Friday, July 13, 2012

Washington's Conflict With the Border Patrol

The American people want the Southern Border closed as a precondition to immigration reform. 

Many politicians in Washington, especially Democrats, want open borders, primarily to cultivate the Hispanic vote. International relations issues also arise with Mexico when American agents shoot across the border, killing Mexican citizens

A major charge of the Border Patrol, part of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is to protect the nation’s borders. It has an impossible task on the Southern border. According to a February 2011 General Accounting Office report, the agency effectively controls only 44% of the Southwest Border.

Not only must the Border Patrol fight against the heavily armed human traffickers and drug smugglers of the Mexican cartels along a porous border, but it is also constrained by Washington.

Two Administrations, those of George W. Bush and Barack Obama, have increasingly constrained the Border Patrol. A few examples will illustrate this premise.

A major, morale devastating act by the Bush Administration was the criminal prosecution of Border Patrol Agents Ignacio Ramos and Ivan Compean. They had probable cause on February 17, 2006 to fire at a fleeing trafficker, Oswaldo Aldrete Davia, who dropped 800 pounds of drugs as he fled. He was wounded in the buttocks. The agents were less than forthcoming in reporting the facts of the incident.

The normal response of the Agency would have been some form of internal discipline. However, an overzealous federal prosecutor, Johnny Sutton, criminally prosecuted them. Oswaldo was issued a “conditional visitor’s permit” to return to Texas to testify against the agents, who were convicted and sentenced to double digit prison terms. The government subsequently admitted Oswaldo lied under oath on the stand. Ramos was assaulted and beaten up in prison by other inmates. In other words, the federal government did not provide adequate protection to an imprisoned law enforcement officer.

One rumor is that the Mexican Government encouraged the prosecution.

One of President Bush’s final acts in office on January 19, 2009 was to commute the sentences, but not pardon, Officers Compean and Rojas.

The Obama Administration has been highly hostile to the Border Patrol.

The National Border Patrol Council Local 2544 in Tucson disclosed on its website DHS’s mandate that all officers are required to view a virtual learning course on “active shooters.” These are gunmen actually firing guns, such as Major Nidal Hassan at Foot Hood and the Columbine High School shooters.

Border Patrol officers are law enforcement officers, but the gist of the video is that they are expected in these situations to run and hide. Only as a last resort should they “become aggressive,” which entails “throwing things at him or her.”

We discovered three days ago that Brian Terry and his squad of elite Border Patrol agents were shooting bean bags at the cartel members who were firing assault weapons at them. Brian Terry is the slain officer next to whom two “fast and Furious” guns were found.

In short, the agents are disarmed by Washington.

The final piece of the instructional video is that the agents are advised to “call law enforcement and wait for their arrival.”

Remember, Border Patrol agents are law enforcement officers.

After disclosure by the Tucson local, which is the largest in the union, DHS has now said it will review and revise the video.

We also learned this week that DHS plans to close nine internal Border Patrol offices in Abilene, Amarillo, Dallas, Lubbock, San Angelo, and San Antonio, Texas, Riverside, California, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Billings, Montana, supposed to save money and redeploy more officers to the border. The reality is that these officers are critical in catching illegal immigrants who have successfully crossed the border.

That our agents continue to serve is a testament to their loyalty and dedication.

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