A report revealed that the socialist nation of Venezuela has been emptying prisons and sending violent criminals to the U.S., with the prisoners blending in with illegals attempting to cross the border.
The report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), relayed to Border Patrol agents, warned that Caracas has been releasing many convicted inmates from its overcrowded prisons. An undisclosed source within Customs and Border Protection (CBP) shared details of the report with Breitbart, adding that the inmates were convicted of heinous crimes such as murder, rape and extortion.
The prisoners reportedly joined migrant caravans traveling toward the border from Tapachula, Mexico. Border Patrol agents were instructed to try and look for these dangerous inmates among the illegal aliens who cross and apprehend them.
However, Border Patrol itself cannot vet every illegal immigrant apprehended due to the sheer number arriving every day.
A revelation by two Venezuelan immigrants highlighted this difficulty. According to the two men, they do not possess any documents to tell if they are criminals or not. Worse, Venezuela has no criminal database that Border Patrol agents can counter-check.
The CBP source attested to this, telling Breitbart that agents cannot pick out criminals from the throngs of illegal immigrants. “Unless we apprehend someone who voluntarily tells us they have committed a violent crime in Venezuela, we can only guess – and that doesn’t work well,” said the source. “They will more than likely be released.”
All these problems make keeping Venezuelan criminals out of the U.S. a difficult task. (Related: DHS report says Venezuela is emptying its prisons and sending criminals to America’s southern border.)
Gangs from the socialist South American nation have been known to cause violent disruptions in neighboring countries, and Americans now fear that this violence will cross over the southern border with Mexico into major cities.
Rep. Troy Nehls (R-TX) shared his thoughts on the DHS report, tweeting: “DHS confirms that Venezuela empties prisons and sends violent criminals to our southern border. [Former] President [Donald] Trump warned us about this years ago.”
The DHS report also acknowledged the role of the Bolivarian National Intelligence Service (SEBIN), the Venezuelan counterpart of the Central Intelligence Agency, in the deliberate release of violent prisoners.
Caracas’ decision to free violent prisoners was reminiscent of former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s move in 1980, mixing prisoners with refugees in a mass migration known as Mariel boatlift.
An August 1989 piece by the Los Angeles Times touched on the fates of some of the Cuban prisoners who blended in with refugees. According to the article, 169 Cuban men were held in custody at the U.S. Penitentiary in Lompoc, California – albeit segregated from the rest of the general population. The Cubans were isolated at a three-level cell block called H-Unit due to having committed more heinous crimes than the rest of the penitentiary’s population.
“Because they are Cubans who arrived in this country on the Mariel boatlift nine years ago, they are without the same constitutional protection as American prisoners,” the Times reported. It added that after serving their sentences, they were transferred to the custody of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and placed in federal prisons. The legacy INS was later split into three entities: CBP, Citizenship and Immigration Services and Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
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