El Paso, Texas - U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers working at ports of entry in El Paso, West Texas, and New Mexico identified and took custody of 60 imposters during the past week. Imposters generally will use a legitimate entry document assigned to another person and present it to CBP as their own in an attempt to gain entry to the United States.
"Some of these cases involve felons who have been previously removed from the country and are barred from legal reentry," said Ana Hinojosa, U.S. Customs and Border Protection director of Field Operations in El Paso. "CBP officers are stopping these dangerous people in their tracks. This is an extension of our mission of protecting the homeland, the United States of America."
Imposters with previous criminal histories are generally booked into the El Paso County jail to face federal prosecution. Imposters are also removed from the United States for a minimum five year period and face federal felony charges if they attempt to illegally reenter the country again.
The 60 imposter arrests made up the majority of the 106 immigration related infractions CBP officers uncovered at area port during the previous seven days. CBP officers stopped 27 intended immigrants during the last week. In these cases, individuals will use a legally issued border-crossing card (laser visa) to live or work in the U.S., which is not authorized. Violators generally lose their documents and are returned to Mexico. CBP officers also recorded 19 cases of people making false claims to U.S. citizenship; people attempting to enter with counterfeit or altered documents, people attempting to enter without inspection and visa overstay violations.
Thorough exams and name queries also resulted in the identification of 35 people who were being sought by law enforcement on a wide variety of charges. Fugitives were wanted for assault, drug possession, contempt of court, traffic offenses and other violations.
"Some are routine apprehensions however at times we do encounter people pose a risk not only to our community but also law enforcement," said Hinojosa. "It is not uncommon to encounter a fugitive who is considered armed and dangerous."
CBP officers working at El Paso area ports made 16 marijuana seizures during the week, seizing 1,050 pounds of the drug.
CBP agriculture specialists working at area ports made 11 seizures of prohibited food and agricultural items this week, resulting in $3,125 in fines being assessed. Prohibited items seized this week included raw pork, ham, lard, potatoes, guavas, citrus leaves and live plants.
While anti-terrorism is the primary mission of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the inspection process at the ports of entry associated with this mission results in impressive numbers of enforcement actions in all categories.