McALLEN, Texas – As the Obama administration struggles to define the current wave of unaccompanied minors as a tale of refugees escaping violence, government border officials are telling a frighteningly different story of the infiltration of criminal gang members and confessed murderers along with thousands of potential recruits.
Some 70 percent of the youths – boys and girls alike – have been raped or otherwise sexually assaulted on their dangerous trip north to the Rio Grande, according to officials.
Chris Cabrera, a Border Patrol agent for nearly 13 years and a vice president in the National Border Patrol Council Local 3307, spoke to WND and Rep. Steve Stockman, R-Texas, in an exclusive interview at the Rio Grande border in McAllen, Texas, Saturday.
WND asked Cabrera what the Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security do when they find out an illegal immigrant teenager from Central America is a gang member or a murderer.
“What do we do?” he answered. “Well, they haven’t committed a crime in the United States, so they’re good to go, and we send them north, even if they admit they have committed a murder.”
Previous WND stories from McAllen, Texas:
Cabrera said a few of the admitted murderers are in detention centers in the northeastern and central U.S. waiting to be reunited with their families.
Though many would be regarded as juveniles in the eyes of U.S. justice, he said, they have committed serious, even capital-offense felonies in their home countries. Cabrera observed that “a 15 year-old and gang member in Honduras is a lot more mature than your 15 year-old from the average school down here in Texas.”
He said many will confess to their crimes.
“Sometimes they say, ‘I murdered two people,’ or ‘I’m a gang member,” he explained. “The gang members are proud of their gang ties. And if that doesn’t tell you, then usually the tattoos on the face, the necks and the hands will give it away. But they’re not shy about telling you, ‘Yeah, I’m a gang member.’”
‘Fulfillment operation’ for MS-13
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., was sharply critical of the Obama administration in a WND interview Saturday evening in McAllen.
“What it comes down to is that we are providing the fulfillment operation of a violent, international, criminal enterprise,” she said, referring to MS-13
She said that without “that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow,” the coyotes could not extract the $6,000 to $9,000 per person they demand for safe passage to the Rio Grande.
Bachmann backed up her claim with hard facts provided to her and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, at various Border Patrol and DHS congressional-level briefings held along the Texas border Saturday.
She noted that at a briefing at a DHS-contracted shelter, DHS explained that 80 percent of the “unaccompanied minors” are teenagers between 14 and 17 years old, 80 percent are male and somewhere between 60 to 70 percent of the girls were raped, sexually assaulted or victimized.
She asked about the boys and found the percentage of victims was about the same.
“Just to be sure, I asked the question three or four times at the shelter, and I got the same answer,” she said.
Bachmann said DHS was briefing members of Congress that of the 50,000 members of MS-13 in the world, some 10,000 are known to be operating now in the United States.
“If there are already 10,000 members of MS-13 here, with an established beachhead for this violent, criminal, international enterprise, think of the new potential recruits MS-13 have, including those who were raped and victimized in the process of getting here and crossing the border illegally,” she said.
King, who was with Bachmann at the DHS briefing, confirmed her analysis of the “unaccompanied minors” entering the U.S. illegal from Central America.
“So far, we have about 57,000 of these unaccompanied minors from Central America that have just entered the United States illegally, up through June 15,” he noted.
“And when you do the math, it’s 80 percent male and 80 percent between the ages of 14-18, gang members or prime-age candidates for gang recruitment,” he said. “It’s staggering.”
It means, he said, the United States has just let in “something like 37,000 current members or future recruit candidates for MS-13 and other criminal Hispanic gangs operating in the United States.”
Bachmann confirmed neither the Border Patrol nor the DHS is taking biometric identification of the Central Americans under age 14. With no fingerprints, digital photos, retina scans or DNA swabs, the children under 14 are merely self-identifying at the Border Patrol intake processing station.
“My judgment is that no federal law prohibits taking biometric identification for the younger Central American kids entering the United States illegally,” King insisted. “I even asked local law enforcement the same question, and local law enforcement said they could biometric identification of illegal immigrant at any age.”
King put all the information together from the various Border Patrol and DHS briefings he had attended, creating a frightening picture of the potential future danger to the United States.
“We are scattering these unaccompanied minors all over the country by taxpayers paying for Health and Human Services when we have no positive way of identifying the ones 14 years old or younger,” King said.
“And we’re releasing them to a family member, even a godparent, who we also know virtually nothing about, not even if they are the family members they claim to be,” he said.
“Think of it, some 37,000 Central American teenagers disbursed by taxpayers throughout the country when we don’t know for sure their identities; but we do know many have acknowledged to be members of criminal gangs currently, and we know a lot of the others are prime recruits for the Hispanic criminal gangs once we get here.”
Administration knew invasion was coming
Bachmann said she found evidence the Obama administration was anticipating the onslaught of young illegal aliens.
The huge, DHS-contracted shelter facility operated by a non-profit group was given was up and running in January.
“The facility was new, all decked-out, with classroom facilities and everything, and it looked to us like it was a ‘school-in-a-box’ prepared in January, evidently because the Obama administration knew back then that this teenager invasion from Central America was on the way,” Bachmann said.
She said DHS explained the children don’t speak English and can’t read and write when they arrive.
“So DHS is evidently preparing to teach them,” she said. “DHS had enough time to get the non-profit group to have this facility up and running by the 23rd of January this year.”
Bachmann told WND the DHS briefings disclosed that 100 percent of the teenage girls trying to get into the United States from Guatemala were found to be on birth control pills.
“These young women just assume they’re going to get raped,” Bachmann said. “Quite a few of all these girls from Central America end up pregnant when they finally get to enter the United States. What we saw is that the young women who get here are with babies or very young children, and many of the others are pregnant.”
Bachmann and King confirmed DHS statistics indicated that of the 20 percent “unaccompanied minors” from Central America who are not teenagers, very few come alone, arriving either with their mother or an older sibling.
WND interviewed Sister Norma Pimentel of the Missionary of Jesus, the executive director of the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley at Sacred Heart Church in McAllen, Texas.
She explained the Sacred Heart parish facility was accommodating about 200 Central American immigrants every day, mostly mothers with infants or small children.
“The Department of Homeland Security really has no facility to release mothers with small children,” she explained, “so we have invited DHS to release the families with children to come here.”
She explained that it’s not a permanent shelter.
“We are a transit center. We help get these people back on their feet so we can put them on a bus with the supplies they need to travel to where their families live in the United States.”
The large facility provides the Central American families with new clothing, food and basic hygiene, including the first shower many have taken after more than a month of traveling. They also get professional medical care provided by volunteer physicians in a portable trailer-based medical facility on the property. And they get a place to sleep along with assistance in contacting their families in the United States.
At the Sacred Heart facility, Pimentel permitted WND to interview several mothers who described in simple terms the difficulties of the trip north through Mexico.
One 21 year-old mother from El Salvador told WND she had taken 18 days to travel from her home to the Rio Grande with her 2 year-old daughter and had been at the Border Patrol processing center for two days.
She explained she had a cousin in Washington, D.C., and that the journey had been especially difficult for her because she lacked the $6,000 to $9,000 required to hire the assistance of a coyote guide in Mexico.
“There are a lot of rape cases along the way,” Pimentel explained. “It’s sad these women have to go through what amounts to be horrible stories from the time they lave their countries to the time they arrive here. It’s not until they reach this spot that they are able to relax, to feel human again.”
WND asked Pimentel how her staff and volunteers deal with the psychological damage done to the women and mothers in their journey north.
“I don’t know if we have the time here to deal with the psychological damage,” she admitted.
“At this point, if you give an opportunity, they break down and start crying. What we are trying to do here is simply to care for the basic needs that they have. When they reach a point where they can actually talk, and open up and deal with the psychological trauma, it’s going to take more than just a moment of sitting down.”
Pimentel recalled one young woman in particular.
“I remember one young woman when she took a shower here started crying because it was the first time since she left her home country that she had a chance to feel cared for and relax, not being afraid.”