CALEXICO, Calif. — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers at the Calexico downtown port of entry apprehended a 46-year-old Syrian man who attempted to sneak into the United States hidden in a railcar early Friday.
“This apprehension highlights the fact that none of our inspections are routine, especially when people purposely attempt to avoid the process,” said Calexico Area Port Director David Salazar. “CBP puts a lot of effort in identifying, vetting and prosecuting people who just don’t want to abide by the legal process of entering our country.”
The incident occurred shortly before 6:15 a.m., on March 29, when the train entered the border crossing and passed through the port’s imaging system. CBP officers noticed an anomaly on the lower side of the commercial railcar. Officers searched the area and discovered a man hidden inside a natural compartment on the outside of the railcar. Officers apprehended the man and escorted him to a secure location for further review.
CBP officers interviewed the subject and conducted a ten print query utilizing the Integrated Automated Fingerprint Identification System (IAFIS). The man was confirmed to be a citizen of Syria with no legal documents to enter the United States.
He was taken into custody and charged with 8 USC 1325 and was transported to Imperial County Jail to await criminal prosecution.
CBP officers placed an immigration hold on the man to initiate removal from the United States at the conclusion of his criminal proceedings.
CBP officers at the Calexico port of entry have apprehended 12 percent more illegal aliens in fiscal year 2019 compared to the same timeframe in fiscal year 2018 attempting to enter the country hidden in trains; many come from the Northern Triangle region of South America with varied criminal backgrounds such as burglary, battery, and drug charges.
CBP officers at the border crossings in Southern California routinely stop illegal activity, while processing millions of legitimate travelers into the United States.