Archive for the ‘Border Patrol’ Category

Agent Brian Terry’s Family Issues A Statement Regarding Holder’s Resignation

Monday, October 6th, 2014

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, a member of the Border Patrol’s elite tactical unit known as BORTAC, was murdered while tracking members of a suspected drug cartel “rip crew” on December 14, 2010, near Rio Rico, Arizona.  Two semi-automatic assault rifles similar to AK-47s were found at the murder scene and ultimately traced to the botched gun trafficking investigation known as “Operation Fast & Furious.”  Agent Terry’s family has issued the following statement regarding U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s resignation:

“Eric Holder’s announced resignation as Attorney General of the United States is long overdue.  Under Holder’s watch, the Department of Justice and ATF orchestrated the failed gun trafficking investigation known as Operation Fast and Furious.  During this debacle, over 1,200 assault weapons were allowed to make their way to the Mexican drug cartels and were subsequently used in numerous acts of violence.  Two of these weapons were discovered at the murder scene where United States Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in December 2010 near Rio Rico, Arizona.  Seven members of a Rip-Crew employed by the Sinaloa drug cartel have since been indicted for Brian’s murder.

Despite Holder’s aggressive pursuit of the Mexican nationals directly involved in Brian’s murder, the Attorney General has repeatedly failed to accept responsibility for the ill-fated gun trafficking investigation and has most regrettably failed to hold those DOJ and ATF officials responsible for the many mistakes made in the operation.  Despite repeated pleas by Brian Terry’s family, Holder has chosen to not discipline those individuals found at fault by DOJ’s own Inspector General.  Despite the clear and present danger that exists even today to law enforcement and the general public on both sides of the border, Holder has repeatedly refused to hold government officials accountable for the deadly mistakes made in Operation Fast and Furious.

Immediately after Brian Terry’s murder, Holder’s Justice Department inexplicably denied that ATF had ever “walked” guns despite the obvious testimony of ATF whistleblowers that were part of the operation.  Moreover, Holder has continually failed to cooperate with Congress and has withheld records sought by investigators looking into Operation Fast and Furious.  Holder’s resignation is welcomed by the Terry Family and should have occurred immediately after Brian Terry’s death and the revelation that the men that killed Brian were carrying weapons supplied to them by ATF.  It is the hope of the Terry Family that Holder’s departure will lead to full disclosure of the thousands of documents still sought by investigators still looking into Operation Fast and Furious.  It is also our hope that the next Attorney General will do a far better job at protecting the American public and guarding the many rights guaranteed in the Constitution.”

Ralph Terry on behalf of the Terry Family

To make a donation to the Brian Terry Foundation, visit the Foundation’s website here.

Border Patrol Agents With Cameras Are Patriots

Tuesday, June 17th, 2014

President Obama’s manufactured “humanitarian crisis” in Texas is getting prime coverage on nearly every network nearly every day.  Tens of thousands of illegal alien minors are storming the Texas/Mexico border and Obama’s DHS is doing nothing to stem the onslaught. In fact, Obama’s DHS is furthering the smuggling effort by transporting minors to interior locations where they are united with illegal alien friends or relatives. The public was made aware of this national embarrassment by photos of incredibly overcrowded conditions inside Border Patrol holding facilities.  The Border Patrol Agents who leaked those pictures are Patriots.

Border Patrol Agents are generally forbidden from providing photos to the media without prior authorization from agency headquarters.  There are legitimate reasons for restricting the release of internal documents and images, but Obama’s DHS is implementing operational policies that are clearly chaotic and dangerous. The Agents responsible for revealing the situation did so while fully aware they were violating policy and putting their careers in jeopardy. They collectively made a choice to place public safety and border security above political ideology.  I applaud their sense of duty and they should take comfort in the knowledge that their actions will be directly responsible for moving the Obama administration toward a solution that better reflects the will of the American people.

They should also remember that careers are still very much in jeopardy.

Demonizing The Border Patrol Is Part Of Comprehensive Immigration Reform

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

President Obama has taken extraordinary steps to restrict immigration law enforcement in our nation’s interior.  Ex-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was all too willing to support Obama’s anti-enforcement ideology by implementing enforcement policies that effectively gifted amnesty to millions of illegal aliens.  Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have had their hands tied to such an extent that an illegal alien who slips past the Border Patrol now faces little risk of being arrested and deported.

The Obama Administration has done an incredible job of framing the narrative and blunting the well-deserved criticism that such anti-enforcement policies would normally prompt.  As I’m sure you’ve heard, Obama has taken “humanitarian” steps to prevent families from being “torn apart” by a “broken immigration system.”  Vice President Biden has gone so far as to assert that illegal aliens living in the U.S. are actually Americans.  These declarations tell you everything you need to know about the Obama Administration’s commitment to enforcing our immigration laws.

While ICE’s operational effectiveness is relatively easy to restrain with anti-enforcement guidelines, Border Patrol operations cannot be overtly impeded without drawing considerable fire.  The American public overwhelmingly supports secure borders and many politicians currently holding office got there on a secure border/national security platform.  The citizenry has developed an appreciation for the difficult job Border Patrol Agents perform and support for the agency’s overall mission has seldom wavered.  However, that support and the agency’s public standing are now being methodically eroded by organizations exploiting the Obama Administration’s indifference toward effective border enforcement.

The Border Patrol took a sustained media beating when DHS refused to release their use-of-force policy.  The public was justifiably outraged and DHS never attempted to provide a credible explanation for refusing to disclose lethal force guidelines. The Border Patrol was not responsible for this absurd lack of transparency, but DHS was content permitting the Border Patrol to bear the brunt of widespread media condemnation.  I have yet to speak with any Border Patrol Agent, at any level, who believes withholding the use-of-force policy was a sound decision.

A continuing media criticism of the Border Patrol revolves around the “secrecy” of agent-involved shootings.  The public has a legitimate interest in learning the results of a shooting investigation and media outlets don’t understand why an investigation may take years to complete.  The Border Patrol serves as the primary media target for untimely shooting investigations, but the FBI and/or local authorities are responsible for investigating Border Patrol shooting incidents.  DHS has steadfastly refused to provide the public with a detailed investigation protocol for agent-involved shootings, resulting in persistent misdirection of anger and frustration.

DHS has taken complete control of public information operations throughout the Border Patrol.  Reporters requesting elementary information are forced to file formal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests that oftentimes take months to process.  Chief Patrol Agents no longer have the authority to publicly address community concerns without authorization from “communication professionals” who must review and approve every correspondence with news organizations.  Proper “messaging” is prioritized over responsiveness and timeliness.

Anti-immigration enforcement organizations like the ACLU and the American Immigration Council are churning out bogus reports that make outrageous allegations of abuse and corruption.  DHS has conspicuously failed to respond with a full-throated defense of the agency’s personnel or its critical public safety/national security mission.

Gutting border enforcement operations will be much easier for the Obama Administration if the public believes the Border Patrol is an out-of-control agency in need of restraint and redirection.  The destruction of public confidence in the agency’s integrity and utility is now viewed as an achievable goal by historic anti-enforcement organizations.  If the Border Patrol has been reduced to an ineffective, demoralized agency by the time Obama leaves office, he will consider it a notable success.

American Immigration Council Report Of Border Patrol Abuse Lacks Merit

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

The American Immigration Council (AIC) is a Washington-based special interest organization whose mission statement includes “…shaping how Americans think and act towards immigration now and in the future.”  In furtherance of their effort to shape how Americans think, AIC released a report titled, “No Action Taken: Lack of CBP Accountability in Responding to Complaints of Abuse.”  As the title suggests, AIC believes Border Patrol Agents routinely abuse aliens and citizens alike while carrying out their law enforcement function.

Border Patrol Agent applicants undergo a rigorous, thorough screening process prior to being hired.  However, just like every law enforcement agency in America, the Border Patrol suffers its share of behavior anomalies and individual misconduct.  It is important to note that of the 809 complaints lodged against Border Patrol Agents during the three-year time period AIC examined, 324 (40%) had not yet been fully investigated.  The AIC report is anything but a credible, unbiased examination of abuse allegations and their foregone conclusions are revealed in the text of the report.  The following was taken from the AIC report synopsis on their website:

“For years it has been reported that U.S. Border Patrol agents routinely ignore the constitutional and other legal rights of both immigrants and U.S. citizens. More precisely, agents of the Border Patrol are known for regularly overstepping the boundaries of their authority by using excessive force, engaging in unlawful searches and seizures, making racially motivated arrests, detaining people under inhumane conditions, and removing people from the United States through the use of coercion and misinformation.”

Border Patrol Agents are rightly held to the highest standards of conduct.  The American public has every right to expect behavior that is above reproach and accountability should be demanded whenever there is an individual or collective failure.  However, hit-pieces like this AIC report are designed to malign the Border Patrol and marginalize immigration law enforcement in order to further an open border agenda.  You may assess AIC’s reliability by visiting their website here.

A Border Patrol Agent Will Soon Face An Unwarranted Media Attack

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

In a post I wrote on March 8, I lamented the media’s mischaracterization of Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher’s use of force memorandum to agency personnel.  The national media was positively giddy about the compulsory “limitations” and “restrictions” on the use of deadly force against attackers using “only” rocks in their endeavor to kill a Border Patrol Agent.  The media has persisted with their erroneous reporting to such an extent that much of the general public may now believe Border Patrol Agents will not resort to deadly force when faced with a potentially lethal rock assault.

As I wrote in my previous post, Chief Fisher did not expand the historical limitations on the use of deadly force in any way.  When attacked with any instrument likely to cause death or great bodily harm, a Border Patrol Agent is authorized to use sufficient force, up to and including deadly force, to neutralize the threat.  The horribly inaccurate reporting regarding the Border Patrol’s use of force policy will have real consequences.

In the not-too-distant future, a Border Patrol Agent will find it necessary to use deadly force in order to survive a rock assault.  The media, having incorrectly convinced themselves and the public that responding to a rock assault with deadly force is prohibited, will publicly crucify the Agent.  There will be demands for firing and prosecuting the Agent who intentionally disobeyed a nonexistent policy that was wholly contrived by media hype.  Chief Fisher will be raked over the coals for not providing sufficient oversight to ensure adherence to a policy he never wrote.

The Border Patrol will be wrongly identified as a rogue, out-of-control law enforcement organization in dire need of increased oversight.  Illegal alien support groups like the ACLU and La Raza will clamor for Congressional hearings and there will be a determined effort to link stalled immigration reform legislation to border violence.

There are some unearned troubles bearing down on the U.S. Border Patrol…

Gil Kerlikowske Confirmed As Commissioner At CBP

Monday, March 10th, 2014

Gil Kerlikowske was nominated by President Obama to head U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last August.  The U.S. Senate confirmed his appointment last week.  Kerlikowske takes over at a critical time at CBP and his leadership skills will be put to the test from day one.

Kerlikowske has law enforcement experience dating back to 1972 and he served as the Chief of Police in several municipalities, including an extended tour of duty as Seattle’s Police Chief.  Most recently, Kerlikowske served as President Obama’s Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.  His career has not been without some controversy, but his résumé would indicate he is qualified for the job.

Kerlikowske visited a number of Border Patrol sectors during his stint as the ONDCP Director and he has made an effort to reach out to CBP personnel since his nomination for the Commissioner’s post.  I am consistently hearing that Kerlikowske is saying he right things and there is a great deal of hope among field personnel that the new Commissioner will steady the CBP rudder.  I wish him well.

The Media Gets It Wrong – Again

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

The national U.S. Border Patrol Chief, Michael J. Fisher, issued a memorandum outlining guiding principles on the use of force to all field personnel yesterday.  The national media descended into a feeding frenzy.  A sampling of the “informative” headlines follows:

Border Patrol Restricts Shooting At Rock Throwers – Border Patrol Reverses Course On Guidelines Regarding Use Of Force – Border Agents Told To Avoid Lethal Force – Border Patrol Issues New Rules On Shooting – Chief Admonishes Border Patrol On Use Of Force – U.S. Border Patrols Ordered To Limit Shootings – Border Patrol Told To Stop Shooting At Vehicles, Rock Throwers – Border Patrol To Limit Use Of Deadly Force Against Rock Throwers

If any of these headlines were true, I would be one of the first to publicly demand Chief Fisher’s resignation or removal.  Any policy or operational directive that would increase the significant dangers already faced by Border Patrol Agents would be indefensible.  Not surprisingly, none of the headlines described Chief Fisher’s directives accurately.

In his instructions to the field, Chief Fisher reinforced the notion that agents should seek a tactical advantage in each situation and avoid taking actions that might place themselves or others at unnecessary risk.  The Chief reiterated the long-standing policy that deadly force may only be used in situations where an agent has a reasonable belief, based on the totality of the circumstances, that the subject of such force poses an imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to the agent or another person.

After several reads of Chief Fisher’s memorandum, I was unable to identify a single segment that instructed agents to hesitate when lives were in jeopardy.  There is nothing in the memorandum that directs or encourages agents to assume unreasonable risk before using appropriate force.  The historical limitations on the use of deadly force have not been expanded and I read nothing in Chief Fisher’s directives that increase the risk of injury or death to Border Patrol Agents, illegal border crossers or the public at large.  Read Chief Fisher’s memorandum in its entirety here.

IRS Aids And Abets Illegal Alien Identity Thief

Monday, February 24th, 2014

In what has to be one of the most nonsensical policies ever developed by our Government, the IRS refuses to notify Americans when someone has begun fraudulently using their social security number.  In this case, an illegal alien stole Robert Guenterberg’s social security number and used it to obtain credit cards, insurance, a driver’s license, cell phones and medical care.  Guenterberg and his wife, a hard working couple living in a small Wisconsin town, have spent years trying to undo the damage done to their credit rating.  One aspect of this story is particularly maddening.

While trying to clean up the credit mess caused by the theft, the Guenterbergs learned that the IRS was aware that two people were fraudulently using Mr. Guenterberg’s social security number.  Worse yet, the IRS was aware of the identity theft for nearly a decade and took no action to notify Mr. Guenterberg of the criminal activity.  The indifference and stupidity exhibited by the IRS in this case is mind boggling.

The IRS is an agency currently under siege and stories like this do nothing to secure the trust and confidence of American taxpayers.  Watch the story here, but have your blood pressure medication handy.

President Obama Plays Politics With Healthcare

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

President Obama has unilaterally deleted or modified provisions of his signature healthcare law over two dozen times.  His latest change has provoked widespread charges of “lawlessness” and criticism from both ends of the political spectrum.

Obama has chosen to delay the employer mandate for selected businesses.  He has taken this action in spite of legislative language that says the mandate “shall” take effect on a specific date.  Constitutional scholars are nearly unanimous in their belief that Obama lacks the authority to change specific requirements of legislation independent of Congressional action.  While his behavior is arguably unconstitutional, his motives are distinctively loathsome.

Even left-wing zealots like Chris Matthews have acknowledged the President’s selective implementation is designed to delay burdensome aspects of Obamacare until after the mid-term elections.  Democrats are in real danger of losing the Senate this year and the unpopularity of Obamacare’s employer mandate would likely worsen their losses.

Our President has prioritized politics over implementation of his own healthcare initiative.  Voters should remember that the negative impacts of the employer mandate have not been changed.  They have only been delayed.  Every legislator who voted for Obamacare should be held accountable by the voters this November.

Justice Slow In Coming For Agent Brian Terry

Monday, February 10th, 2014

Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was killed in a shootout with a group of heavily-armed illegal aliens in December of 2010.  The illegal aliens had entered the United States intending to steal drugs from smugglers backpacking narcotics into the U.S. from Mexico.  Agent Terry and his tactical team engaged the “rip-crew” and Agent Terry was killed in the ensuing firefight.

One illegal alien was wounded and taken into custody at the scene.  Four others escaped and fled to Mexico.  Two weapons found at the murder scene were traced to Operation Fast & Furious, a colossally stupid Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) initiative that purposely placed weapons into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.  Many, many questions remain unanswered about the Fast & Furious scandal and Attorney General Eric Holder became the first U.S. Attorney General to be held in contempt of Congress for his steadfast refusal to cooperate with Congressional investigators probing Agent Terry’s murder.

The illegal alien who was wounded during the firefight was sentenced to 30 years in Federal prison today for his role in Agent Terry’s murder.  News reports indicate that Mexico has custody of two of the four who escaped that night while two remain at large.  I am confident Agent Terry’s killers will eventually be brought to justice.

I am decidedly not confident that the Obama Administration will hold anyone inside our Government accountable for the criminal negligence that placed assault weapons into the hands of murderous Mexican thugs.

The Numbers Don’t Lie

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

The Obama Administration has been misleading the public for years in order to garner support for amnesty legislation.  Ex-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano was an accomplished liar when it came to assessing the flow of illegal aliens across the U.S. – Mexico border.  She persistently hyped the recent reduction in Border Patrol arrests as proof positive that America’s borders are “more secure than ever.”  Obama’s spin-doctors have been conspicuously silent about border security since Border Patrol arrest statistics for 2013 were revealed.

Border Patrol Agents arrested 414,397 aliens attempting to enter the U.S. illegally in 2013, a 16% increase over 2012.  The number of arrests in the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector doubled from 2012 to 2013, making that location the nation’s busiest illegal entry corridor for the first time in history.  Using the Obama Administration’s own yardstick for measuring border security, our borders are increasingly less secure.  Hardly the time to consider a blanket amnesty.

Obama’s recent willingness to consider amnesty legislation containing something less than full citizenship for illegal aliens is no more than a pragmatic political calculation.  He understands Americans have prioritized border security over amnesty and it is painfully obvious that his immigration enforcement policies are failing miserably.

As Obama’s secure border facade continues to deteriorate and the 2014 mid-term elections draw near, he is becoming increasingly desperate to lock in 11 million potential Democratic voters.  The American public and conservative legislators should not be persuaded.

Border Patrol Must Leverage Release Of Its Use Of Force Policy

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

The Arizona Republic newspaper and released a lengthy report on border shooting deaths today titled, “Deadly border agent incidents cloaked in silence.”  Reading the article, I found a number of comments and characterizations that could arguably indicate an anti-Border Patrol bias.  However, I believe the report makes a legitimate point about the lack of transparency at the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and one of its operational bureaus, Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The Border Patrol is a component of CBP and Border Patrol Agents are engaged in the overwhelming majority of CBP officer-involved shootings.  The report laments the lack of transparency in shooting investigations and questions the justification for inquiries that oftentimes take years to complete.  One of the highlighted criticisms of DHS and CBP is their continued refusal to release their use of force policy, particularly their use of deadly force guidelines.  This criticism is warranted from members of the media and it should be echoed by the Border Patrol’s top brass.

The Border Patrol’s use of force policy was available for public review until the advent of DHS and its irrational Office of Public Affairs.  There is absolutely no justification for withholding use of deadly force guidelines from public disclosure.  This ill-conceived order of secrecy was invented and implemented by the professional media handlers at DHS, not the career professionals who actually work within the confines of the use of force policy.

The Border Patrol’s standing in the communities they serve is taking a beating because of this unreasonable non-disclosure directive.  Border Patrol leadership should do everything possible to leverage a change.