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People Smuggler Disguises SUV as Border Patrol Vehicle

united-states-637713_640Border Patrol agents near Laredo stopped a Chevy Tahoe and arrested twelve passengers and the driver, all whom were immigrants trying to get into the United States illegally. The Chevy was painted to look like one of the agency’s vehicles with “Border Patrol” and “U.S. Customs and Border Protection” on the sides, an official-looking insignia and a green stripe.

Omar Zamora, an agent with the Border Patrol Rio Grande Valley sector, said any Border Patrol agent would have recognized it as a fake. “There’s no fender on any of our vehicles. They are pretty bare and about as high as we can get them because we go off road.”

Over the years there have been many attempts to make law-breaking vehicles look innocent – delivery and telecoms trucks are common – but pretending to be a Border Patrol vehicle is rare. Zamora said, “In the 18 years I’ve been in Border Patrol we’ve seen UPS, FedEx, Time Warner trucks, any kind of clones. Any business you can think of. The smugglers are trying to clone it to avoid law enforcement detection.”

Border Patrol said this is the first cloned unit in recent memory in the Laredo area and has urged the public to call law enforcement if they see something suspicious.

Governor Greg Abbott ordered Texas National Guard troops to remain at the Mexico border, renewing once more the mission that started in 2014. As many as 1,000 armed troops were on duty at one time, but December is supposed to be the end of this deployment.

More than ten thousand unaccompanied children – double the number in the same two months last year – crossed from Mexico to the US in October and November. Abbott said, “Texas will not sit idle in the face of this challenge. We will not be victimized as a state by a federal government’s apathetic response to border security.”

US Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R Gil Kerlikowske said the Border Patrol works well with all the agencies in the area, including the Guard.  Kerlikowske described the surge of Central American children and families, who normally turn themselves over to Border Patrol agents, as a “border management issue” and not a “security issue.”

Governor Abbott approved a record $800 million in state border security spending earlier this year. He also ordered the Texas Department of Public Safety to increase patrols in the air and on the Rio Grande.

Clearly, there are right ways and wrong ways to go about immigrating to the United States. If you would like legal advice regarding your immigrant status, please get in touch with Lyttle Law Firm for assistance. You can send an enquiry through the website or call 512-215-5225.