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AJC on the Border: From El Paso to Atlanta

DAY ONE

On the Border: From El Paso to Atlanta
Hyosub Shin

Porous borders make consequences for Georgia

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They call the children who spy on Border Patrol agents halcones, or hawks.

Hired by groups smuggling people into the U.S., the binocular-wielding informants camp out in aging bungalows on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. They track the movements of the agents.

When the agents aren’t around, immigrants take on the 18-foot fences along the border with bolt cutters or homemade rope ladders attached to grappling hooks. Or they muscle their way up the web-patterned barriers, using screwdrivers as handholds.

» DAY ONE:  Ports of entry the front line  |  Photos, Day 1  |  Video, Day 1

DAY TWO

Money, drugs and illegal immigration (teaser photo)
HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

Money, drugs and illegal immigration

Sierra Blanca, Texas — The local sheriff’s deputies here snap bullet-filled magazines into their rifles and patrol in groups when they go near the Mexican border.

They have reasons to be on guard in Hudspeth County. Vicious Mexican drug cartels smuggle cocaine, marijuana and illegal immigrants through west Texas and New Mexico to Atlanta and other major cities.

» DAY TWO:  Inside the detention center  |  Photos, Part 2  |  Video, Part 2

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CROSSING ILLEGALLY

On the Border: From El Paso to Atlanta
Hyosub Shin

Ports of entry the front line in battle against illegal immigration

Some illegal immigrants are gutsy — or foolish — enough to try sneaking through one of the legal ports of entry here.

Every week, authorities encounter between 80 and 100 immigration violations at these gateways, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Some people use phony documents. Others are impostors carrying stolen U.S. identification.

THE DETENTION COMPLEX

El Paso’s busy immigration detention center: ‘We get them from all over’
HYOSUB SHIN / AJC

El Paso’s busy immigration detention center: ‘We get them from all over’

This sprawling border city is both a gateway for illegal immigrants and the last stop many see before they are deported.

Just before they are expelled from the United States, many of them are held at the El Paso Processing Center, a razor-wire-rimmed detention complex next to the city’s airport.

The center held 785 detainees in late September.

LEGISLATIVE EFFORTS

Georgia officials respond
BRANT SANDERLIN / BSANDERLIN@AJ

Pending federal immigration legislation

Several comprehensive immigration bills that address border security are pending in Congress. Here are some highlights, how Georgia's delegation voted, and what they said about each measure.

Senate Bill 744: Stretching more than 1,100 pages, SB 744 seeks to unclog the legal immigration system, crack down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants and provide a 13-year path to citizenship for immigrants living illegally in the U.S.


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