Things That Matter

The Border Patrol Just Bought 33 Million Bullets And Brown And Black Bodies Are The Target

The United States-Mexico border has historically been a contradiction. On one hand, it is home of a rich and multifaceted culture that has produced great music, art and food, and where acts of everyday solidarity reveal the best of humanity. On the other hand, la frontera has also sparked fierce political debates, acts of State abuse and cruelty, and government policies that have turned it into a quasi-militarized zone. 

The border is becoming increasingly militarized and the use of new Glocks and the acquisition of 33 million rounds might just be the tip of the iceberg.

During the Trump administration, the Border Patrol has gotten an increasingly free reign over the use of lethal force, and a recent acquisition has raised red flags over the firepower of the government body in charge with dealing with border crossings and undocumented migrants and refugees. 

The total investment in ammunition might reach over $180 million in the next few years.

Credit: Bloomberg News

That is a lot of money that could perhaps be best invested in social programs or some much needed cultural awareness courses for Border Patrol officers. The rounds are sold by Winchester Ammunition Inc. and are special hollow 9mm Luger bullets. Each bullet is priced at 30 cents. 

The bullets are to be used in the Border Patrol’s new Glock G47 handguns.

Credit: The Truth About Guns

The 33 million bullets are meant to be used with the agency’s new Gluck handguns, which were bought in April in an $85 million deal. As reported by the Boston Globe, an extra 300 million bullets could be purchased over the next five years.

In a press release, Border Patrol’s aid Deputy Commissioner Robert E. Perez said: “This contract provides CBP law enforcement personnel the latest in handgun technology and represents our commitment to providing the highest quality use-of-force tools and equipment to our law enforcement personnel who defend America’s frontline every day”. We don’t know about you, but this certainly sounds like wartime talk. Well, that is probably how some law enforcement agencies see the border, to be honest. 

The bullets are basically enough to wipe out the population of a country like Australia, with a few to spare.

Credit: The Conversation

Just to give you an idea of the amount of ammunition bought by the Border Patrol, there would be a bullet for every person in Australia, with over seven million to spare. The figure is just mind blowing and puts into question the priorities of border policies. It seems that security measures and allocation of budgets echo the Trump administration’s near paranoia regarding undocumented migrants and refugees. This type of expenditures also reinforce the idea that there is a crisis in the border, and that a hoard of bad hombres are threatening the American way of life. 

The number is staggering, but there is a reason behind it that sorta justifies it… just sorta.

Credit: American Security Today

Many of these bullets are used during training sessions in which agents need to fire live ammunition. There are about 50,000 U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees that are authorized to carry a handgun. 

However, there is an increasing number of cases of misconduct among border officers, which raises red flags in relation to the amount of ammunition being made available to them.

Credit: VOA News

As Pete Norman writes in Bloomberg: “However, staff behavior has come under increased scrutiny in recent years amid President Donald Trump’s determination to build a wall on the country’s southern border to thwart illegal aliens and drugs. Criminal misconduct by border officers recently reached a five-year high, an internal government report obtained by Quartz revealed”. So putting this much live ammunition and so many guns in the hands of officers that seem to be increasingly trigger happy does not seem like a very good idea at all. 

The situation in recent years has been so dire, that Senate Democrats have introduced a new bill.

Credit: The Daily Beast

The Homeland Security Improvement Act. One of the promoters of the act, U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA),  has said in relation to this: “Since the beginning of this administration, the Department of Homeland Security has been a party to human rights abuses against immigrant children, multiple deaths in U.S. custody, abhorrent conditions in detention centers, and so much more. DHS’s actions have shocked the American people and severely damaged our nation’s standing as a safe haven for those fleeing violence and oppression. We must prevent this in the future. We must require training, oversight, and accountability within DHS to ensure the department respects the basic dignity of every person.”

Things will get interest next year come election time, and we are sure that border security issues will be key for Trump and whoever faces him.

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

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Biden Administration Says Number Of Kids In Border Custody Drops 84% Over Last Month

As recently as last month more than 5,000 children languished in jail-like conditions inside U.S. Border Patrol facilities, often for longer than the 72-hour limit set by federal law. But, according to the Biden administration, that number has dropped by 84% as the agencies charged with migrant detention make significant progress.

Questions remain, however, about where these children are being sent to instead and why there remains a need for jail-like conditions in the first place.

The number of kids in jail-like Border Patrol facilities drops 84% compared to March.

The number of unaccompanied migrant children held in jail-like conditions by US Customs and Border Protection dropped nearly 84% in the span of a month, according to a White House official. As of last Wednesday, there were 954 children in CBP facilities, down from a peak of 5,767 on March 28, the official told CNN.

The average time that kids are in CBP custody is now 28 hours, compared to 133 hours on March 28, the official said, a nearly 80% reduction in time spent in Border Patrol detention.

In an interview with NBC News this week, Biden suggested that the situation with unaccompanied children is now under control, saying, “It’s way down now. We’ve now gotten control,” and touted “significant change in the circumstances for children to and at the border.”

In recent weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services, which is responsible for the care of migrant children, has opened up a string of temporary shelters to accommodate minors. That’s allowed for an increasing number of children being transferred out of border facilities to spaces equipped to care for them at a quicker pace.

The drop in children in custody is a welcome sign given the conditions they faced.

In some cases, children were alternating schedules to make space for one another in confined facilities and taking turns showering, often going days without one, while others hadn’t seen the sunlight in days.

While the administration works to address root causes of migration, it’s also had to contend with growing numbers of children in government custody. As of April 27, there were more than 22,276 children in HHS care, according to government data.

Biden on NBC again warned Central American parents against sending children to the US.”Do not send your kids, period. They’re most — they’re in jeopardy going– making that thousand-mile trek,” Biden said. “And so what we’re doing now is we’re going back to those countries in question where most of it’s coming from and saying, ‘Look, you can apply from your country. You don’t have to make this trek.”

The shift in strategy comes as a new poll shows Americans overwhelmingly support new immigration policy.

A vast majority of Americans approve of the idea of engaging countries abroad to address the causes of migration before it happens, according to a new nationwide poll released Thursday.

Pollster Civiqs found that 85 percent of survey respondents agreed that the United States needs to engage with other countries to address migration patterns.

On a partisan basis, 86 percent of Democrats and 87 percent of Republicans, as well as 81 percent of independents, agree with that approach, according to Civiqs, which conducted the poll for Immigration Hub, a progressive immigration advocacy group.

The poll found that 57 percent of Americans accept illegal immigration when the immigrants are fleeing violence in their home countries.

That support is lower for undocumented immigrants who come for other reasons; 46 percent agree with immigrants arriving illegally to escape poverty or hunger, while 36 percent do if the migrants are seeking to reunite with family members, and 31 percent do if the migrants are looking for jobs in the United States.

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

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At Least 17 Dead And Hundreds Injured Following Massive Protests Across Colombia

A massive protest movement that swept across Colombia seems to have paid off – at least in the short term – as President Ivan Duque says that he will withdrawal the controversial tax plan that sent angry protesters into the streets. However, the protests claimed at least 17 victims who died during the unrest and hundreds more were injured.

Now that the president has withdrawn the controverial bill, many are wondering what’s next and will they have to take to the streets once again.

Massive protests claimed the lives of at least 17 people and hundreds more were injured across Colombia.

Unions and other groups kicked off marches on Wednesday to demand the government of President Ivan Duque withdraw a controversial tax plan that they say unfairly targets the most vulnerable Colombians.

Isolated vandalism, clashes between police and protesters and road blockades occurred in several cities on Saturday, and riot police were deployed in the capital.

Rights organization Human Rights Watch said it had received reports of possible police abuse in Cali, and local human rights groups alleged up to 17 deaths occurred.

After a week of protests, the government has shelved the controversial plan.

Faced with the unrest, the government of President Ivan Duque on Sunday ordered the proposal be withdrawn from Congress where it was being debated. In a televised statement, he said his government would work to produce new proposals and seek consensus with other parties and organizations.

President Duque, in his statement, acknowledged “it is a moment for the protection of the most vulnerable, an invitation to build and not to hate and destroy”.

“It is a moment for all of us to work together without paltriness,” he added. “A path of consensus, of clear perceptions. And it gives us the opportunity to say clearly that there will be no increase in VAT for goods and services.”

The tax reform had been heavily criticized for punishing the middle classes at a time of economic crisis brought on by the coronavirus pandemic. The government introduced the bill on April 15 as a means of financing public spending. The aim was to generate $6.3 billion between 2022 and 2031 to reignite the fourth largest economy in Latin America.

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