Archive for the ‘Border Patrol’ Category

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 azcentral.com 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.

U.S. Border Patrol Agents Will Continue To Defend Themselves

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

The ACLU and other special interest groups have consistently been critical of the U.S. Border Patrol’s use of force policy.  The policy permits Agents to use deadly force only when a human life is in imminent danger.  The ACLU believes rock throwers should be protected from a deadly force response, regardless of the danger they pose.  (See blog post of 8/14/13 here.)  The ACLU believes a deadly force response to a rock assault is “disproportionate.”

Given ex-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano’s propensity for restrictive, liberal law enforcement policies, the ACLU believed the time was right to pressure DHS to invent a use of force policy prohibiting an armed reaction to rock assaults.  In response to the ACLU and several like-minded Congressmen, Napolitano appointed a commission to examine DHS use of force policies.  The commission produced a report that recommended prohibiting the use of deadly force against those mounting a rock assault as well as those attempting to run over an Agent with a motor vehicle.  The National Border Patrol Chief, Michael Fisher, has announced he will reject the commission’s recommendations.  Thank God.

The Border Patrol’s deadly force policy is consistent with every other Federal law enforcement agency as well as the overwhelming majority of state and local law enforcement agencies.  Using force likely to cause death or great bodily harm against an Agent justifies a lethal response, regardless of the weapon used.  Rocks are the weapon of choice along the border, but any object being wielded in a manner intended to cause death or grievous injury justifies a lethal response.  Period.

 

Investigative Reporter Andrew Becker Gets It Right

Saturday, November 2nd, 2013

Andrew Becker is a veteran reporter with the Center for Investigative Reporting.  He has long been interested in border security issues and he has written many articles regarding our nation’s immigration challenges.  On November 1st, Becker wrote an article about the sister of a high-ranking Border Patrol Agent that had been arrested for alien smuggling.  The article prompted an enormous amount of discussion within the Border Patrol, much of it negative in nature.  You can read the article here.

A couple of comments I received were critical of Becker’s writing style, claiming Becker did not “go out of his way” to limit damage to the Border Patrol’s reputation.  More important, I believe, is the fact that Becker did not go out of his way to harm the Border Patrol’s public standing.  The article was factual and fair while outlining a difficult situation that may very well damage the reputation of the Border Patrol executive as well as the organization.

Becker’s duties do not include composing stories to make the Border Patrol look good.  He has exhibited no bias against the Border Patrol in this article or any of his previous reports I have read.  Disappointment and annoyance regarding the situation at hand should be directed where they belong rather than toward a reporter doing his job.

As Predicted, Illegal Entries Are Increasing

Thursday, October 31st, 2013

I have written a number of posts predicting a significant increase in the number of aliens attempting to enter the U.S. illegally.  Those predictions, unfortunately, have now been realized.  The increase in illegal entries was entirely foreseeable because history has shown definitive illegal entry escalation whenever an “amnesty” is being considered.

Our ex-DHS Secretary, Janet Napolitano, travelled the country promoting a broad amnesty for the 11+ million illegal aliens currently residing in the United States.  She sought to garner support for the amnesty by falsely declaring, “Our borders are more secure than ever.”  Napolitano frequently pointed to a 40-year low in illegal entry arrests during fiscal year (FY) 2011 as proof that she had somehow managed to effectively secure out borders.  (There is an explanation for the artificially low FY 2011 arrest numbers that I will outline in a future post.)

As the Obama Administration intensified its push for amnesty in 2012, illegal entry arrests climbed 11 percent over the “40-year low” in FY 2011.  In FY 2013, the Border Patrol registered a 15 percent increase in illegal entry arrests over FY 2012.  As our President redoubles his effort to pass amnesty legislation, illegal entries will continue to rise and border security will be increasingly stressed.

None of this is a surprise to President Obama.  He knows exactly what he is doing.

Government Shutdown Has Hidden Impacts

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

I was assigned to the Chula Vista Border Patrol Station in the San Diego Sector when President Bill Clinton and House Speaker Newt Gingrich shut down Government operations due to a budget impasse in 1995.  As an organization, the Border Patrol experienced all the predictable uncertainty and anxiety that every Government component had to cope with.  However, the most detrimental impact on Border Patrol operations went unrecognized by the politicians responsible for the budget mess.

In 1995, sworn Border Patrol Agents were designated “essential” personnel and were required to report for duty, regardless of whether or not they were going to be paid.  Nearly all support personnel within the organization were deemed “non-essential” personnel and were placed in a non-paid furlough status.  Border Patrol Agents faced a spike in illegal activity because Mexican newspapers were erroneously reporting that all U.S. Government operations were going to be shut down.

As you might imagine, making an arrest or a drug seizure is only the beginning of a long, work-intensive process designed to result in a successful prosecution, deportation or an illegal alien removal.

Phones must be answered.  Paperwork must be properly executed and filed.  Border Patrol Agents must be dispatched.  Sensors must be monitored.  Facilities must be maintained.  Vehicles must be serviced.  “Non-essential” support personnel who normally performed these critical functions were not available, so we were forced to use Border Patrol Agents in their place.  Our operational capabilities were literally cut in half for the duration of the shutdown.

The politicians responsible for the debacle repeatedly assured the public that no Border Patrol Agents had been furloughed and that our nation’s borders were as secure during the shutdown as they had been before the shutdown.  Sadly, they were likely unaware of the real state of affairs.

This time around, Border Patrol Agents are classified as “excepted” personnel with the same requirement to report for duty.  Support personnel are classified as “non-excepted” personnel and they are currently furloughed without pay.  The situation today is like it was in 1995, but the critical support staff responsible for keeping the agency running smoothly will not have to bear the stigma of a “non-essential” label.  At least our political leaders are trying to be more sensitive while engaging in idiocy.