Laredo, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Laredo port of entry were extremely busy during this year's Holy Week observance with the processing of more than 400 alleged violations of immigration law and the inspection of a high influx of vehicles and passengers.
In a 10-day span from Friday, March 26 though Easter Sunday, April 4, CBP officers at the Laredo border crossings processed a total of 408 alleged immigration violation cases. Sixty-six of those cases resulted in the arrest of the individuals being processed, one of which included a felony charge of illegal re-entry after deportation against an alleged Jamaican national.
That incident occurred on Saturday, April 3 at the Lincoln Juarez Bridge when a 34-year-old male applied for admission to enter the United States as a passenger on a commercial bus. At inspection, the subject allegedly presented a Canadian Certificate of Citizenship, an Ontario Drivers License, and a Canadian Social Insurance Card as evidence of citizenship. The inspecting CBP officer noted several discrepancies with the entry documents and referred the subject for a secondary inspection. In secondary and through further investigation, the subject was allegedly determined to be a Jamaican citizen from Kingston, West Indies, Jamaica who had previously been removed from the United States. CBP officers seized the documents presented. A criminal complaint charging him with illegal re-entry after removal has been filed in federal court.
The remaining 65 alleged violations of immigration law that were reported involved persons that were processed as impostors to border crossing cards or laser visas, impostors to legal permanent resident cards, and false claim to U.S. citizenship with a document belonging to someone else. The other 342 alleged immigration violations in which the individuals were not arrested involved persons who voluntarily withdrew their application for admission or were voluntarily returned to Mexico.
The Laredo border crossing experienced a higher than normal surge in vehicular traffic due to the holiday period. In comparison to last year's Holy Week, the number of permits and vehicles processed decreased. However, the overall number of buses and passengers increased. CBP officers processed 51,868 travel permits during the 2009 Holy Week compared to 45,051 permits during this year's Holy Week. Moreover, CBP officers processed 1,272 buses with 31,874 passengers during the same time frame last year which increased to 1,273 buses and 33,114 passengers during March 26 through April 4.
"Our CBP officers' commitment to the CBP mission is admirable and their hard work and dedication was showcased during this busy holiday season with the processing of all the alleged immigration law violation cases, vehicular traffic and passengers," said Gene Garza, port director, Laredo, Texas.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of our nation's borders at and between the official ports of entry. CBP is charged with keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons out of the country while enforcing hundreds of U.S. laws.