eurasia
Russia Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova The Caucasus and Central Asia
Key Partners The Balkans Turkey Middle East and North Africa 
Iraq Syria Libya  Yemen Iran  Lebanon Egypt Tunisia
South Asia
Afghanistan Bangladesh Pakistan and India
Sub-Saharan Africa  Central Africa Somalia South Sudan Sudan Nigeria
Latin America and Caribbean
Central America Cuba Venezuela Brazil





McCaul’s Homeland Terror Threat Snapshot

McCaul Releases February Terror Threat Snapshot

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The February Terror Threat Snapshot was released today by Homeland Security Committee (HSC) Chairman Michael McCaul. The “snapshot” is a monthly Committee assessment of the growing threat America, the West, and the world face from ISIS and other Islamist terrorists.

Chairman McCaul: “The Islamist terror threat remains alarmingly high as recent arrests and terror plots demonstrate. ISIS recruits wage war in our communities, while thousands of deadly fighters trained in Syria stream back into the West – some of them infiltrating massive refugee flows. ISIS continues its global expansion on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and the still-dangerous al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula seizes greater territory in Yemen. Meanwhile, Vladimir Putin and the revitalized Iran-Assad-Hezbollah terror axis are further destabilizing the Syrian crisis in the absence of U.S. leadership. This year is on track to be as dangerous as – if not worse than – 2015 for the American homeland and our national security.”

Key takeaways in this month’s Terror Threat Snapshot include:

  • The Iranian regime gained access to $100 billion in cash from the disastrous nuclear deal and is poised for further economic relief that will fuel its global network of terror.
  • An increasing number of battle-hardened fighters from Europe are returning from jihadist training grounds. Nearly 2,000 Europeans – among an estimated 6,600 Western fighters who have traveled to Syria and Iraq – have snuck back into Europe. A French counterterrorism official recently warned, “We are moving towards a European 9/11: simultaneous attacks on the same day in several countries…We know the terrorists are working on this.”
  • Islamist terrorists are exploiting global refugee flows to infiltrate and target the West. Germany’s domestic intelligence chief recently said terrorists “have slipped in camouflaged or disguised as refugees. This is a fact that the security agencies are facing.” A suspected ISIS terror plotter arrested in Germany this week snuck into Europe posing as a refugee. The European Union also recently assessed there is a “real and imminent danger” of Syrian refugees inside Europe being radicalized and recruited by Islamist extremists.
  • ISIS and al Qaeda are expanding their sanctuaries from North Africa to South Asia. ISIS is reinforcing its foothold in Libya, where it has amassed as many as 6,500 fighters and controls coastal territory on the Mediterranean Sea. Al Qaeda is making further gains in Yemen and its key ally in Afghanistan controls more territory than it has at any point since 2001.
  • The Obama Administration has surged the release of terrorists from Guantanamo Bay despite alarming rates of recidivism. The intelligence community has assessed that 30 percent of Guantanamo detainees released are either known to have or suspected of having rejoined the fight. The potential transfer of detainees to the United States, prohibited under law, would also pose a threat to the American people.
  • The United States faces the highest Islamist terror threat environment since 9/11. ISIS is waging war here in the homeland, where there have been 21 ISIS-linked plots to launch attacks. Law enforcement authorities have arrested 81 ISIS-linked suspects, including six thus far in 2016.

TerrorThreatSnapshot_February_Social Media

The complete February Terror Threat Snapshot is available, here.

View the Committee’s interactive Terror Threat Snapshot map, here.