Illegal border crossings rise in South Texas as Congress debates immigration reform
(CBS News) A few thousand protesters hit the streets in Los Angles Wednesday to demand citizenship for illegal immigrants.
The protesters hope to influence Congress, which is working on comprehensive immigration reform.
In a new CBS News/New York Times poll, we asked how many favor a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants if they meet certain conditions, including a waiting period.
In favor were 83 percent. Fourteen percent opposed.
In Texas, just the debate itself is drawing new immigrants over the border.
Juan Mercado lives on border property his family has owned since the 1850s. Immigrants often sneak across there. But since January, the number has tripled.
"I'm being invaded by people who have no permission to be on my property," Mercado said. "By smugglers, by illegals."
This surveillance video recorded last month near McAllen, Texas, shows some 40 men, women and children crossing into the United States.
Border patrol agents in the Rio Grande sector tell CBS News apprehensions have risen from 2,800 in January to 7,500 in March.
Agent and union representative Chris Cabrera says some of the immigrants are from as far away as Brazil. The improving U.S. economy draws most, but Cabrera says many are under the impression that immigration reforms being discussed in Washington may allow them to remain.
"Once the first group gets across they call their family, they call their friends and let them know, 'hey the time is right, come on over,'" he said.
In McAllen recently, agents had to use their station's carport to process 800 people who'd been caught.
"The people in Washington think they have this idea that the border is safe, the border is secure," Cabrera said. "I think they need to come down here and take a look."
Members of Congress from border states insist immigration reforms be tied to adding more guards, cameras and drones. The border patrol is shifting agents from Laredo to the Rio Grande sector.
But Juan Mercado plans to rely on his own security system: A gun.
"I get a clip, and its ready to go," he said.
A personal line of defense on the front lines of a national debate.
Congressional Delegation notifies state and local law enforcement of federal grant opportunities
COPS grants assist state and local law enforcement agencies with staffing and training needs
WILMINGTON — U.S. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons, and U.S. Congressman John Carney notified Delaware's state and local law enforcement agencies of two federal grant opportunities available through the Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Program. The two grant programs now in an open application period include the COPS Hiring Program (CHP) and the Community Policing Development Program (CPD). CHP applications must be submitted before 8:00 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22. The deadline for CPD applications is 5:00 p.m. on Friday, May 24.
“Last month's tragic events in Boston remind us of just how important state and local law enforcement is for our communities,” said Senator Carper. “The COPS programs can help Delaware's state and local law enforcement agencies hire more police officers to keep our communities safe and prevent dangerous crimes. I encourage any police department in the First State looking to boost the capacity of their force to apply for these helpful federal grants.”
“As the tragic events in Boston unfolded last month, our country witnessed the critical role police officers have at containing a disaster and apprehending the criminal,” Senator Coons, chair of the Senate Law Enforcement Caucus, said. “Every day our officers put their lives on the line to protect our communities from danger. It's funding like the COPS Hiring Program that ensures our police departments are adequately staffed and have the resources they need to hire and retain officers. I hope police departments across Delaware will apply for this important grant program that will help keep our neighborhoods safe.”
“The tragic events in Boston provided yet another reminder of the critical role first responders play in our daily lives. Keeping our communities safe must be the top priority,” said Congressman Carney. “The grants made available through the COPS program gives law enforcement the staff, training, and resources they need to protect our neighborhoods and themselves. I urge any state or local police department looking for such support to apply.”
The COPS Hiring Program is a competitive grant that provides funding directly to state and local law enforcement agencies to hire or re-hire additional officers in support of community policing and crime prevention efforts. Awardees may receive up to 75 percent of the approved entry-level salaries and fringe benefits of each newly hired and/or rehired full-time officer, up to $125,000 per officer position, over a three-year grant period. More information can be found at http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2367.
Community Policing Development Program funds are used to advance the practice of community policing in law enforcement agencies through training and technical assistance, the development and documentation of innovative community policing strategies, applied research, guidebooks, and best practices that are national in scope. The program is open to all government agencies, profit and nonprofit institutions, universities, community groups, and faith-based organizations. Proposals should be of national relevance, significantly advance the field of community policing, and demonstrate an understanding of community policing as it pertains to the application topic. For more information, please visit: http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/Default.asp?Item=2682.