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Tag: agents

Trump Pledges to Deploy National Guard Troops in Not-So Unprecedented Move

Distant border fence in the desert near El Paso and its Mexican neighbor Juarez.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

President Trump boldly signed a proclamation Wednesday directing National Guard troops to the southwest border in what he falsely called an unprecedented move to crackdown on undocumented immigrants.

President Barack Obama deployed 1,200 members of the National Guard to the border in 2010, President George W. Bush’s decision in 2010 to send up to 6,000 National Guard members to increase military presence at the border in a two-year operation dubbed “Jump Start.”

Under the previous presidents’ plans, the guard members built infrastructure and conducted surveillance but left the arrests and enforcement up to Border Patrol agents who were trained in border enforcements.

Trumps plans, which lacks details about the operation, would not allow troops to come into physical contact with immigrants, three administration officials told NBC News

Homeland Security announced the policy in a statement Wednesday afternoon that read, “To secure the border and make America safe, we need to deploy the National Guard. Deploying the National Guard will serve as an immediate deterrent while dramatically enhancing operational control of the U.S. border.”

The statement added the troops would “support federal law enforcement personnel … and that federal migration authorities “will direct enforcement efforts.”

Trump’s announcement, which caught some of his advisers by surprise, pledged Tuesday, Until we can have a wall and proper security, we are going to be guarding our border with the military.” 

Details like the number of troops to be involved and how long they will stay there remain unknown and are expected to be hammered out in the coming days, officials said.

Congress Rejects Trump’s Plan to Dramatically Increase Agents to Combat Illegal Immigration

ICE official, via ICE.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Congress rejected President Trump’s push for a significant increase in the number of federal law enforcement officers to combat illegal immigration.

Trump called for a dramatic increase in the number of ICE and Border Patrol agents, but Congress declined the funding, citing the agencies’ admission that it could not reach the hiring goals, Government Executive reports

The 2018 omnibus spending bill called for funding 1,000 new ICE agents, but Congress approved the hiring of just 65 additional agents

Congress also rejected Trump’s proposal to hire 5,000 new Border Patrol agents and provided funding for just 500 new agents.

“The budget request for new Border Patrol agents, in particular, was not supported by any analysis of workload and capability gaps across CBP that would be necessary to evaluate the benefits of the proposal as compared to other investments,” congressional appropriators stated.

Both agencies have been unable to meet lofty hiring goals because of recruiting problems.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI’s Failure to Diversify Its Ranks Is a ‘Huge Occupational Risk’

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

The FBI’s failure to diversify its ranks is a “huge operational risk” that diminishes the bureau’s ability to protect and serve the public, a senior official told the Pacific Standard

Despite the growing rate of diversity in private and public sector workplaces, the FBI’s agents remain predominately white men.

About 1o months before Trump fired him, James Comey called the lack of diversity “a crisis.”

“Slowly but steadily over the last decade or more, the percentage of special agents in the FBI who are white has been growing,” Comey said in a speech at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black school in Daytona Beach, Florida. “I’ve got nothing against white people—especially tall, awkward, male white people—but that is a crisis for reasons that you get, and that I’ve worked very hard to make sure the entire FBI understands.”

When it comes to diversity, the FBI has a bitter past. 

Nearly three decades ago, a group of black agents filed suit against the FBI, claiming systemic discrimination that affected performance reviews, promotions and overall workplace culture. Only about 5% of the bureau’s agents were black at the time.

A federal judge sided with the black agents, saying there was “statistical evidence” of racial bias at the FBI, resulting in a settlement in 1993.

“Still, all these years later, the most recent statistics posted publicly by the FBI indicate the bureau remains far less diverse than the population it is drawn from,” the Pacific Standard wrote. “Black agents in 2014 made up a lower percentage of special agents than they did when the discrimination lawsuit was filed, dropping from around 5.3 percent in 1995 to 4.4 percent, according to the FBI website. About 13 percent of the United States population is black. And while nearly 18 percent of the U.S. population is Latino, Latinos made up just 6.5 percent of special agents.”

Border Patrol Agents Warn Trump Wall Will Drain Vital Resources at Checkpoints

Border Patrol agent makes an arrest. Photo via Border Patrol.

By Steve Neavling
Ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are questioning President Trump’s proposed border wall, saying the plan would draw resources away from the agency’s already understaffed at busy checkpoints.

Agents who inspect vehicles and scrutinize drivers at the Laredo North checkpoint said Trump’s contention that a wall is the most effective way to reduce illegal immigration ignores the importance of checkpoints, The Associated Press reports

The AP wrote:

The Trump administration’s latest budget proposal includes $1.6 billion to start building a wall that the administration has estimated will cost $18 billion. It asks for funding to hire more Border Patrol agents. It also includes $33 million to build a new Border Patrol station in Freer, Texas, northeast of Laredo. But it doesn’t directly address needs at other checkpoints, and it proposes zeroing out new spending on tactical infrastructure like roads used by border agents and replacement border fencing.

The proposal also would end funding for efforts to find and destroy border tunnels built by cartels to get under existing barriers. Border security experts have warned that constructing a wall will lead to smugglers trying to dig more tunnels.

Some Democrats are calling for an investment in scanners, interceptor boats, radio towers and other improvements.

“They’re taking money away from proven law enforcement systems to put it into this 14th century solution,” said Rep. Henry Cuellar, a Laredo Democrat who sits on the US House subcommittee directing homeland security funding.

The CBP declined to comment on the wall proposal.

Border Patrol Agents Accused of Sabotaging Water, Supplies for Migrants

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents routinely sabotage containers of water and other supplies placed in the Arizona desert to save the lives of thirsty migrants overcome by heat exhaustion and dehydration, according to two humanitarian groups.

The Tucson-based groups claim the agents are essentially delivering a death sentence to people trekking the dangerously hot landscape in a shameless effort to crack down on people who illegally cross into the U.S. from Mexico, the Guardian reports

Volunteers identified more than 400 vandalized water containers along an 800-square-mile patch of Sonoran desert near Tucson from March 2012 to December 2014, according to the report, published by No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos

The groups also accused Border Patrol agents of vandalizing food and blankets and intimidating human rights volunteers.

“Through statistical analysis, video evidence, and personal experience, our team has uncovered a disturbing reality. In the majority of cases, US border patrol agents are responsible for the widespread interference with essential humanitarian efforts,” the study found.

The study added, “The practice of destruction of and interference with aid is not the deviant behavior of a few rogue border patrol agents, it is a systemic feature of enforcement practices in the borderlands.”

Steve Passament, a border patrol spokesman in the Tucson sector, said the agency strongly opposes sabotaging humanitarian supplies and plans to discipline any agents who risk the lives of human beings.

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Agents Tricked into Providing Protection for Convicted Drug Smuggler

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents are furious that they were tricked into providing “armed security for a cartel wedding” of a convicted drug smuggler who has been banned from Mexico.

The groom, Brian Houston, is awaiting sentencing after he was accused of smuggling large quantities of heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine in February.

“The agents are upset, feel like they were taken advantage of, feel like they were duped,” Joshua Wilson, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613, told the San Diego Union-Tribune. “Turns out we provided armed security for a cartel wedding.”

The wedding took place at steel border gate that enables people who cannot cross the border to meet for about three minutes each.

“It’s a statement that love has no borders,” Houston told the newspaper.

A Border Patrol screening did not show any criminal activity, so agents were unaware they were protecting a convicted drug smuggler.

Other Stories of Interest

FBI Agents Strike Back Against Trump’s Attacks on Bureau

FBI photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Active and retired FBI agents are not shying away from President Trump’s continuing rhetoric that the bureau’s “reputation is in tatters.”

“Attacks on our character and demeaning comments will not deter Agents from continuing to do what we have always done—dedicate our lives to protecting the American people,” the FBI Agents Association, FBIAA, said in a statement on Tuesday, without mentioning Trump by name, Fortune reports.

On Dec. 3, Trump tweeted about the FBI: “After years of Comey, with the phony and dishonest Clinton investigation (and more), running the FBI, its reputation is in Tatters – worst in History! But fear not, we will bring it back to greatness.”

The FBI Agents Association listed hundreds of cases that have been solved by hard-working agents to make the country safer.

“Controversies of the day fade, but the sworn duty of Special Agent endures,” the statement reads. “Special Agents are focused on the Constitution and protecting the public. Their works should be recognized, not denigrated.”

Border Patrol Agent’s Death Remains a Mystery a Month Later

Border Patrol Agent Rogelio Martinez was found dead at the bottom of a ravine in west Texas.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The troubling, mysterious death of a Border Patrol agent and the serious injuries of his partner have remained unsolved a month after Agent Rogelio “Roger” Martinez was found dead near Van Horn, Texas.

Martinez’s fiancée Angela Ochoa believes the best source of information on what happened may be the survive agent, Stephen “Michael” Garland. Trouble is, Garland has told investigators he can’t remember what happened.

“I mean, I know he saw something,” Ochoa told CNN. “I know he knows. But what he knows, I can’t tell you. I don’t know.” 

President Trump and the agents’ union quickly blamed violent, undocumented immigrants, saying they struck the agents with rocks.

But the FBI and local authorities have not found evidence of an attack and believe the agents may have fallen accidentally into a ravine.