While visiting San Antonio, Texas, a few years back, I had a couple of drinks with an off-duty Border Patrol agent in a local bar.
I mentioned that as a young sailor long ago I had often crossed over the border from San Diego to Tijuana and I had witnessed the Border Patrol agents at work.
Like many of the cops and agents I’ve known over the years, the agent was an entertaining and enlightening storyteller. At first, he talked about his odd and amusing experiences, but later he became solemn and talked about the tragedies he had witnessed on the border, and the dangers he and his fellow agents faced every day, especially with the increase in illegal border crossings.
I thought of the Border Patrol agent when I came across a July 4 statement from the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) executive committee that stated Border Patrol agents were being unfairly criticized.
The NBPC, an organization that represents and supports non-supervisory Border Patrol agents and support personnel, stated, “The men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol have been unfairly scrutinized, criticized and attacked by radical members of Congress, Immigrant Rights groups, the Fake News Media and the general public.
“These groups have made some ridiculous allegations against Border Patrol agents, going as far as saying that Border Patrol agents make detainees drink water from toilets, that Border Patrol agents engage in child abuse with detainees, and that Border Patrol agents engage in inhumane behavior with those that come into our custody.
“These allegations are without merit and are not based in fact. To attack Border Patrol agents without evidence does a disservice to the American Public, the rule of law, and law enforcement nationwide. Border Patrol agents work tirelessly to keep our country safe and are honorable, decent and hardworking public servants that risk their lives day in and day out. These groups should be ashamed for trying to demonize us, dehumanize us and for attempting to turn public sentiment against us.”
The NBPC pointed out as an example a New York Times op-ed by Kate Cronin-Furman, a human rights lecturer and assistant professor at the University College in London, who called for “serious social costs” and the public shaming of Border Patrol agents. She suggested that immigration lawyers and journalists publish names, photos and videos of Border Patrol agents, especially in their home communities.
Another attack on the Border Patrol came from the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), an organization that announced a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest, indictment and conviction of any border patrol or ICE agent who has abused children, migrants or refugees in detention centers.
The LULAC also demanded that the United Nations and the American Red Cross be allowed to send doctors and refugee observers to inspect all “immigrant concentration camps” and that local district attorneys prosecute agents for child abuse and neglect.
And then there are the uber-critical tweets from freshman New York Democratic Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who had called previously for the abolishment of ICE, and toured migrant shelters in El Paso, Texas, this past July.
“Just left the 1st CBP facility,” she tweeted. “I see why CBP officers were being so physically & sexually threatening towards me. Officers were keeping women in cells w/no water & had told them to drink out of toilets. This was them on their GOOD Behavior in front of members of Congress.”
She later tweeted that the officers confiscated her phone and noted that they were all armed and that she was 5’4.” She also tweeted the officers were upset because she “exposed their inhumane behavior.”
According to the Washington Examiner, Miss Ocasio-Cortez screamed at the Border Patrol agents “in a threatening manner.” According to one witness, the congresswoman began screaming, crying and yelling at the Border Patrol agents at the beginning of the tour.
NBPC President Brandon Judd called on the Border Patrol to release the footage taken during the congressional tour to prove Miss Ocasio-Cortez was painting a false narrative.
New York Democratic Rep. Jerry Nadler also weighed in, calling for charges against the leaders of border security agencies for “child abuse.” Appearing on MSNBC, the congressman called the detention centers “inhuman” and “very disgusting,” and suggested that both state and federal laws were likely violated.
The critics of the Border Patrol are people who oppose vehemently President Trump’s border policies. The vocal critics should engage the president and opposing lawmakers and work on legislative solutions, rather than grandstanding and attacking Border Patrol agents.
The agents are federal law enforcement officers who enforce the laws created by Congress.
The Border Patrol agents are the good guys.
• Paul Davis covers crime, espionage and terrorism.
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