FLSA Lawsuit Reminder

Reminder

Deadline to submit paperwork for FLSA Lawsuit was March 31, 2014.  If you haven’t submitted your paperwork yet, they may still accept it if you submit it now.

We advise you to follow up with the law firm to see if they will receive it and accept it late.

*** Questions such as whether your letter was received can be sent directly to the law firm at the following email address: info@wmlaborlaw.com

Also if you need to change your mailing address please email the Union Secretary, Rebecca Haro, at the following email address: rharo@nbpc2554.org

Respectfully,

FLSA_Lawsuit

 

Border patrol agents long overdue

Times Record News – Printer-friendly story
Border patrol agents long overdue
SPECIAL TO THE TIMES RECORD NEWS

Friday, April 4, 2014

Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples said the recent arrival of 100 additional border patrol agents to South Texas and the Rio Grande Valley are “both overdue and welcomed news.”

“For too long, landowners in South Texas have faced the brunt of the consequences that come from a porous and understaffed border. While the frustration of ignored pleas to secure our border remains, we are both grateful and hopeful this new focus is more than a one-time effort. It is critical the attention and dedication of necessary resources continue to be concentrated in South Texas,” he said.

“This reallocation serves as an immediate reminder to Congress of the need to act now on border security and immigration reform. The sovereignty of our nation continues to be undermined. A modernized guest worker program is an essential part of securing our border and reforming our immigration system. This would allow law enforcement resources to be laser-focused on drug cartel activity and human smuggling, rather than on those entering our nation for work. With a new, market-based guest worker program featuring high accountability levels and strict enforcement, there will be no reason for anyone looking for a job to enter our country illegally.

“Texans remain grateful to our local police and sheriffs, our state DPS and federal agents who must fight these battles on a daily basis while waiting for Congress to address these much-needed reforms,” Staples continued.

Scripps Lighthouse
© 2014 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online

ER nurse honored for quick action on behalf of BP agent

Local ER Nurse honored by BP Tucson

Local ER Nurse honored by BP Tucson

Posted: Apr 03, 2014 7:14 AM PDT Updated: Apr 03, 2014 7:20 AM PDT

By Maria Hechanova – email

 

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) –

 

The U.S. Border Patrol’s Tucson Sector is honoring a local ER nurse for her quick thinking in helping an on-duty agent after he was involved in a serious auto accident.

 

Without her speedy actions, the agent could have been paralyzed from the waist down.

 

The ceremony begins this morning at 7:30 a.m. inside the Diamond Children’s Lobby at UAMC. 

 

The story begins this past January, BP Agent James Grayson had been following a possible suspect vehicle, near Sells when he crashed his car in a ditch. He was transported to UAMC where he was initially diagnosed with a shoulder fracture and was set to be discharged from the hospital; this is where Emergency Room nurse Laura Rodriguez steps in. 

 

Noting that Grayson kept mentioning pain in his back, even though previous tests showed nothing wrong with his back.  Rodriguez pushed for an additional CT scan, which revealed that Grayson had several fractured vertebrae. 

He was operated on the following day and spent a week recovering at UAMC.  

 

Thanks to Rodriguez’s persistence and quick thinking Grayson avoided the worst possible scenario – permanently paralyzed from the waist down. 

 

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now All rights reserved.

Women And Teenage Illegal Immigrants Pay Thousands To Cross US-Mexico Border, Often Raped and Sexually Assaulted By Guides

Mar 25, 2014 09:56 AM EDT

Women And Teenage Illegal Immigrants Pay Thousands To Cross US-Mexico Border, Often Raped and Sexually Assaulted By Guides

By Carlos Garcia

Child Prostitution
Child Prostitution

There is a booming business taking place on the U.S.-Mexico border: Human trafficking. Migrants who want to cross into the U.S. pay thousands of dollars to guides who use their knowledge of the land to bring them safely across while avoiding the border patrol. “Coyote” is the name given in the trade for the human smugglers who are responsible for the majority of the illegal immigration across the Southwest border.

One of these coyotes is a 29-year-old woman named “Paula”, who lives in the border city of Piedras Negras, across from Eagle Pass, Texas. She says she’s been a coyote since she was 17 years old. In the 12 years of doing this line of work, she says she has only been caught by the Border Patrol four times. Each time, her clients tell the federal agent that she is just another illegal immigrant and she gets released instead of being prosecuted as a human smuggler.

Paula and other coyotes make a very good living compared to the other economic opportunities available to them. In her case, clients will pay $1,500 to San Antonio or $1,800 to Houston, $300-400 of which goes to Paula for each client she smuggles. She usually makes a couple of trips a month.

“I feel like I’m helping them. Things are rough here,” she says. “They can earn a lot better living there, and then send money back to their families in Mexico.”

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is using more agents, better technology, and tougher prosecutions to try and stop the constant wave of immigrants trying to enter the country illegally, but Paula the coyote says it won’t stop the trade: “We move them across the way we’ve always crossed them. This work never ends; there’s always demand.”

Paula’s group walks through the night, and after doing this for a dozen years she knows where the trails are, which fences to jump, and the locations of the tanks where they can refill their water bottles, as well as the cell phone towers to use as directional guides.

After the nine-hour hike to get past the Border Patrol checkpoint on Highway 57, Paula will call someone on her cell phone and he sends vehicles to pick them up and take them to San Antonio or Houston. The next day, Paula takes a bus back to her home on the Mexican side of the border and waits for her next trip.

Increasingly, however, there is an epidemic of rape going on at these border crossings where women are sexually assaulted by the men they pay to bring them across. “When they get tired and say they don’t want to walk anymore, there are the bad coyotes who say, ‘I’m not going to argue with you. You stay here. We’re leaving.’ They don’t want to stop the trip because of one or two people. I won’t leave my clients. If they’re tired, I wait, let them rest a little, let the pain go away. Then we keep walking,” Paula revealed.

Pharmacist Maria Jaime Peña, in the smuggling town of Altar in northern Mexico, says women coming in her store, which is the last stop for many migrants before making the trek across the Sonoran desert into Arizona, often ask the same question: ‘What can I do in case I’m raped, and I don’t want to get pregnant?” Females understand they are completely at the will of the people who are transporting so they prepare themselves with contraceptives before the journey. Similarly, guides and coyotes advise their female clients to go on birth control because they know what goes on once the group goes into the desert.

One woman, a 43-year-old who recently tried crossing with her teenage daughter, started walking with the group but couldn’t keep up. One of the coyotes said he’d wait for her if he could have sex with her daughter. They refused so he abandoned them. She says they only survived because they were able to find the border patrol.

When a woman is raped in remote stretches of the border region between the U.S. and Mexico, it almost always goes unpunished. Women who are raped while crossing the border often won’t report the crime to anyone out of fear of retaliation from the crime networks who are responsible for the human trafficking trade. Victimized women are also afraid that they will get deported if they report the crime in the United States, something which is sad but true. Also, the coyotes might know where their families are back in Mexico, and they are afraid that their children or families would get killed.

Even if they do report the rape, there is a high likelihood that the culprit would still not be caught due to lack of evidence. A rape kit has to be administered by the hospital within 72 hours of the rape but if a woman is raped in the desert, by the time she gets to the hospital, it may already be too late to prove that she was raped, therefore making it impossible to identify who sexually assaulted her.

Some of the raped women will end up pregnant and try to get abortions after they have crossed over into the United States. The coyotes used to be someone that the family knew and trusted, but the industry has changed and now it is very dangerous, especially for women to cross. One woman from Nogales was brought across the border by a man under false pretenses then taken to the city of Atlanta and pimped as a prostitute for years.

Tony Estrada, a sheriff in Arizona’s Santa Cruz County, says rapes have likely increased since heightened border security has pushed migrants into remote areas of the desert and organized crime has taken over the smuggling routes. Contrary to popular belief, the US-Mexico border crossing is used by migrants from all over Central America, and even other regions. The overall number of migrants trying to cross illegally into the U.S. has dropped in the past few years, but the trip and border towns have gotten a lot more dangerous now that some of Mexico’s most brutal drug cartels are earning millions of dollars each year from the extortion and smuggling of migrants. Last year, hundreds of migrants went missing or were killed in Mexico, and more than 20,000 were kidnapped.

The drug cartels have turned the extortion of migrants into a highly sophisticated and lucrative criminal enterprise. Migrants are abducted and held for ransom until family members pay hundreds, or even thousands, of dollars. The old mom-and-pop operations have been pushed out by organized crime.

Last year alone, almost 400,000 illegal immigrants were deported, many of whom are teenagers desperate to get across into the United States. Many of those who are sent back will try again and again until they succeed because they have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Author Luis Alberto Urrea, who has written about the crime and brutality of the U.S.-Mexico border crossing, says that it’s not against Mexican law to leave Mexico at any time without papers. “You know, I was talking to one of the custodians at my university just this week, and she said: You know what’s so funny? I got here, and I had no idea I was illegal until somebody told me,” he says.

“When you think about it, a lot of the folks coming are very rural people from the deep south, you know, many of them illiterate, many people who — they don’t have access to the news. They’re just trying to get here. And they’re used to getting the better of their authorities because their authorities are out to get them.”

http://www.latinpost.com/articles/9444/20140325/exclusive-illegal-immigrants-pay-drug-cartels-thousands-to-cross-us-mexico-border-women-and-teenagers-often-face-rape-and-sexual-assault.htm

Community helped Robert Rosas Jr.’s family through

 

Community helped Robert Rosas Jr.’s family through

By CHELCEY ADAMI, Staff Writer | Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014 1:20 am

 

52856bd3f417b.image

Family of slain Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas Jr. credited the Valley community with helping them to cope during the last 4 1/2 years leading up to the sentencing of the fourth man involved in his death on Thursday.

“There’s no way I could have gotten through without the support and that’s what has kept me strong,” said his wife Rosalie Rosas. “People that didn’t even know us and who were supporting us opened my heart and made me so grateful.”

Emilio Samyn Gonzalez-Arenazas was sentenced to 40 years in prison on Thursday for his role in the July 2009 robbery and murder of Rosas. He plotted with four others to rob a Border Patrol agent of his night goggles, and on July 23, 2009, the armed group waited for Rosas, who was held at gunpoint after exiting his vehicle.

Rosas resisted, and during the struggle, Gonzalez-Arenazas and the others shot and killed him before fleeing.

In August 2010, Mexican officials arrested and extradited Gonzalez-Arenazas.

Christian Daniel Castro-Alvarez has already been sentenced to 40 years in prison, Marcos Rodriguez-Perez was sentenced to 56 years and Jose Luis Ramirez-Dorantes was sentenced to 55 years.

The fifth and last defendant, Jose Juan Chacon-Morales remains a fugitive with a $100,000 reward for information leading to arrest or location. However, he’s believed to have already died in Mexico.

Rosalie Rosas appeared in court on Thursday with her two young children, telling Gonzalez-Arenazas that she won’t raise her children to hate him and that the right thing is to forgive, according to a report by the San Diego Union-Tribune.

While she may never understand why it was her husband who died years ago, she’s come to a point of peace, she said.

“This has made me strive to live my life with greater purpose and to become a better mother knowing our two children are a gift he has left me with,” she wrote in a prepared statement. “His murder was a case that almost seemed impossible to solve but through the hard work and dedication all agencies contributed, one by one these men were brought back into the U.S.A. to be sentenced for an act they thought they would never get caught for. I always believed God would never let them get away with what they did, the life they took and family they destroyed.”

U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffrey expressed her condolences following the sentencing.

“For over four and a half years the Rosas family and Border Patrol have waited for justice to be completed against the individuals who brutally ended the life of a dedicated husband, father, son, brother, colleague, and friend,” she wrote in a press statement. “While I know there is nothing that can be done to bring Agent Rosas home again, I hope the sentences in this case provide some comfort and demonstrate that Agent Rosas and his sacrifice for his country will never be forgotten.”

The sentencing was a day “filled with many mixed emotion,” Rosalie Rosas wrote, further describing it as “the final end to a chapter of seeking justice for the evilness that ended the life of an amazing man I was honored to call my husband.”

“For those who have followed his case closely know that the torture Robert endured that night is something no agent should ever experience but serves as the reality of the evilness that exists along our border and the danger our agents and law enforcement encounter,” she explained.

Since Rosas’ death, thousands of family, friends and strangers have come together at various annual events to commemorate his life.

There have been memorial rides, a memorial relay run, and other fundraisers, drawing hundreds to each event over the last several years.

“Our law enforcement agencies from all colors of uniforms have supported and honored his sacrifice as if he was one of their own,” Rosalie wrote. “Our family is extremely grateful to our community and all our local law enforcement agencies for the outpouring support they have shown us. We have experienced the true meaning of thin blue line and what a law enforcement family is all about.”

Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or cadami@ivpressonline.com

Meth entering U.S. mainly through California, report says

latimes.com/local/la-me-border-meth-20140321,0,2610853.story

latimes.com

Meth entering U.S. mainly through California, report says

Report on transnational organized crime finds growing threat of Mexican cartels and gangs in Southern California, now a major meth entryway.

By Richard Marosi

8:15 PM PDT, March 20, 2014

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California has emerged as the major gateway for methamphetamine into the country, with Mexican organized crime groups smuggling an estimated 70% of the U.S. supply through state border crossings, according to a report released Thursday by state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris.

The 98-page report on trends in transnational organized crime also cites maritime smuggling, money laundering and criminal alliances between Mexican drug cartels and Southern California gangs as growing public safety threats.

The report’s release comes at a time of severe budget cuts at the state Department of Justice. In 2012, the Bureau of Narcotics Enforcement was shuttered, dropping the number of state-led drug task forces from 55 in 2011 to 17 in 2013. More than 60 agents were laid off, according to state officials.

The report — “Gangs Beyond Borders: California and the Fight Against Transnational Organized Crime” — calls for more funding and for the passage of tougher laws, modeled on federal laws, that target organized crime groups.

Federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Administration spearhead most anti-drug enforcement operations at the border, but state and local agencies have provided key support in recent years.

“State and local law enforcement officers are on the front lines of this fight every day,” Harris said. “Our response must include sustained funding for their work and strong coordination at all levels of government.”

One of the report’s major findings involves the surge of methamphetamine smuggling across the California-Mexico border. The amount seized at the San Diego ports of entry tripled between 2009 and 2013, to more than 6,000 kilos, or 13,200 pounds. By comparison, about 1,000 kilos, or 2,200 pounds, were seized at border crossings in South Texas in 2013.

California’s sharp increase is probably related to the rise of the Sinaloa drug cartel as the dominant organized crime group in Baja California, according to the report. The organization imports the precursor chemicals from China and India, refines the drug at superlabs in Mexico, then ships it across in vehicles into San Diego.

With many other Mexican border regions still plagued with cartel violence, Baja California provides a relatively tranquil staging area for Sinaloa-affiliated traffickers to move their drugs.

“They are the strongest players in Mexico right now and their trafficking routes come through California,” said Ami Carpenter, an assistant professor at the University of San Diego who contributed research to the report.

In a worrisome trend, state officials said that in some cases the drug is being further refined in labs in rural areas of California.

The report also calls for the creation of a multi-agency task force to stem the sharp increase in maritime smuggling. Using small but swift panga boats, Mexican smugglers in recent years have been taking to the seas to smuggle mostly marijuana onto California beaches.

Marijuana seizures from pangas increased from 3,800 pounds in 2008 to 120,000 pounds in 2012, according to the report. Most landings are on Southern California beaches, but some smugglers have reached as far north as Santa Cruz County, where two boats carrying marijuana were discovered last year.

In an effort to improve cross-border cooperation, Harris next week will lead a delegation of state attorneys general to Mexico City. The delegation is scheduled to meet with several high-ranking Mexican law enforcement officials, including the state attorney general of Baja California.

richard.marosi@latimes.com

Border Patrol chief: Agents unfairly criticized

Border Patrol chief: Agents unfairly criticized

Associated Press

Official Pic BP Chief

Official Pic BP Chief

PHOENIX (AP) — The chief of the U.S. Border Patrol defended his agency Wednesday against criticism that agents are too aggressive in using deadly force, telling the audience at a conference that he takes the issue very seriously.

Chief Michael Fisher said there’s been a mischaracterization that his employees “indiscriminately” open fire on immigrants.

Fisher, who spoke at the annual Border Security Expo in Phoenix, spent the majority of his half-hour talk giving details of the metrics the organization uses to track border security. But he devoted the final few minutes of his speech to address the controversy over the use of force.

“If you are like me, there’s nothing more terrifying than fighting for your life when you’re alone with no communication, and the thought for a split second that you may never get home at the end of that shift to see your wife and son again,” Fisher said. “The only thing that is equal to the ripple of fear is thinking of having to use deadly force against another human being.”

Immigrant-rights groups say that Border Patrol agents are trigger-happy in responding to people who throw rocks at them along the border with Mexico. Authorities say that often people throw rocks to distract agents from smugglers sneaking drugs into the U.S.

In a directive issued earlier this month, Fisher reiterated that agents shouldn’t fire their weapons unless absolutely necessary. The “level of force applied must reflect the totality of the circumstances surrounding each situation,” he said.

Fisher has said that agents have been assaulted with rocks more than 1,700 times since 2010. Agents have used deadly force in 43 of those times, resulting in 10 deaths.

Fisher said that the use of a force is a difficult topic but there are standards and policies that address it.

“We want the independent investigators to come and to assess whether that agent exercised good judgment in the application of that force,” he said.

Fisher said he was proud of the work his agents do.

He also delved into figures that show the recidivism rate for illegal border crossings has significantly decreased in the last decade. That rate dropped from a 28 to 39 percent between 2006 and 2009 to about 10 percent now, Fisher said.

Agents made 420,789 apprehensions in the 2013 fiscal year that ended in September. That’s a 16 percent increase from the prior year but still a deep decrease from levels in 2008.

More than 98 percent of those arrests were made on the Southwest border, particularly in Texas. Officials have said the increase is caused by an influx of migrants from Central America who have been arrested in south Texas.

Watch what Border Patrol Deals with On a Daily Basis