A shift in messaging for Border Patrol stirs border battle debate
The uptick of violence along America’s southern border has brought the U.S. Border Patrol agency under the microscope and has raised several questions leaving many rank-and-file agents concerned as to what their job title really means.
According to the agency’s website the primary concern for those in green along the border is indeed terrorism.
“We are the guardians of our Nation’s borders, we are America’s frontline. We safeguard the American homeland at and beyond our borders. We protect the American public against terrorist and the instruments of terror. We steadfastly enforce the laws of the United States while fostering our Nation’s economic security through lawful international trade and travel. We serve the American public with vigilance, integrity and professionalism,” the Border Patrol website statement reads.
Nowhere has this point been taken to heart more than those directing policy inside Border Patrol’s hierarchy.
While the vast majority of American’s believe that fences make good neighbors, Border Patrol management has subscribed to a very different stance. After 9/11 and under the umbrella of Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol began its process to purge the agency of old school agents and filling those slots with new agents who didn’t ask too many questions.
Border Patrol’s new mission led to statements from sector chiefs along the southwest border that drew ire from residents and congressional members alike.
For example, former Laredo-sector chief Carlos Carrillo was scrutinized for making blanket statements to area residents like, “agents don’t have the responsibility of apprehending illegal immigrants” and “illegal narcotics are not on agent’s priority list.”
Carrillo emphasized that Border Patrol’s responsibility was to keep the country safe from terrorism. He even went as far to say if terrorists came into the country his agents would be ready.
However the House Judiciary Committee sees things a little differently. “Ranking Member Smith is concerned about the apparent lack of focus on illegal immigration, and he plans to write to the Department of Homeland Security demanding answers.”
Late last week another insidious incident happened along the Texas/Mexico border- a U.S. Citizen was murdered while jet skiing at Falcon Lake, a waterway shared by both the U.S. as well as Mexico. After the story gained legs, Texas Governor Rick Perry stepped in and added his opinion.
First the governor considers the shooting of a U.S. citizen on Falcon Lake spillover violence from cartels.
Word from the Texas governor’s office in Austin, says they are calling on Washington D.C. leaders to send more support along some of the country’s most dangerous borders.
A statement released by Governor Perry’s office shows the urgency Texans are facing everyday the borders remain unsecure.
“Every day drug and human traffickers exploit the southwest border…they are increasingly confrontational… which is illustrated by incidents of spillover violence…the governor has continued to urge this administration to…immediately deploy additional resources to the Texas-Mexico border, including 1,000 title 32 national guardsmen and predator drones.”
While the border may have more resources dedicated to securing the southwestern region than ever, the fact remains drugs and illegal aliens continue to head north. In fact the Arizona border has witnessed more than its fair share of trafficked narcotics by heavily armed cartel members who seem to have the first 80 miles inside Arizona under their control.
This is evidenced by the placement of numerous sign by the Federal Bureau of Land Management informing residents to not enter the region due to armed smugglers and the fact law enforcement may not be able to protect U.S. residents from dangerous criminals.
Arizona Sheriff Larry Dever from Cochise County, where rancher Rob Krentz was murdered by an alleged illegal alien, said many portions of the Grand Canyon state are out of control and has repeatedly asked from more support from Phoenix to Washington D.C. Like Texas Governor Perry, Sheriff Dever’s requests have gone unnoticed.
In an effort to warn other American’s about the dangerous border regions, Sheriff Dever traveled to Washington last week to sit on a panel for the Heritage Foundation. The hour and a half seminar focused on border issues and how best to allocate resources to the region.
Dever contends the U.S. Border Patrol has pulled back from parts of Arizona because manning those areas has become too dangerous. “You frankly have Border Patrolmen, and I know this from talking to Border Patrol agents, who will not allow their agents to work on the border because it is too dangerous,” Dever said during a CNSNews.com interview.
The Arizona lawman also says agents in the field are only doing what they are told and infers the agents in his county and beyond are capable to patrolling the border minefield, but management stifles their efforts.
“Then you have middle management and upper management that says, ‘No, it’s too dangerous right there and we’re going to cause an international incident if there’s shooting across the line, back and forth,’” Dever claims.
Dever said one only needs to look at the Bureau of Land Management signs placed in Pinal County, 70 miles north of the border, warning citizens the area was a known drug-smuggling route and they may not be safe, as a sign Americans are not protected inside U.S. boundaries.
Many Border Patrol agents have witnessed the changing of the guard
The U.S. Border Patrol was founded in 1924. Their job was to protect the southwest border and for 80 years Border Patrol’s primary mission was to apprehend illegal aliens and confront smugglers even though they were greatly outmanned.
After Border Patrol’s reorganization under DHS, David Aguilar, who was disliked by the Tucson media as Sector Chief, but was somehow elevated to Chief of the Border Patrol in mid-2004.
“For years, David was seen as a tail-kisser by numerous retirees. In fact his benefactor is his former Chief Silvestre ‘Silver’ Reyes (D-TX) who was elected to Congress from El Paso after retiring in 1996. It should be noted that I’ve long considered El Paso and Tucson Sectors to be the most corrupt in the nation,” says Andy Ramirez, president of Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council.
Evidence of this can be seen by the FBI indictments last week of Nogales, Arizona’s Mayor, Octavio Garcia Von Borstel, 29, for bribery, theft, fraud, and money laundering charges. “These charges are serious violations of the law. Because some charges involve the official actions of an elected official, they violate the public trust,” said Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard about the Democrat Mayor. “Both the mayor and his father will be held accountable and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”
Over the years Chief Aguilar not only built his power but began to implement the destruction of the patrol in numerous ways. As early as 2004 a number of key policies were changed without any objection by Aguilar who insulated himself by appointing compadres who protected him and watched his back.
Laredo’s former BP Chief Carrillo was on record for supporting “comprehensive immigration reform” aka amnesty for illegal aliens. “Those who would not ‘go along to get along’ were essentially forced into early retirement in 2006-07. Very few of the legacy chiefs remain in management positions today,” Ramirez says.
“Evidence of the policy change is first noted by the elimination of the sector that had the most apprehensions in the nation, that being Livermore BP Sector in Northern California. Their area of responsibility was California’s Central Valley, which was long a thorn of illegal alien supporters including the Mexican Government. That AOR was given to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) who became the new premier agency for interior immigration enforcement under DHS, which is something they’ve hardly made a dent in since their inception,” according to Ramirez.
Just as memos have surfaced from ICE and DHS strategizing ways to circumvent Congress and grant amnesty under the Obama Administration, the open border agenda is nothing new.
“On November 16. 2004 a Memo of Understanding (MOU) between Customs and Border Protection (really meaning the Border Patrol) and ICE resulted in the ICE Office of Investigations being given control of key investigative responsibilities (including narcotics) while neutering the Border Patrol by limiting enforcement to cross border traffic in ‘routine areas of patrol’ meaning agents remained on X’s in deterrence duty,” Ramirez said.
This MOU came on the heels of the 2004 sweeps by agents known as the “dirty dozen” who as a result of protests by the Mexican Government and Hispanic Congressmen were transferred to the border from other stations. Ramirez, who has testified numerous times under oath to Congress, says this policy began to change in a previous MOU released earlier in the year.
“Policy after policy was implemented that could only have been drafted and ordered by Mexico considering how every time Mexico screamed about any and everything, a policy change happened as requested. This would include the memo by DHS Secretary Tom Ridge who also banned ‘racial profiling’ by agents during summer 2004,” Ramirez pointed out.
As such, border enforcement and internal moral is non-existent. The fact is that the retired Chief Patrol Agents and retirees don’t even recognize the agency they built should be of concern to Americans. (NAFBPO has released their immigration reform plan to the American public yesterday).
“Their (Border Patrol) motto of ‘Honor First’ was eliminated by David Aguilar and his cabal who have destroyed 80 years of a proud legacy. What Aguilar did to the patrol without so much as a hint of protest is a disgrace and he should have been fired. His team has no operational control and that directly impacts our national security,” Ramirez contends.
This type of action has led to the Border Patrol Union’s vote of “no confidence” for management the past four years. This is the first time that Border Patrol’s union has voted a “no confidence” in management in 80 years.
Ultimately, today’s Border Patrol management should not be considered law enforcement for they are politicians and the bottom line is that BP management supports amnesty at any cost contrary to their long-held mission for 80 years.
Another longtime Washington D.C. think tank the Center for Immigration Studies has closely monitored all the debates regarding immigration policy. A recent posting by Stanley Renshon, in September of this year reveals details that should be included in any immigration reform plan.
“Establish operational control of the border: We must take action to secure our borders, and that action starts with enforcing our laws. We will ensure that the Border Patrol has the tools and authorities to establish operational control at the border and prohibit the Secretaries of the Interior and Agriculture from interfering with Border Patrol enforcement activities on federal lands,” Renshon says.
“Work with State and Local Officials to Enforce Our Immigration Laws: The problem of illegal immigration and Mexican drug cartels engaged in an increasingly violent conflict means we need all hands on deck to address this challenge. We will reaffirm the authority of state and local law enforcement to assist in the enforcement of all federal immigrations laws,” he says is necessary to satisfy the American public.
Just as with the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers plan to reform the nation’s broken immigration laws, CIS believes the common denominator is; enforcement. “This is an understandable emphasis given the public’s concern with illegal immigration and the method by which the Pledge (to America) was actually developed,” Renshon explains. “The GOP relied heavily on an interactive forum called ‘America Speaking Out’ which received comments from over 100,000 registered users. Clearly ‘control our borders’ and ‘enforce our immigration laws’ captured in a phrase what most of those who responded to the online forum wished to see done, as well as what many other Americans want and what they feel the government has been unable and unwilling to do.”
When the question of border control and immigration tactics was presented to Texas voters and published in five major Texas newspapers including, NBC Texas- “more than half of the registered voters surveyed support legislation similar to a new Arizona law that cracks down on illegal immigrants.”
According to the poll, 53 percent of 1,072 registered Texas voters said they would support the passage of tougher legislation in Texas.
However, pollster Mickey Blum said when he added the question of possible “racial profiling” as a consequence for new legislation he felt was the possible decrease in support from the 60s. “Even having said those words ‘racial profiling’ in the question, you’ve got majority support for that type of law,” Blum said. Thirty-eight percent of Texans were opposed to the new legislation, and eight percent were undecided.
This recent news must come as some concern for policy makers in Washington D.C. as their elitism ideas are clearly not resonating with the majority of everyday Americans. But the question remains if the balance of power changes in November, will the new policies be put forth and will they echo with ordinary American ideals?