Saturday, October 16, 2004

Other Than Mexicans from Mexico

Today's The Australian follows up on last week's report from The Washington Times that U.S. intelligence officers have learned of the infiltration in July of 25 Chechen Islamic terrorists via northern Mexico into Arizona. The Australian reports that the Department of Homeland Security is so overstretched it has taken to releasing those it calls OTMs (Other Than Mexicans) because it cannot house them until deportation hearings can be arranged. Those not deemed to be dangerous are driven to a bus station where they embark for New Jersey or California. Fewer than 30 percent of the OTMs released actually return for their hearings. According to Cathy Travis, a senior aide to veteran Texas congressman Henry Ortiz, "We have heard from border patrol agents that they're being told to let people who look like they're from East Africa and the Middle East go because they say their name is Juan Pablo Garcia from Guatemala - except that they don't speak a word of Spanish." Congressman Ortiz claims that intelligence reveals al-Qaeda has worked with El Salvadorean criminal gangs. There are also reports of Brazilians being recruited to accompany Arabs who illegally cross the U.S. border. If they are apprehended, the groups say they are Brazilian, knowing that they are apt to be released, since there are few border patrol agents who can speak Portuguese.

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|| headland, 12:14 PM

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