Border Agents experience ‘Rise in Apprehensions’ of Russians and Ukrainians at U.S. Southern Border

Border Agents experience ‘Rise in Apprehensions’ of Russians and Ukrainians at U.S. Southern Border

A new scenario is confronting law enforcement agents at our Southern border with Mexico. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has seen a large increase in Russians and Ukrainians apprehended at the border.

The rise in apprehensions began last winter as tensions between Ukraine and Russia began to intensify. Individuals foreshadowed the war and made attempts to reach the United States. The Foreign Desk reports on recent numbers from CBP “show that just in the last six months, 1,300 Ukrainians met immigration officials at the U.S.-Mexico border, up from less than 700 for all of 2021.”

“Over 7,000 Russians also have arrived, approximately doubling last year’s figure.” The number of Russian or Ukrainian citizens crossing the border makes up only a small percentage of everyone from around the globe making the attempt, but there is one large difference.

Unlike most Central and South American migrants, those from Ukraine and Russia are being allowed to stay in the U.S., “and in many cases, arranging to meet relatives already here.”

The Foreign Desk reports:

A DHS memo released March 11 authorized CBP agents to consider exempting from expulsion asylum-seekers with Ukrainian passports. Exemptions are to be made on a case-by-case basis.  

Russians who have fled Russia are not addressed in the memo.  

Many Russians have left Russia as the invasion of Ukraine ramped up, fearing political persecution or conscription to go fight in Ukraine.

A common strategy for both Russians and Ukrainians is to enter Mexico as a tourist, without paperwork in order and then apply for asylum status upon entering the U.S.  It is easier to get a tourist visa for Mexico than for the U.S. 

Fox News reported some Russian asylum-seekers were being turned away at the border, under Title 42 rules , but Ukrainians were ushered into the U.S. The Biden administration also announced this week that the U.S. would accept up to 100,000 Ukrainian refugees “through the full range of legal pathways,”

It remains unclear as to whether or not those crossing at the border will be included in that number.

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Ukrainian Officials say over 400,000 people have been forced into Russia, used as war hostages

Ukrainian Officials say over 400,000 people have been forced into Russia, used as war hostages

Ukraine officials say Russians are taking “hundreds of thousands” of civilians who have been displaced from their war torn homes and forcibly taking them to Russia. Many are reportedly being used as “hostages” in an attempt to pressure Ukraine to give in and give up.

In an astounding statement, Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukraine’s ombudsperson, said 402,000 people, including 84,000 children, had been taken to Russia. The information could very well be accurate, as the Kremlin gave “nearly identical numbers for those who have been relocated” reports the Associated Press.

However, Russia is saying the number is a result of individuals wanting to move to Russia; not that they are forcibly being taken. “Ukraine’s rebel-controlled eastern regions are predominantly Russian-speaking, and many people there have supported close ties to Moscow” adds the AP.

The rhetorical games Russia is playing is vast. Playing the martyr, “Russia said it will offer safe passage starting Friday to 67 ships from 15 foreign countries that are stranded in Ukrainian ports because of the danger of shelling and mines.”

However, “Kyiv and Moscow gave conflicting accounts, meanwhile, about the people being relocated to Russia and whether they were going willingly — as Russia claimed — or were being coerced or lied to” writes the AP.

The Associated Press reports of the conflicting information:

Russian Col. Gen. Mikhail Mizintsev said the roughly 400,000 people evacuated to Russia since the start of the military action were from the Donetsk and Luhansk regions in eastern Ukraine, where pro-Moscow separatists have been fighting for control for nearly eight years.

Russian authorities said they are providing accommodations and dispensing payments to the evacuees.

But Donetsk Region Gov. Pavlo Kyrylenko said that “people are being forcibly moved into the territory of the aggressor state.” Denisova said those removed by Russian troops included a 92-year-old woman in Mariupol who was forced to go to Taganrog in southern Russia.

Ukrainian officials said that the Russians are taking people’s passports and moving them to “filtration camps” in Ukraine’s separatist-controlled east before sending them to various distant, economically depressed areas in Russia.

Among those taken, Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry charged, were 6,000 residents of Mariupol, the devastated port city in the country’s east. Moscow’s troops are confiscating identity documents from an additional 15,000 people in a section of Mariupol under Russian control, the ministry said.

Some could be sent as far as the Pacific island of Sakhalin, Ukrainian intelligence said, and are being offered jobs on condition they don’t leave for two years. The ministry said the Russians intend to “use them as hostages and put more political pressure on Ukraine.”

Kyrylenko said that Mariupol’s residents have been long deprived of information and that the Russians feed them false claims about Ukraine’s defeats to persuade them to move to Russia.

“Russian lies may influence those who have been under the siege,” he said.

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Ukraine’s Mariupol Described as ‘Ashes of a Dead Land’ by Council

As Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine and repeatedly has ultimatums rejected by President Volodymyr Zelensky, the devastation of a nation continues. Mariupol, one of the cities Russia demanded Ukraine surrender, has become the “ashes of a dead land” the city council said.

“Street fighting and bombardments raged in Mariupol, Ukrainian officials said, a day after it rejected an ultimatum from Russia to surrender. Hundreds of thousands are believed to be trapped inside buildings, with no access to food, water, power or heat” reports Reuters.

Civilians and Ukrainian troops were coming under Russian fire, said regional governor Pavlo Kyrylenko. “Russian forces and Russian-backed separatist units” had taken about half of the port city.

“There is nothing left there,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address to Italy’s parliament. Mariupol Deputy Mayor Sergei Orlov told CNN the city was under a full blockade and had received no humanitarian aid.

“The city is under continuous bombing, from 50 bombs to 100 bombs Russian aircraft drops each day… A lot of death, a lot of crying, a lot of awful war crimes,” Orlov said.

Reuters reports Mariupol has become the focus of the war, as It lies on the Sea of Azov and its capture would allow Russia to link areas in the east held by pro-Russian separatists with the Crimean peninsula, annexed by Moscow in 2014.

U.S. President Joe Biden will join allies in applying additional sanctions and tightening existing ones during his trip to Europe this week, national security adviser Jake Sullivan said on Tuesday.

The trip will also include an announcement on joint action to enhance energy security in Europe, which is highly reliant on Russian gas, and Biden will show solidarity with Ukraine’s neighbour, Poland, with a visit to Warsaw.

“Having failed to seize the capital Kyiv or any other major city with a swift offensive, Russia is waging a war of attrition that has reduced some urban areas to rubble and prompted Western concern that the conflict could escalate, even to a nuclear war” adds Reuters.

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Over 20 Babies Born to Surrogates in Kyiv Sheltering in Basement, Waiting for Parents

Over 20 Babies Born to Surrogates in Kyiv Sheltering in Basement, Waiting for Parents

The Center for Security Policy (Center) reports that a massive shoot-out between members of the Northeast Cartel (CDN) and the Mexican Army rocked the city of Nuevo Laredo on Tuesday directly across the border from Laredo, Texas.  The incident forced the temporary closure of the international bridges as well as the U.S. Consulate. As reported by the Center, videos of the attack on social media showed numerous burning vehicles and the sounds of automatic weapon fire. Mexican military installations and the U.S. Consulate reportedly came under fire. The attack was reportedly a response to the arrest and deportation to the United States of CDN Cartel leader Juan Gerardo Treviño, following an operation by Mexican authorities.

Treviño, also known as El Huevo (The Egg) was wanted in the United States on money laundering and drug trafficking conspiracy charges. He also faces numerous charges in multiple Mexican states, including murder and terrorism. Treviño comes from a family with a long history of narcotrafficking, with his Uncle Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales having been the last leader of the notorious Los Zetas cartel, of which the CDN is a splinter faction.

This is not the first time CDN fighters, whose armed wing operates under the name Tropa Del Infierno (Troops of Hell) have caused concern for U.S. diplomatic security. In January of 2020, the U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo was forced to increase security following a series of CDN gunbattles targeting Mexican police.  CDN has a history of establishing armed blockades and conducting ambushes of police forces in the Mexican half of a city which sits astride the border, particularly in response to Police operations or even rumors of arrests.

This ability to project violence to threaten the Mexican state has worked for other Cartels to effectively “de-arrest” leaders captured by law enforcement. In October of 2019 Mexico arrested, and then was forced to release, Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of notorious Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán.

While Mexican authorities (and likely their U.S. counterparts) are to be commended on the successful operation to capture El Huevo, the CDN’s ability to project a violent response yet again shows that the situation in Mexico is developed far beyond a law enforcement matter and has effectively reached a full-blown insurgency. The United States needs to reconsider its lack of commitment to addressing the growing instability of its southern neighbor and begin to make the safety and security of its citizens along the border a top priority now.

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US Consulate temporarily closes as cartel gunmen launch assault on Nuevo Laredo

US Consulate temporarily closes as cartel gunmen launch assault on Nuevo Laredo

The Center for Security Policy (Center) reports that a massive shoot-out between members of the Northeast Cartel (CDN) and the Mexican Army rocked the city of Nuevo Laredo on Tuesday directly across the border from Laredo, Texas.  The incident forced the temporary closure of the international bridges as well as the U.S. Consulate. As reported by the Center, videos of the attack on social media showed numerous burning vehicles and the sounds of automatic weapon fire. Mexican military installations and the U.S. Consulate reportedly came under fire. The attack was reportedly a response to the arrest and deportation to the United States of CDN Cartel leader Juan Gerardo Treviño, following an operation by Mexican authorities.

Treviño, also known as El Huevo (The Egg) was wanted in the United States on money laundering and drug trafficking conspiracy charges. He also faces numerous charges in multiple Mexican states, including murder and terrorism. Treviño comes from a family with a long history of narcotrafficking, with his Uncle Miguel Ángel Treviño Morales having been the last leader of the notorious Los Zetas cartel, of which the CDN is a splinter faction.

This is not the first time CDN fighters, whose armed wing operates under the name Tropa Del Infierno (Troops of Hell) have caused concern for U.S. diplomatic security. In January of 2020, the U.S. Consulate in Nuevo Laredo was forced to increase security following a series of CDN gunbattles targeting Mexican police.  CDN has a history of establishing armed blockades and conducting ambushes of police forces in the Mexican half of a city which sits astride the border, particularly in response to Police operations or even rumors of arrests.

This ability to project violence to threaten the Mexican state has worked for other Cartels to effectively “de-arrest” leaders captured by law enforcement. In October of 2019 Mexico arrested, and then was forced to release, Ovidio Guzmán López, the son of notorious Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán.

While Mexican authorities (and likely their U.S. counterparts) are to be commended on the successful operation to capture El Huevo, the CDN’s ability to project a violent response yet again shows that the situation in Mexico is developed far beyond a law enforcement matter and has effectively reached a full-blown insurgency. The United States needs to reconsider its lack of commitment to addressing the growing instability of its southern neighbor and begin to make the safety and security of its citizens along the border a top priority now.

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Russia threatens U.S., disregards Biden’s comments due to his ‘irritability, fatigue and forgetfulness’

Russia threatens U.S., disregards Biden’s comments due to his ‘irritability, fatigue and forgetfulness’

Threats and grandstanding are dominating top government leadership around the world as Russia’s President Vladimir Putin increases its aggression against Ukraine and continues to threaten other nations.

On Thursday Dmitry Medvedev, who served as Russia’s President from 2008 to 2012 and is currently deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said the United States had stoked “disgusting” Russophobia.

“It will not work – Russia has the might to put all of our brash enemies in their place” he said. Russia has accused the West of perpetrating a “Russophobic plot to tear Russia apart.” Russia adds that any movement in forging ties with the West after the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union “is now over” and it will “develop ties with other powers such as china.”

During a Thursday St. Patrick’s Day address given by President Joe Biden, he said countries were “standing together against a murderous dictator, a pure thug who is waging an immoral war against the people of Ukraine.”

President Biden had received criticism for not immediately labeling Putin a “war criminal” until weeks after the invasion of Ukraine began. Russia responded to Biden’s comments against Putin on Friday.

“Given Mr. Biden’s irritability, his fatigue and sometimes forgetfulness…which ultimately leads to aggressive statements, we probably will not give any sharp assessments so as not to cause more aggression” said Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov.

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Russians bomb theater where civilians were seeking shelter

Russians bomb theater where civilians were seeking shelter

Wednesday morning Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to United States representatives and President Biden in a desperate plea. He also played a video showing the horrors the Ukrainian people are living through.

Zelensky said to President Biden, “I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the death,” he said. “President Biden, you are the leader of our great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means being the leader of peace.”

Zelensky stated, “remember Pearl Harbor…Remember September 11th…Our country experiences this every day, right now, at this moment, every night for three weeks now.” Being able to “close the skies over Ukraine” means the U.S. could shoot down Russian aircraft that flies over Ukraine in an act of war.

Zelensky once again asked for a ‘no fly zone’ over Ukraine so Russian aircraft could not attack from above. Also, Zelensky suggested creating a new union of “responsible countries” that have the “strength and consciousness to stop conflict immediately.” That would be done by imposing sanctions, providing humanitarian support, and as a result, would “keep peace” and “save the world and save lives.”

“If such an alliance existed today, we could save many lives in our country.”  Zelensky also proposed that the U.S. sanction all politicians in the Russian Federation; those who are “responsible for aggression in Ukraine.”

Zelensky also asked that American companies halt doing business in the Russian market immediately and suggested ports should be closed for Russian goods. “Peace is more important than income.”

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Zelensky to Biden: ‘Being Leader of the World means being the Leader of Peace’

Zelensky to Biden: ‘Being Leader of the World means being the Leader of Peace’

Wednesday morning Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky spoke to United States representatives and President Biden in a desperate plea. He also played a video showing the horrors the Ukrainian people are living through.

Zelensky said to President Biden, “I see no sense in life if it cannot stop the death,” he said. “President Biden, you are the leader of our great nation. I wish you to be the leader of the world. Being the leader of the world means being the leader of peace.”

Zelensky stated, “remember Pearl Harbor…Remember September 11th…Our country experiences this every day, right now, at this moment, every night for three weeks now.” Being able to “close the skies over Ukraine” means the U.S. could shoot down Russian aircraft that flies over Ukraine in an act of war.

Zelensky once again asked for a ‘no fly zone’ over Ukraine so Russian aircraft could not attack from above. Also, Zelensky suggested creating a new union of “responsible countries” that have the “strength and consciousness to stop conflict immediately.” That would be done by imposing sanctions, providing humanitarian support, and as a result, would “keep peace” and “save the world and save lives.”

“If such an alliance existed today, we could save many lives in our country.”  Zelensky also proposed that the U.S. sanction all politicians in the Russian Federation; those who are “responsible for aggression in Ukraine.”

Zelensky also asked that American companies halt doing business in the Russian market immediately and suggested ports should be closed for Russian goods. “Peace is more important than income.”

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