Ban sought on unaccompanied minors crossing the border
SAN LUIS, Ariz. – A city councilman wants the U.S. port of entry to stop unaccompanied youths from entering the country, as a way to fight drug smuggling.
City Councilman Marco Pinzon says he wants a meeting with federal officials to discuss enforcing such a restriction. But a spokesman for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection says the agency can't bar minors from crossing the border, because no law gives it that authority.
The issue arose last month when David Lara, a San Luis resident and community activist, appeared before the council to present concerns that youth who cross from Mexico to attend schools in the Arizona border city are being recruited by drug traffickers to carry drugs. He called on the San Luis Police Department to join with school districts and police from neighboring San Luis Rio Colorado, Son., in a coordinated campaign to prevent the use of minors as drug "mules."
Pinzon in an interview said the police department has long been been aware of minors carrying across the border. In fact, he said, the problem led to creation in 2010 of its K-9 program, which pairs narcotics detection dogs with officers who walk a beat in the city.
But ultimately, he said, the solution lies with federal officials who oversee the staffing and operation of the border crossing.
"The question is why the federal government allows those youths to cross when they are not accompanied by their parents or an adult," Pinzon said. "While that continues, so will the danger that they will be used to cross drugs."
"It's an issue for which we're seeking a meeting with them and, if necessary, to put pressure at the federal level and with lawmakers" to revise policy to prevent minors from crossing the border alone.
Teresa Small, a supervisor at CBP at the San Luis port, said the agency looked forward to discuss city officials' concerns with them. But she said existing law allows unescorted minors to enter the country if they have property issued border crossing documents.
Only if a minor is carrying a fraudulent document can he or she be detained, Small said.
"Our hands are tied," she said. "We can only do what the law allows us to do."
Small said CBP officers at San Luis keep an eye out for drug smugglers among border crossers in all age groups.
Apart from efforts to stop drugs at the border, she said, CBP and the Border Patrol also visit Yuma-area junior high and high schools to talk about to students about the dangers of getting involved in drug traffickers in Mexico.
Daisy Cortes was in court earlier this week through her attorney asked for her bond to be reduced. According to published reports her attorney reported to the court that Ms. Cortes was unaware of her fathersMore >>
Daughter of suspected gunman has day in courtMore >>
The most haunted island on earth is a small island right off the coast of Venice, Italy called ‘The Island Of Poveglia. It's beautiful and deserted but it was also a body dumping ground a few hundred yearsMore >>
Spacious Island for sale; includes hotel. May need exorcism. More >>
Living in the desert southwest it's not uncommon to here our military doing what they do best. Just in case; don't be alarmed if you hear low flying aircrafts and jets flying by. This week alone you'llMore >>
Jesus Hernandez-Carlon stood before a judge to be formally charged; Carlon was arrested Monday night after a witness identified him as the man who robbed him at gun point outside a Yuma restaurant. AccordingMore >>
Man suspected of robbing someone at gun-point outside a Yuma restaurant was in court. More >>
YUMA, Ariz. (13 On Your Side) - Yuma police say a dead woman was found in a car parked at Food City on 8th Street on Tuesday night, at around 6:20 p.m. Police are investigating her cause of death andMore >>
Yuma police are investigating the death of a woman who was found in a parked car Tuesday night.More >>
Mexicali--Mexican police found a partially constructed drug tunnel near the U.S. border in Mexicali. Police said the tunnel was presumably being built by drug traffickers. Mexicali's police chief saidMore >>
Mexican police found a partially constructed drug tunnel near the U.S. border in Mexicali. More >>