September 8, 2008

CBP cracks down on 'port runners'

By Jared Taylor
HIDALGO - Watch out, port runners.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents say they will be tracking down people who run off from secondary inspections at ports of entry.

Customs and Border Protection rolled out a new squad car that agents will use to chase and track down the "port runners," said agency spokesman Felix Garza.

Before, agents had to call on municipal and county agencies to pursue offenders - something they will continue to do, Garza said.

But having their own cruisers will help agents find secondary inspection offenders themselves, he said.

Secondary inspection is where Customs and Border Protection agents conduct more thorough inspections at points of entry. The examinations typically involve further questioning of people trying to enter the country and a thorough vehicle check.

Many times, people try to ignore agents' orders to secondary inspection because they do not have proper immigration documentation or have merchandise that is illegal to bring into the country, Garza said.

Garza said he could not pinpoint how many absconders - people who try to dodge secondary inspection - agents encounter on a daily or monthly basis. But, he said, "there are a few who do abscond."

Garza announced Customs and Border Protection's absconder crackdown efforts during a media event that staged an arrest of a port runner Monday morning at the Hidalgo port of entry.

Maximum penalties for ignoring orders to go through secondary inspection include imprisonment, a $10,000 fine and non-U.S. citizens could be deported, Garza said.

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