Bridgeport attorney, drug reform crusader and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Sylvester Salcedo is urging the nation’s Homeland Security Secretary Jane Napolitano to revisit policies for “releasing persons across Bridge Number One at random hours during the day and night without coordination with their Mexican counterparts.”
Salcedo, a retired naval commander who says the nation’s war on drugs is an expensive public relations scam, returned a few days ago from Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, scene of drug cartel violence just across the U.S. border. Salcedo’s letter to Napolitano claims deportation policies force “women, the elderly and children to cross that bridge when no one is waiting for them on the Mexican side, but a motley crew of predators who take advantage of them at their most vulnerable state of heart, mind and body.” Salcedo’s full letter:
Dear Secretary Napolitano:
As a candidate for US Senate in Connecticut, I recently undertook a driving trip to Laredo, Texas, beginning on Wednesday morning, February 15, 2012. On my arrival, I decided to walk versus drive across Bridge Number One into Nuevo Laredo, Mexico to share my campaign platform of “Waging PEACE on the War on Drugs” with the Mayor, Benjamin Galvan Gomez; the Catholic Bishop of Nuevo Laredo, Gustavo Rodriguez Vega; and, the Director General of the ITM (Instituto Tamaulipeco Para Los Migrantes), Jose “Pepe” Carmona Flores.
One of the most disturbing fact that I discovered during my four hour visit is that your department has been releasing deported persons across Bridge Number One at random hours during the day and night without coordination with their Mexican counterparts. While I can understand that your department has standing orders from the president and the laws of our country to deport undocumented or undesirable persons back to their country of origin, it seems to me you have the departmental discretion in directing your staff at ICE to be more considerate and compassionate in not forcing these persons, especially women, the elderly and children to cross that bridge when no one is waiting for them on the Mexican side, but a motley crew of predators who take advantage of them at their most vulnerable state of heart, mind and body. Often penniless, broken-hearted, depressed, confused and demoralized, the last thing they need is to be coaxed or coerced into the waiting hands of an assorted group of petty bandits, and perhaps worse, organized criminal enterprises that forces them into their employ for food, temporary shelter and bus fare back to their hometowns and loved ones.
May I recommend that Laredo area ICE representatives reach out and coordinate with Mayor Galvan and Director Pepe Carmona, especially his Director of Social Assistance, Feliciano Hector Morales Gutierrez (“Hector”), who is a US citizen and military veteran? I believe a short phone call and a meeting will promote better relations between our two countries in a rapidly deteriorating situation for Mexico. For these repatriated persons, to be spared this final indignity and possible physical assaults, financial extortion and other abuses by their own compatriots would seem, to me, a small price for us to undertake by a mere thoughtful consideration of not forcing them to cross that bridge at 2:30 am.
From my brief, fortuitous meeting with US Consul General Don Heflin, I know he is familiar with, and admires Pepe Carmona’s work. I would be remiss not to mention that Mayor Galvan and Tamaulipas governor, Egidio Torre Cantu are strong supporters of the ITM.
As Americans, we can be forceful, fair and firm in our immigration policies, but I don’t believe there is room to be cruel and uncaring.
Thank you for your kind attention to this matter.
Sylvester L. Salcedo, Esq.
LCDR, USNR (Ret.)