Tag Archives: Border Security

US to use fake social media to check people entering country

US Citizenship and Immigration Services officers can now create fictitious social media accounts to monitor social media information on foreigners seeking visas, green cards and citizenship.

An updated Homeland Security Department review of potential privacy issues dated July 2019 that was posted online on Friday essentially reversed a prior ban on officers creating fake profiles.

A USCIS statement explaining the change says fake accounts and identities will make it easier for investigators to search for potential evidence of fraud or security concerns as they decide whether to allow someone entry into the US.

The change in policy was preceded by other steps taken by the State Department, which began requiring applicants for US visas to submit their social media usernames this past June, a vast expansion of the Trump administration’s enhanced screening of potential immigrants and visitors.

It’s unclear exactly how the creation of fake social media accounts would work given policies of platforms like Facebook and Twitter, which both specifically state that impersonation – pretending to be someone other than yourself – violates their terms of use.

Twitter and Facebook recently shut down numerous accounts believed to be operated by the Chinese government using their platforms under false identities for information operations.

“It is against our policies to use fake personae and to use Twitter data for persistent surveillance of individuals. We look forward to understanding USCIS’s proposed practices to determine whether they are consistent with our terms of service,” according to a Twitter statement. Facebook did not immediately provide comment.

Such a review of social media would be conducted by officers in the agency’s Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate on cases flagged as requiring more investigation. The privacy assessment notes that officers can only review publicly available social media available to all users on the platform – they cannot “friend” or “follow” an individual – and must undergo annual training.

The officers are also not allowed to interact with users on the social media sites and can only passively review information, according to the DHS document.

While lots of social media activity can be viewed without an account, many platforms limit access without one.

Dave Maass, senior investigative researcher for the civil liberties advocacy group Electronic Frontier Foundation, said such use of fake accounts “undermines our trust in social media companies and our ability to communicate and organize and stay in touch with people.”

He added: “It can’t be this double standard where police can do it, but members of the general public can’t.”

Mike German, a retired FBI agent and a fellow in the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security program said it’s important for strong guidelines to be in place and for lawmakers to ask lots of questions to ensure there are no abuses.

“It’s easy to conjure up a use where the use is appropriate and entirely necessary, but also where it could be abused,” German said. “It should only be used in cases where absolutely necessary.”

In January 2017, former Homeland Security Department Secretary Jeh Johnson issued a privacy impact update giving authority to USCIS to “conduct law enforcement activities including but not limited to accessing internet and publicly available social media content using a fictitious account or identity.”

But a privacy impact assessment was required to be completed first.

Reached by phone on Friday, Johnson declined to comment.

Bipartisan support for additional background checks involving social media was initially spurred by the fallout of the 2015 San Bernardino attack, which resulted in 14 people’s deaths.

In that case, the shooter Syed Rizwan Farook’s wife Tashfeen Malik gained entry to the US on a fiancée visa – a process that did not involve a social media check.

The day after the attack, Facebook found a post on a page maintained by Malik pledging her and Farook’s allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State group. The page was under an alias. Authorities have said Malik and Farook exchanged messages about jihad and martyrdom online before they were married and while she was living in Pakistan.

The two ultimately died in a gun battle with police.


Thousands of migrants take free rides home

Migrant children who have been separated from their families walk near tents at a detention centre in Homestead, Florida. Agence France-PresseMore than 2,000 Central American migrants seeking to settle in the United States have given up and accepted free rides home under a 10-month-old programme funded by the US government and run by a United Nations agency, according to a U.N. official. The “Assisted Voluntary Return” programme has paid for buses or flights for 2,170 migrants who either never reached the United States or were detained after crossing the border and then sent to Mexico to await US immigration hearings, according to Christopher Gascon, an official with the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The $1.65 million programme, funded by the US State Department, is raising concerns among immigration advocates who say it could violate a principle under international law against returning asylum seekers to countries where they could face persecution.

The returned migrants have not been interviewed by US asylum officers. But Gascon said his agency screens all participants to ensure they are not seeking US asylum and want to go back.

Gascon, head of the IOM’s Mexico mission, said the programme provides a safer and more humane means of return than the migrants could arrange on their own.

The effort https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/sites/www.humanitarianresponse.info/files/documents/files/iom_voluntary_return_-_may_10_-_en.pdf, whose scope and controversial aspects have not been previously reported, is the first by the State Department and UN to target Central American migrants in Mexico on such a large scale. The State Department would not comment on the record about its role.

Gascon said the State Department reached out to the IOM last year as caravans of thousands of Central American migrants travelled through Mexico toward the US border.

US President Donald Trump called the caravans an “invasion” and has made stemming immigration a centerpiece of his administration and 2020 re-election campaign.

Migrant advocates are particularly concerned about 347 people returned by the IOM who had been stuck in Mexico under a controversial Trump administration policy known as the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).


Court: US can reject asylum along parts of Mexico border

A federal appeals court on Friday cleared the way for the US government to forbid Central American immigrants from seeking asylum at the two busiest stretches of the southern border in a partial legal victory for the Trump administration.

The ruling from the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals allows President Donald Trump to enforce the policy in New Mexico and Texas, rejecting asylum seekers who cross from Mexico into either state. Under Friday’s ruling, US District Judge Jon Tigar’s July 24 order stopping the policy would apply only in California and Arizona, which are covered by the 9th Circuit.

The two busiest areas for unauthorized border crossings are in South Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and the region around El Paso, Texas, which includes New Mexico. Nearly 50,000 people in July crossed the US border without permission in those two regions, according to the US Border Patrol.

The policy would deny asylum to anyone who passes through another country on the way to the U.S. without seeking protection there. Most crossing the southern border are Central Americans fleeing violence and poverty, who would largely be ineligible. The policy would also apply to people from Africa, Asia, and South America who come to the southern border to request asylum.

If the policy is implemented, ineligible migrants who cross in New Mexico and Texas could be detained and more quickly deported. The US Department of Homeland Security did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday.

Under American law, people can request asylum when they arrive in the U.S. regardless of how they enter. The law makes an exception for those who have come through a country considered to be “safe” pursuant to an agreement between the U.S. and that country.

Canada and the US have a “safe third country” agreement. But the U.S. doesn’t have one with Mexico or countries in Central America. The Trump administration has tried to sign one with Guatemala, but the country’s incoming president said this week that Guatemala would not be able to uphold a tentative deal reached by his predecessor.

The US government is already turning away many asylum seekers at the southern border.

About 30,000 people have been returned to Mexico to await asylum hearings under the government’s Migrant Protection Protocols program. Tens of thousands of others are waiting in shelters and camps to present themselves to U.S. border agents at official ports of entry that have strict daily limits on asylum seekers.

Mexico’s asylum system is itself overwhelmed, and there are widespread reports of migrants being attacked and extorted . Border cities across from New Mexico and Texas include Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Reynosa, all of which are well-known for their violence and gang presence.

Tigar had ruled the policy could expose migrants to violence and abuse, deny their rights under international law, and return them to countries they were fleeing.

The appeals court ruled that Tigar’s order hadn’t considered whether a nationwide order was necessary and that there wasn’t enough evidence presented yet to conclude that it was. The court instructed Tigar to “further develop the record in support of a preliminary injunction” extending nationwide.

Judges Mark Bennett and Milan Smith voted to limit Tigar’s order. Judge A Wallace Tashima dissented.

Tigar is a nominee of former President Barack Obama. Trump previously derided Tigar as an “Obama judge” after Tigar ruled against another set of asylum restrictions last year. That comment led to an unusual rebuke from Chief Justice John Roberts, who said the judiciary did not have “Obama judges or Clinton judges.”

Trump nominated Bennett, while Smith was nominated by former President George W Bush. Tashima was nominated by former President Bill Clinton.

The American Civil Liberties Union and other legal groups sued the Trump administration after it announced the restrictions last month.

“We will continue fighting to end the ban entirely and permanently,” said Lee Gelernt, a lawyer for the ACLU.

The Department of Justice declined to comment.


Mexico detains 45,000 migrants in two months

Mexico said Wednesday it has detained more than 45,000 undocumented immigrants in the past two months, as it seeks to show Washington it is taking action to reduce migration across their shared border.

The Mexican government promised in June to take “unprecedented” steps to slow a recent surge of Central American migrants crossing its territory to the United States, after President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on the country.

Eager to show results, Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Mexico had detained 46,616 migrants from June 8 to August 11, after deploying 21,000 National Guardsmen to bolster security on its northern and southern borders.

Trump’s tariff threat has placed Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, a leftist who took office last December vowing to safeguard migrants’ rights, in the awkward position of now having to crack down on migration.

Speaking alongside Lopez Obrador at a press conference, Ebrard said the government was seeking to protect migrants traveling in unsafe conditions.

“They’re climbing onto semi trucks, using false documents, and that puts people at risk,” he said.
He added that Mexico had agreed to fund programs to create 20,000 jobs in El Salvador and 13,000 in Honduras, in a bid to fight the poverty and violence driving the recent exodus from Central America.

Mexico is urging international donors — including the United States — to fund a decade-long, $10-billion-a-year economic development package for the region in order to address the underlying problems driving migration.

The Mexican government has itself pledged $100 million for development programs in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Mexico’s border crack-down appears to be delivering results: the United States detained 82,049 undocumented migrants at its southern border in July — 21 percent fewer than in June and 43 percent fewer than in May, when detentions hit a 13-year high of 144,266.


ICE Air: Shackled deportees, air freshener and cheers. America’s one-way trip out.

GUATEMALA CITY — About 45 minutes before descent, the guards went up and down the aisle unshackling the passengers, and the mood in the cabin began to lighten. A mother with a boy near the front was still crying, but they were the only family aboard the flight. Nearly all the other 93 deportees were men, and they began joking and talking excitedly. 

Soon Guatemalan territory appeared below, misty and green. A cheer rose.

“You see? They’re smiling!” said Matt Albence, the acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who spends a great deal of time defending his agency’s core functions, including this: a one-way trip out of the United States on ICE Air. “This is probably better than some of the commercial flights I fly on.”

In its efforts to deter Central American migrants, the Trump administration reached an accord with the Guatemalan government last month that will allow the United States to begin sending planeloads of Honduran and Salvadoran asylum seekers here, in addition to Guatemalan deportees. The country has a presidential runoff vote Sunday, and both candidates have criticized the deal, which will require approval by Guatemala’s congress. Trump has threatened to wreck the struggling nation’s economy with tariffs and taxes if he is not appeased.

ICE sends about nine flights per week to Guatemala. Its government has agreed to accept up to 20, with 135 passengers each, potentially turning the country into a kind of reverse Ellis Island — a repository, far from the U.S. border, for those the United States has rejected.

Albence, a longtime ICE official, said he wanted to see the process firsthand, and he had never been to Central America’s Northern Triangle region. The day before, ICE had raided seven poultry and food plants in Mississippi, arresting 680 workers, the agency’s largest workplace sting in more than a decade. Nearly 400 of those arrested are from Guatemala.

Despite the scenes of anguished children without their parents in Mississippi, Albence called it a “textbook operation.” No one was injured, and nothing had leaked out in advance. Authorities said many families were reunited once parents were processed and issued court summonses. But some children were left alone, and ICE did not coordinate with state and local child-welfare providers.

“Our job is to enforce the law,” said Albence, who is popular at the White House and within his agency for his tough-cop demeanor and uncomplicated, unsentimental view of the job. “It’s up to Congress to make the laws or change the laws.”

[ICE defends Mississippi raids as local, state officials decry effect on children]

The flight to Guatemala originated at an airfield in Alexandria, a sleepy city in central Louisiana along the Red River. It is one of ICE Air’s five deportation hubs, along with Miami; San Antonio; Brownsville, Tex.; and Mesa, Ariz. 

ICE has a “staging facility” at the Alexandria airfield where the deportees can be held for up to 72 hours after they are transferred from detention centers along the East Coast. About half the passengers on Albence’s flight had criminal convictions, ICE officials said, but the agency provided The Washington Post with specific information for just a fraction of those passengers. 

Their offenses included drug dealing, assault and aggravated sexual battery of a child, according to ICE records. One had been arrested for “trespassing, loitering and prowling at night.” 

Some had been in U.S. jails and prisons for months or years, and for them, the flight to Guatemala was a relief, promising freedom.

The deportees shuffled to the airplane in single file along the tarmac. Private contractors and ICE staff removed their leg restraints at the jet stairway, patting down their pockets as they boarded. Many of the men appeared to be dressed in the same clothes they were wearing when they were arrested.

A Post reporter and a Univision camera crew were allowed aboard as well, though the journalists were prohibited from speaking to the detainees during the flight. Albence and senior ICE officials also boarded, along with about a dozen guards, all unarmed. 

The Boeing 737-300 was older but clean. When the cabin door closed, a sugary, cloying scent wafted through.

Many of the passengers were stoic and subdued, their handcuffs clinking softly in their laps. It was the first time on an airplane for some. In fewer than three hours, the southbound flight erased a journey that had taken them weeks or months, often ending in a risky trek through the desert to remote areas of the U.S.-Mexico border. To return to spouses and U.S. citizen children and their lives in the United States, they would have to do it again. 

A few on the plane were visibly excited, eager to see parents, children and siblings they had left behind years earlier. And when the aircraft dropped through the clouds and screeched to a halt on the runway, the cabin filled with clapping and cheers.

“We’ll all be back there in a month,” one deportee remarked in English as he and others crossed the airfield and filed into the Guatemalan government’s “Reception and Repatriation Center.” Financed with U.S. assistance, it is a dim, noisy arrival terminal with rows of seats and check-in booths staffed by clerks calling out passengers from the manifest. 

Albence thought it looked no worse “than a DMV.”

Bouncy Guatemalan marimba music echoed in the hall. Patricia Marroquín, the first lady of Guatemala, was there to greet Albence and the deportees.

A Guatemalan official gave the deportees — now “returnees” — a stirring greeting.

“You’re the lucky ones,” he told them, reminding the group that so many of their compatriots had perished during the journey to the United States. “You’re back home with the loved ones who you left here to support,” he said. “This country is and will always be your home.”

[Trump officials signed a major asylum deal with Guatemala. Now they’re trying to sell it]

Luis de Leon, 28, wanted no part of it. He was still wearing the paint-streaked work clothes he had on when he was arrested during a traffic stop in Bowling Green, Ky. 

He had been in the United States for seven years, dodging deportation. After a 2016 DUI, he said, he quit drinking. His wife and U.S.-born children, ages 2 and 4 months, were still in Kentucky.

“There is nothing for me here,” he said. “The only choice I have is to go back.”

Money-changers jostled with family members awaiting long-lost relatives, offering to change U.S. dollars into Guatemalan quetzals, calling, “Pesos, pesos, pesos.”

Stephanie Barrios, 28, stood there in the scrum, under a golf umbrella, waiting for her husband. Two years earlier, she had been deported from the United States, returning to a country she left as a toddler. In Los Angeles, where she grew up, she was in and out of juvenile detention and struggled with drug use. Now she works at a call center, making $700 a month. “I hate it,” Barrios said in unaccented English. 

A daughter, 8, is back in Los Angeles, with Barrios’s mother. Raising the child through FaceTime is awful, she said. 

“I understand where Trump is coming from, but I don’t think it’s fair that a lot of people are separated from their families without having done anything to deserve it,” Barrios said. “Especially the children.” 

Barrios does not think her husband — who runs his own auto repair shop in California — would want to remain in Guatemala. “We’re planning to stay a little while, but then we’ll go back,” she said.

Rain began falling, and Mixzer Ruiz, 28, ducked beneath an awning and opened a sack containing his few American possessions, relacing the sneakers he was wearing when police arrested him two months earlier. He had been working as a chef at a French cafe in Alexandria, Va., he said. His neighbors summoned the police during a fight with his girlfriend, he said, and suddenly he was back in a country he left a decade earlier.

“I feel great,” he said, in English. “I have my daughter here. I left when she was 2 years old.”

“I just want to see her, take some trips, celebrate my daughter’s birthday,” Ruiz said. “Then we’ll see.”

Asked later about Ruiz’s deportation, ICE officials said records show he was convicted in June of “felony aggravated sexual battery of a minor under 13 years.” Alexandria court records show he was convicted of taking indecent liberties with a child by a custodian and was sentenced June 13. He was ordered deported last month by an immigration judge.

Albence, like many Homeland Security officials, views immigration enforcement through the lens of “consequence delivery.” If migrants who cross illegally are released directly into the United States, more will come. If deportations are swift and certain, fewer will try.

For ICE, the flights have a psychological value that exceeds their seating capacity. They are a flying advertisement for U.S. enforcement, countering the sales pitch of coyote smuggling guides who promise a successful trip north.

“This is about stopping the flow before it gets to the border,” Albence said before he continued on to El Salvador. “If an individual thinks they will be removed, they will think twice about spending their life savings and taking that dangerous journey.”


680 deported in US immigration sweep

Residents here rallied around terrified children left with no parents and migrants locked themselves in their homes for fear of being arrested Thursday (Friday in Manila), a day after the United States’ largest immigration raid in a decade.

A total of 680 people were arrested in midnight raids Thursday, but more than 300 had been released by morning with notices to appear before immigration judges, said US Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman Bryan Cox.

About 270 were released after being taken to a military hangar where they had been brought, and 30 were released at the plants, Cox said. He did not give a reason except to say that those released at the plants were let go due to “humanitarian factors.”

Those released included 18 juveniles, with the youngest being 14 years old, said Jere Miles, special agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations unit in New Orleans.

Workers were assessed before they were released, including for whether they had any young children at home.

A small group seeking information about immigrants caught up in the raids gathered Thursday morning outside one of the targeted companies: the Koch Foods Inc. plant in Morton, a small town of roughly 3,000 people about 65 kilometers east of the capital of Jackson.

“The children are scared,” said Ronaldo Tomas, who identified himself as a worker at another Koch Foods plant in town that wasn’t raided. Tomas, speaking in Spanish, said he has a cousin with two children who was detained in one of the raids.

Gabriela Rosales, a six-year resident of Morton, who knows some of those detained, said she understands that “there’s a process and a law” for those living in the country illegally. “But the thing that they (ICE) did is devastating,” she said.

“It was very devastating to see all those kids crying, having seen their parents for the last time.”

On Wednesday, about 600 US Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents fanned out across plants operated by five companies, surrounding the perimeters to prevent workers from fleeing. Those arrested were taken to the military hangar to be processed for immigration violations.

Before the raid, ICE officials indicated many people would be released with a notice to appear in court because they had never before been through deportation proceedings.

Those people were not held, but probably won’t be able to resume their old jobs because the federal government alleges they are here illegally. ICE officials said others would be released if they were pregnant, had small children or had serious health problems.

ICE didn’t have much space to detain workers, even overnight, because the number of people in custody is hovering near all-time highs.

The agency has been housing thousands more than its budgeted capacity of 45,274 people, largely because of an unprecedented surge of Central American families arriving at the Mexican border.

Koch Foods, one of the country’s largest poultry producers based in the Chicago suburb of Park Ridge, said in a statement Thursday that it follows strict procedures to make sure full-time employees were eligible to work in the country.

The company said it vets the employees through the federal government database E-Verify. The company also relies on temporary workers that come through a third-party service tasked with checking employee eligibility, said company spokesman Jim Gilliland.

More than 100 civil rights activists, union organizers and clergy members in Mississippi denounced the raid, but the state’s Republican Gov. Phil Bryant commended ICE for the arrests, tweeting that anyone in the country illegally has to “bear the responsibility of that federal violation.”

In Morton, workers were loaded into multiple buses on Wednesday — some for men and some for women — at the Koch Foods plant. At one point, about 70 family, friends and residents waved goodbye and shouted, “Let them go! Let them go!”


ICE Arrests 680 Suspected Undocumented Immigrants in Mississippi Raid

Immigration officials raided five Mississippi food processing plants Wednesday, arresting 680 mostly Latino workers in a move witnesses said came with “no warning.” The operation has been described as possibly the largest conducted thus far in any single state.

After US Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 680 potentially undocumented immigrant workers in Mississippi, more than 300 of those taken into custody were released on Thursday, according to Bryan Cox, an ICE spokesman.

“All persons released were transported back to their respective arrest locations,” Cox said. “We took them all back to the plants where they were arrested. No one had to procure transportation to get themselves back.”

The Department of Justice US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of Mississippi said in a press release that approximately 30 of the detained were released on humanitarian grounds at the individual sites where they were initially encountered, and another 270 immigrants were released after being processed by HSI at the National Guard base in Pearl and returned to the place where they were originally encountered. Mexico’s foreign minister, Marcelo Ebrard, said 107 Mexican nationals had been arrested in the raids, according to Reuters.

ICE officials said they had planned the raid months ago, targeting seven plants belonging to five companies: Peco Foods, PH Foods Inc., Koch Foods, Pearl River Foods and A&B Inc. The raids happened hours before President Donald Trump visited El Paso, Texas, where gunman Patrick Crusius was charged with capital murder for a mass shooting that left 22 people dead and 26 injured.

Immigration raids were common under President George W. Bush, including one of the largest raids in a single state at a kosher meatpacking plant in Postville, Iowa, in 2008, which resulted in 400 arrests. Thursday’s raid, however, could be the largest such operation thus far in any single state, Acting ICE Director Matthew Albence told The Associated Press.


Mexico opens first government shelter for asylum seekers

The Mexican government has opened its first shelter in the border city of Juarez to house Central Americans and other migrants seeking asylum in the United States who have been sent back to Mexico to await the process.

Government officials said Thursday that the shelter at a former assembly plant in the city across from El Paso, Texas, can house 3,500 migrants.

Labor ministry official Horacio Duarte Olivares says the facility will provide shelter, meals, medical attention and access to the local labor market for migrants.

Duarte says similar shelters will open in the coming days in Tijuana and Mexicali and there are plans for one in Nuevo Laredo.

The U.S. government has returned more than 20,000 asylum seekers to wait in Mexico since the program began in January.


900 migrant children separated from parents despite court order, ACLU says

 The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on Tuesday said the federal government continues to “systematically” separate migrant children from their parents, accusing the Trump administration of violating a court order prohibiting officials from separating families unless in extraordinary circumstances where the children are in danger. 

In a court filing in the U.S. District of Southern California, the ACLU said the administration has forcibly separated more than 900 migrant children in U.S. custody from their parents since one of the court’s judges, Dana Sabraw, ordered the government to halt its controversial “zero tolerance” policy in June 2018. Along with instructing the administration to reunite all separated families, Sabraw decreed that families should not be separated “absent a determination that the parent is unfit or presents a danger to the child.”

The plaintiffs in the litigation, a group of migrant families represented by the ACLU, said the administration is violating Sabraw’s ruling, and asked the court to hold an in-person hearing “as soon as possible” and to issue more detailed guidance about “permissible criteria” for the government to separate families.

“The government is systematically separating large numbers of families based on minor criminal history, highly dubious allegations of unfitness, and errors in identifying bona fide parent child relationships,” the filing states.

The ACLU denounced a “concerning feature” about the recent and ongoing separations: About 20% of the cases involved children under the age of 5.


Trump Calls Cummings ‘Racist’ as Twitter War Escalates

President Trump heated up his feud with House Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummingson Sunday, calling the congressman “racist” shortly after his previous tweets were slammed by Democrats as racist themselves.

Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon, “If racist Elijah Cummings would focus more of his energy on helping the good people of his district, and Baltimore itself, perhaps progress could be made in fixing the mess that he has helped to create over many years of incompetent leadership,” in his ongoing criticism of the congressman for his verbal attacks on Border Patrol.

The day before, Trump also called out Cummings, calling him a “brutal bully” while noting that Cumming’s Baltimore district was in “FAR WORSE” shape than the situation at the southern border. Democrats slammed Trump’s tweets as “racist” in return, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Trump hit back, citing claims of racism against Pelosi from some progressive Democrats. He also posted that “African American unemployment is the lowest (best) in the history of the United States,” under his administration.

The population of Cummings’ district is about 55% black and includes a large portion of Baltimore. It is home to the national headquarters of the NAACP and Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Hospital. The city has struggled with violent crime, with more than 300 homicides for four years in a row. It also has infrastructure problems and a police department under federal oversight