Share:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window) Photo: Lorie Shaull / CC BY-SA 2.0SWANTON, Vt. — The number of people apprehended for illegally crossing from Canada into the United States along its northern border has nearly tripled over the past three years, and a growing portion are Mexican citizens, according to federal data.One Mexican man who crossed illegally to work on a Vermont dairy farm said it was easier than trying the southern border.U.S. Customs and Border Protection statistics obtained by The Associated Press after a public records request provide new detail on what was apparent anecdotally: Along the border from Maine to Washington, 446 of the 1,586 illegal crossers apprehended in the 2019 fiscal year were Mexican, or 28%. That’s up from 20 of 558, or just 3.6%, in 2016.The numbers also increased for Romanians — many identified as ethnic Roma — and other nationalities, such as Haitians and Indians. Those tallies don’t include apprehensions for reasons other than illegal crossings, such as overstaying visas. This year’s data will likely look different because of travel impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Michael McCarthy said there’s been “a decline in illegal entries” since the arrival of the virus and the border closure, though he didn’t have specific numbers. But they’re expected to pick up again as travel resumes.A former U.S. Department of Homeland Security attache in Ottawa said she wasn’t surprised by more illegal crossings from Canada, though that total remains less than 1% of southern border apprehensions.“Like water at the lowest point, migrants will find their best way in,” said Theresa Brown, now director of immigration and cross border policy at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington.The Vermont farm worker, Diego, said he illegally crossed from Canada in 2017 because it was safer and cheaper than crossing the southern border.“The person who was going to get us across was recommended by a trusted friend and there was no risk that we were going to be cheated,” said Diego, 26, who’s from the Mexican state of Tabasco and spoke in Spanish. He spoke on condition that his full name not be used because he’s in the U.S. without authorization.Diego arrived via the northern border’s busiest sector for apprehensions: a 295-mile (475 kilometer) stretch across northern New York, Vermont and New Hampshire that had more than half the northern border arrests last year, up from 38% in 2016. An informal review of criminal cases filed against people apprehended in Vermont and upstate New York over the last two years indicates most were trying to reach areas away from the border, such as New York City.The sector’s chief border agent, Robert Garcia, attributes its increase in illegal crossers to its proximity to Toronto and Montreal and the U.S. East Coast; increased focus on security along the U.S. southern border; and changes in Canadian entry requirements.In 2016, Canada lifted its requirement that Mexican citizens apply for visas to enter the country, as part of efforts to strengthen ties with Mexico. A similar change for Romanian citizens took effect in 2017.The Canadian government “monitors its immigration system closely” and takes seriously the responsibility for the shared border with the U.S., a statement from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada said.“Visa-free travel does not guarantee entry into Canada,” it said, noting such travel could be suspended if necessary to preserve the system’s integrity.Diego said he and four adults he didn’t know flew to Toronto from Mexico, waited days in a motel before traveling overland to Montreal, then took a taxi to a town near the Quebec-Vermont border. A guide took them to the border and told them that once they crossed, they should run across a plowed field to someone who’d be waiting.“They were there and they took us,” he said. “We had the luck.”Diego said the trip cost about $2,500, and he heard the person who arranged his passage was later arrested and deported to Mexico.In another recent smuggling case, a Canadian citizen born in El Salvador was extradited to the United States and charged with running a yearslong operation that crossed people from Canada into Vermont and New York.The Border Patrol says smugglers are willing to move around. In Maine — statistically one of the quietest areas on the border — a defendant apprehended in December admitted making six trips to northern Maine in a month to transport about 12 people to New York City.“If that made the hair on the back of your neck stand up a little bit, I would say it did on mine as well,” said Jason Schneider, the Border Patrol’s acting chief patrol agent for the sector that includes all of Maine.
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Press Association Rodgers believes Balotelli is intelligent enough to realise the opportunity he has at Anfield and will settle well, moving away from the problems that have hampered his career to date. He said: “Most players I like to sit down and look in the eye and see the honesty and the humility that they have and I think that when I sat with him and I spent a bit of time with him, about three-and-a-half hours. “You know it’s a massive club and it’s a different club, it’s a family club with strong family values and as I said behaviour is very important here. “It was also about the football element. We can help improve his game, improve the consistency in his game and he was ready to take on that challenge. “He’s a very bright boy. He was very clever. He’s a really good guy and I’m excited to work with him because that’s the type of talent I like to work with – someone that we can improve both as a football player and a person.” Balotelli himself has said he is looking forward to the challenge and admits it was a mistake to have left England in the first place. The Italy international was sold by City to Milan in a £19million deal 19 months ago. Balotelli told the club’s website: “I’m happy to be back because I left England and it was a mistake. I wanted to go to Italy but I realised it was a mistake. “English football is generally better. English football is beautiful.” He added: “To play here for Liverpool excites me, but if you’re an opponent it’s difficult. “Liverpool are one of the best teams here in England. The football is very good here. It’s a great team with young players, and that’s why I came here.” Liverpool are returning to the Champions League this season after a four-year absence and Balotelli – a previous winner with Inter – has already spoken of bold ambitions to triumph again. He said: “I always start a competition wanting to win it. We will see. I want to win another Champions League for sure, because the Champions League wasn’t all mine, I was in a team. I want to take this team to the Champions League.” Balotelli was in the stands at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night to watch his new team-mates take on his former club City in the Barclays Premier League. He was pictured sitting next to injured midfielder and fellow new signing Adam Lallana. Press Association Sport understands it was planned he would meet those playing in the match before kick-off in the dressing room. The Reds completed a £16million deal to sign the maverick former Manchester City striker from AC Milan on Monday. The 24-year-old, who has also played for Inter Milan, has already had an eventful career, having mixed occasional brilliance with plenty of controversy on and off the field. Rodgers initially joked when asked what Balotelli will bring to Anfield, telling Sky Sports 1: “Trouble!” But he added: “I look at the talent – he’s a wonderful talent. “There’s no doubt he’s at a stage in his career that this might be the last chance at a big club because he needs to settle down and show maturity. “And I’ve worked with those type of players all my life, from when I worked in youth coaching. “I never had the finished article and that’s how – at times – I like it. “He’s got huge potential, but needs to come to Liverpool and be consistent because if he can do that we’ve got one hell of a player.” Rodgers’ words echo similar remarks he made about Daniel Sturridge when he signed him from Chelsea in in January 2013. Sturridge has since repaid the faith of Rodgers, scoring 36 goals in his first 50 appearances for the Reds. Manager Brendan Rodgers claims Liverpool have offered Mario Balotelli his “last chance” to thrive at the top level.
By Phil McNultyJACK Charlton, who has died aged 85, will always be remembered as one of the group of 11 England players who won the World Cup against West Germany in 1966.And yet there was so much more to the rounded, wonderful career of one of football’s legendary characters – as a player with Leeds United, manager at club and international level and also as one of the first generation of television pundits, going on to enjoy a long and distinguished career in broadcasting.Playing alongside younger brother Bobby, the Ashington-born centre-half was the late developer who went on to the greatest glory with his country.The man simply known as ‘Big Jack’, of great football stock as a cousin of Newcastle United legend ‘Wor Jackie’ Milburn, also won the game’s major club honours as part of Don Revie’s Leeds United side and was a fine manager with the likes of Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle before his wonderful spell in charge of the Republic of Ireland.Charlton’s spiky, outspoken nature was allied to a genuine, humorous, honest personality which ensured him iconic status not just as an Englishman but also as an honorary Irishman.The giant Charlton, nicknamed ‘the Giraffe’ because of his long neck and the stature that made him the scourge of forwards and goalkeepers alike – almost inventing the ploy of standing in front of keepers at corners – had a slow-burning playing career.And rather like his great Leeds central defensive partner Norman Hunter, who also sadly died recently, his no-nonsense approach often disguised the great ability he had as a footballer.Charlton’s career, if not exactly going nowhere, was lacking in direction until he fell under the guidance of Revie, who was able to harness the more maverick nature of his personality with his talent to make him an essential element of a wonderful side, going on to make a record 773 appearances for Leeds over a 23-year period as a player.He also scored 96 goals for the club, making him ninth on their list of all-time scorers.Revie brought together a group of young players and experienced hands such as Charlton alongside the likes of Hunter, Billy Bremner, Peter Lorimer and shrewd signings such as the veteran Bobby Collins and John Giles, signed from Manchester United for a paltry £33 000.After gaining promotion to the former First Division in 1964, Charlton helped Leeds reach the 1965 FA Cup final, where they lost to Liverpool, but success was just around the corner and after another losing final, the brutal two-game affair against Chelsea in 1970, they finally won the coveted trophy by beating Arsenal in 1972.The Holy Grail, the league title, was won in 1968-69, and there was silverware elsewhere such as the League Cup in 1968 and the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup (the forerunner of the UEFA Cup and Europa League) in 1967-68 and 1970-71.Charlton was never bound by the usual conventions, making him an even more colourful presence in the game.He once courted trouble with the authorities by revealing he had “a little black book” of players he intended to, shall we say, meet again on the pitch, if they had ever crossed him – one of whom was believed to be former Everton hard man Johnny Morrissey, a tough Scouser who even his ruthless team-mate Giles suggested was an adversary best avoided.The great Leeds team, and this was a great team, was somewhat overshadowed by their reputation for a physical approach, and should have won more than the honours that came their way – but his presence ensured Charlton still became one of the most decorated players of his era.It was with England, however, that Charlton wrote his name indelibly into the history books. And, like his development at Leeds, his emergence as an international came later in his career.Charlton had turned 29 when he made his England debut in a 2-2 draw with Scotland at Wembley in April 1965.He was so surprised at his call-up he subsequently asked manager Sir Alf Ramsey why he had picked him. Charlton revealed Ramsey’s deadpan response was: “I pick the best team for my pattern of play, Jack – I don’t always pick the best players.”It was a team that became champions of the world on July 30 the following year, with one of the enduring images of England’s 4-2 win after extra time against West Germany a picture of Charlton sinking to his knees, overcome by emotion, before embracing his tearful brother Bobby.“People say to me ‘was that the most memorable day of your life?’ and I say ‘not really’ because unlike our kid (brother Bobby) and Bobby Moore, I hadn’t been with them for years and years aiming for this,” Charlton told Desert Island Discs in 1996. “I’d just come in, done it and gone. The most joy as a player was winning the league championship with Leeds at Liverpool.”Charlton, who won the Footballer-of-the-Year award in 1967, went on to win 35 caps for England, the last of which came in a 1-0 win over Czechoslovakia in a group game at the 1970 Mexico World Cup in June 1970, aged 35.Following his retirement from playing at Leeds, Charlton was appointed manager of Middlesbrough in May 1973, his character proving more suited to the job than his quieter and more reserved brother, who had an undistinguished spell in charge of Preston North End.Legend has it he declined to be interviewed, simply handing the Middlesbrough board a list of what his responsibilities would be and warning any interference on the playing side would not be tolerated.Charlton was an instant success, winning promotion to the First Division with a top-class Middlesbrough side boasting a host of very fine players such as Graeme Souness, Willie Maddren, David Armstrong and many others.He stayed at Middlesbrough for four years before moving on to Sheffield Wednesday, during which time he took the Owls from the bottom of the old Third Division to promotion, reaching the FA Cup semi-final in 1983, only for defeat to soon be followed by his departure.Charlton had a short spell back at Middlesbrough as caretaker before taking over at Newcastle in June 1984 but it was unproductive and he left in 1985 – before what many consider to be the crowning glory of his managerial career.He had applied for the England job when his old boss Revie resigned in 1976 but never received a reply – instead he was appointed manager of the Republic of Ireland in February 1986.What followed was a glorious thrill ride that provided a thousand tales of Charlton’s eccentric approach (although he was perhaps wily enough to use some of that to cover up an incredibly shrewd tactical mind and superb knowledge) and a period of success that still brings a warm glow to Ireland whenever it is recalled.Charlton made good use of eligibility rules to build a formidable side with players born outside the Republic of Ireland, such as central defender Mick McCarthy and forwards Tony Cascarino and John Aldridge among others.The first sign of things to come was delivered at the 1988 European Championship when, despite losing world-class players such as Mark Lawrenson after his retirement through injury, Charlton’s side beat Bobby Robson’s England 1-0 in a group game.Ireland just failed to make it out of the group but Charlton master-minded a run to the quarter-finals of the Italia 90 World Cup, qualifying from a group that included England and The Netherlands, both games drawn 1-1, before a win on penalties over Romania and then a narrow 1-0 defeat against hosts Italy in the last eight. (BBC Sport)