We met in the dining room of the Bahia. 26 of us attended the luncheon, including our guest speaker, Kim Smith. Ken Dufour presided and called on Leo Fracalosy to give the invocation. Leo expressed his gratitude for all the wonderful things that we are blessed with, and for having been born in this wonderful country, that we pray for good health for ourselves and for our families and friends, and that we be allowed to continue to do the good things for those less fortunate. Richard Swinney followed by leading us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Ed Romeo brought the recent edition of the Oasis Newsletter and also a copy of the Newport Navigator. He stated that the Spring Edition of the Navigator will have an advertisement for the Field of Honor.....Gina Lesley announced that there were 19 of our members who attended the 100th Anniversary Celebration of the Theodore Robins Ford Dealership last Saturday evening, of which our own Dave Robins is co-owner with his brother, Bob .....Gina also promoted the next Flag Rehab meeting at the Newport Beach Utility Yard, which was held last Saturday morning. Missing from the photo below was Pres. Ken, who took the picture. Ken also expressed his appreciation for all those who participated in the four rehab sessions to date..... Hope Manzaneres, who is currently the Chief Philanthropy Officer of the Priority Center, has been approved by our Board for full membership in our club. Any member with an objection, please notify Richard Swinney before Thursday.
This week’s speaker was introduced by Pres-Elect Shirley Lashmett. Kim Smith is and has been employed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) for 20 years and has been volunteering to work in El Paso, TX. Kim is the daughter of Ed Kohlmeyer, who was a long-time member of ECNH a few years back. Kim presented her eyewitness perspective on the process and living conditions involving the wave of immigrants at our Southern border. She stated that there currently aren’t enough employees of Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to handle the influx of immigrants, so government workers from both the TSA and CBP and a large number of other organizations under the umbrella of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) were asked to work as paid volunteers for 6 or 12-week periods.
CBP is responsible for patrolling 7,500 miles of border (Alaska, Canada, and Mexico). The U.S. shares 1,954 miles of border with Mexico over 4 states, and there are 48 ports of entry. There are approximately 21,000 CBP individuals patrolling all 7,500
miles of border. Kim states that there were 7,000-15,000 immigrants/week presenting themselves at the border, although there has been a recent increase. When immigrants turn themselves in at ports of entry, they are zip-tied, all their possessions are searched, and what they are allowed to keep (wallets, cash, jewelry, medications, phones, chargers, i-pads and religious items) are placed in a large plastic bag which is sealed and transported to the detention center. At that location, they are checked for lice, scabies, open sores, or injuries. A file is established at that time for individuals and families. The individuals are then examined by physicians for communicable diseases, then taken to shower, given clothing, identifying wristbands, and some toiletries. They are not permitted to keep anything else that they came in with,. Immigrants are interviewed extensively, and must have a sponsor to enter the U.S. They include people from Guatemala, Venezuela, El Salvador, Columbia, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Uganda, Brazil, Peru, and a few from Russia and Ukraine Less than 2% of immigrants come from Mexico. Not everyone is allowed in; those who have no legitimate sponsor or reason to be given asylum will not be allowed to enter. In many cases, especially involving Venezuelans, Columbians, and Guatemalans, individuals might be returned to their port of entry in handcuffs and chains because of their flight risk. Once they arrive by bus at the port of entry, they may be flown back to their country of origin, at taxpayer expense. Individuals who make it in and are detained are fed three meals a day; burritos for breakfast and lunch; hot chicken sandwiches for lunch and dinner, apples, granola bars, snacks, and bottled water. They are adequately clothed, and the rooms that are used for sleeping quarters are comfortable. Individuals are detained for 3-5 days depending on how long it would take to process their paperwork. While detained, special people are employed to watch and report on any fights or attempts at molestation, so that these incidents do not occur. Generally, immigrants are well cared for. However, many of the paid personnel are upset because the benefits and privileges given to the immigrants, including free medical care, food, and housing, are unavailable to U.S. citizens including themselves.
When leaving the detention center, the immigrants are given ankle bracelets and phones so that authorities can locate them, as they are given court dates for which they must be present. Only 11% of immigrants show up for court dates. If caught without showing up, they are sent back, but they often return and try again.
Kim rendered her opinion that we have major problems involving the citizens of our own country, such as homelessness, mental health, and poverty in the inner cities and elsewhere, and that we should be first using taxpayer money to resolve these problems rather than making it easier for non-citizens to enter our country.
Thank you, Kim, for a very interesting and informative presentation!
Feb 16 - Business Meeting
Feb 23 - Dave Robins: History of Theo Robins Ford
Mar 2 - Sara Verschueren, Newport Beach P.D.: “Home Breakins, Home Security”
This week’s meeting will be held at the Newport Rib Co... Lunch will be served at 12:10 p.m. You will be emailed an invitation two days before the meeting. Please notify Richard Swinney by this Wednesday at 2 pm if you are planning on attending.