Wednesday, May 7, 2008
The L.A. Times reports that U.S. border authorities no longer apprehend undocumented immigrants only as they enter the country. Now they're catching them on the way out. At various times near the Tijuana-San Diego border, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers have been setting up checkpoints, boarding buses headed to for Mexico and pulling off people who lack proper documentation. The undocumented immigrants they apprehend are typically turned over to the U.S. Border Patrol for processing. Unless they have serious criminal records or numerous immigration violations, most are returned to Mexico within a few hours, the agents say. Wayne Cornelius, director of the Center of Comparative Immigration Studies at UC San Diego, said he was not aware of similar crackdowns in the past. The checkpoints make sense for intercepting contraband, but targeting undocumented immigrants voluntarily leaving the country is a "bizarre" way of handling the illegal immigration question, he said.