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Porous US Mexico Border Due to Millions of Dollars in Bribes

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo - Dec 29, 2016, 1:37 pm
The US Department of Homeland Security has worked hard to root out corruption within its ranks (
The US Department of Homeland Security has worked hard to root out corruption within its ranks (Eje Central).

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The US newspaper The New York Times conducted an investigation into the internal records of the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which reveals that millions of dollars in bribes have weakened the security of the US-Mexico border.

One of the cases that the investigation details is that of Joohoon David Lee, a Homeland Security agent in Los Angeles, who was assigned to investigate the case of a Korean man who was accused of sex trafficking. However, the investigation was not completed, because Lee requested USD $13,000 in bribes in exchange for “making migratory problems go away” for the subject and his relatives.

Lee also presented a false report in which he indicated that although the individual was suspected of sex trafficking, there was no evidence to prove it, according to court records. Lee’s official report noted: “Case closed. No further action is required.”

Lee was later implicated by another agent who told the authorities about his colleague’s malfeasance. Lee pleaded guilty and received a sentence of ten months in jail.

According to the New York Times investigation this was not an isolated case. Thousands of court records and internal documents indicate that in the last 10 years nearly 200 employees and workers hired by the Department of Homeland Security have received over USD $15 million in bribes.

The investigation reveals a litany of serious crimes committed by “public servants” including selling green cards and other immigration documents, altering databases, and providing sensitive information to drug cartels.

US President-elect Donald Trump has said throughout his campaign that border security would be one of his top priorities, yet many of the problems presented here are issues of personnel, rather than infrastructure.

“It is irrelevant to talk about the construction of walls or even more severe measures, if the integrity of the immigration system can not be ensured when there is fraud and corruption within the ranks of its own employees,” said an internal affairs official with the Department of Homeland Security who asked to remain anonymous.

The employees who have been detained for accepting or requesting bribes account for less than 1% of the more than 250,000 that make up the DHS. However, investigators indicate that only a small group of people can pose great danger to US border security.

“Any amount is bad, and a single person can do a lot of damage,” said John Roth, an inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security.

US border security has been strengthened by fences, drones, and sensors so drug cartels have had to change their strategy: “It makes sense for cartels to try to corrupt border interdiction agents” said Fred Burton, head of security at Stratfor, a global intelligence company, adding, “It’s very similar to the tactics and craft used by foreign intelligence services during the Cold War.”

Source: Milenio

Elena Toledo Elena Toledo

Educator by trade, social-media apprentice, activist for a democratic Honduras, and free thinker. Follow her on Twitter @NenaToledo.

Activist Linked to Cristina Kirchner Imprisoned on Corruption Charges

By: Raquel García - @venturaG79 - Dec 29, 2016, 12:39 pm
Social activist Milagro Sala has been accused of diverting funds intended for construction of homes (

Español A court in the province of Jujuy in northern Argentina has sentenced social activist Milagro Sala to three years probation, but she must remain in custody for other corruption allegations. A federal court found the leader of the organization Tupac Amaru guilty of causing damage in a protest in 2009 against then-senator and current governor of Jujuy, Gerardo Morales. The court found her responsible for the crime of aggravated harm as an instigator. In a related case, the same court acquitted her on the charge of making criminal threats. Read More: Argentina and US Sign Agreement to Share Tax Information Read More: Argentina Survived Cristina Kirchner's Economic Traps "For crimes of this nature, the law establishes a sentence such as this, not exceeding three years, subject to certain measures or guidelines of conduct that the court establishes," said federal prosecutor Federico Zurueta in statements recorded by Reuters. The case of Milagro Sala has been under the microscope of international human rights organizations that have asked for her immediate release. The United Nations (UN), the Organization of American States (OAS), the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch (HRW), among others, consider that her pretrial detention since January of this year is arbitrary and violates the standards of international civil and political law. googletag.cmd.push(function() { googletag.display('div-gpt-ad-1459522593195-0'); }); Sala, who is also a deputy of Cristina Kirchner's party in the Parlasur (Mercosur parliament), was arrested on January 16, 2016 following a charge related to property damages in the protest against Morales. Several days later she was released, but she was subsequently arrested again for allegedly diverting AR $29 million (USD $1,809,600) that was destined for the construction of houses. Argentine president Mauricio Macri has pointed out that this case is a matter of Jujuy's judicial system, although he called attention to the crimes of which Sala is accused in that province. "Most of the Argentine people are in agreement that there were a number of significant crimes committed by Sala, which merit a full investigation. It is important that this information be shared with the world," the President said at a news conference earlier this month. Last week militants of the Tupac Amaru, Kirchner officials, and deputies clashed with police at the doors of the courthouse where the trial was being held. "I feel a lot of internal pain for the injustice we are living because we have not stolen anything. We have worked, we have given dignity to thousands of people," Sala said in her statement before Wednesday's verdict. "That was our sin," she said. Source: Reuters, La Nacion

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