Border Beat: Drug Gangs Prep for Pope, Border Charities Suffer, and More

Arrests of Undocumented Dips, while BP Overtime Hikes

Apprehensions of undocumented immigrants in the United States have it historic lows, according to the Department of Homeland Security. However the Associated Press reported last week that overtime pay of Border Patrol Agents is on the rise. Over the past six years DHS has paid $1.4 billion in overtime.

Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald D. Vitiello said it’s high because the hours agents work can be unpredictable. They can’t clock in and clock out like a normal 9 to 5 job. One former DHS adviser said that it’s hard to tell if the overtime system is efficient because the U.S. government hasn’t come up with a clear enough strategy to measure threats at the border.

The Heat is Getting to Mexico's Marijuana Growers --The Drought, Not the Cops

American Missionaries in MX Suffer Due to Violence

The violence in Mexico has led to a major decline in American missionaries traveling across the border. One mission director in El Paso, Texas said the drop in volunteers has been dramatic. The recent killings of American missionaries John and Wanda Casias is a clear example of why many missionaries have stopped going.

“We know that the impact of that across the rest of our country is huge and over the past three and a half years it has hurt virtually every mission agency on the border that goes into Mexico,” said Mark Pryor, regional director of the International Family Mission.

Pryor added there are many inaccurate portrayals of the violence in Mexico.

“The perception is that there is killing going on everywhere over there and that to cross the border you would instantly have to duck and hide and be afraid. That is what has impacted us the most, is people don’t want to come here out of fear.”

Border Trash is Worthy of Study Say Academics

Mexico Drug Gang Warns Rival Cartels Prior to Pope's Visit

With Pope Benedict XVI scheduled to visit the Mexican state Guanajuato next month, one Mexican drug gang hung up banners last week with a request to other cartels to keep peace during the papal visit, according to the Associated Press.

A banner read: "We just want to warn that we do not want more groups in the state of Guanajuato. Confrontations will be inevitable. You have been warned, New Generation, we want Guanajuato in Peace, so don't think about moving in and much less causing violence, precisely at this time when His Holiness Benedict XVI is coming,” reported the AP.

Banners were found in Leon and other cities in Guanajuato. The signs were taken down last Tuesday and turned over to Mexico’s federal prosecutors.

Tijuana Calling on Hipsters

Fashion Scene Booms in Hipster Tijuana

Over the past few years many fashion designers have started setting up shop in the Mexican border city Tijuana. In fact, one company started giving tours to Americans and Europeans to show off the city’s hidden secrets. Last year there was a 40 percent drop in crime in Tijuana. The city has seen a much younger, hip crowd visiting.

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