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Tag: agents

Border Patrol Losing More Agents Than It Can Replace, Underscoring Hiring Challenges

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

File photo of a Border Patrol agent.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol is losing more agents than it can replace, causing “significant challenges” in hiring and training new personnel.

Two eye-opening reports from the inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security and the Government Accountability Office underscore the difficulties of meeting ambitious hiring goals set by President Trump, the Los Angels Times reports

The GAO report indicates that staffing levels fall below the 2011 congressional mandate of 21,370 agents. As of May, the agency had 19,500 agents, or 1,870 fewer than required.

Between 2013-16, Border Patrol hired an average of 523 agents a year to replace the annual exodus of 904.

The reports indicate fewer agents are hired because of better pay at competing agencies, a difficult hiring process that requires a polygraph exam and assignments that involve working in remote location near the border.

Other Stories of Interest

Border Patrol Agent Convicted of Stealing $100K Worth of Gun Parts

border patrolBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Two Border Patrol agents accused of stealing $100,000 worth of gun parts and equipment from the agency had their day in court – and the outcome was different for each one.

One of the agents, Jesus Manuel Franco, was convicted one one count of theft of government property and two counts of unlawful possession and transfer of a machine gun, the Arizona Daily Star reports. 

The other agent, Edgardo Jose Munoz Cruz, was acquitted.

Both were accused of conspiring to steal gun barrels, scopes, magazines and other equipment.

Franco faces up to 10 years in prison.

Other Stories of Interest

Justice Department Reveals ‘Systemic’ Misconduct Often Ignored at FBI

Photo via FBI

Photo via FBI

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Justice Department’s Inspector General revealed the FBI was not reporting “high-risk security concerns” about some agents, concluding that “systemic” misconduct issues were not properly addressed.

The examination found “seriously allegations of misconducts” that were never reported or properly addressed, Newsweek reports

“Despite these requirements, we identified several instances in which the FBI could not demonstrate that allegations of employee misconduct were referred either to the INSD or the OIG,” Inspector General Michael Horowitz wrote in a memo to FBI Director Christopher Wray.

In one case, an FBI agent who used bureau computers to download pornography was never disciplined.

Horowitz warned that the failure to properly address the misconduct is a national security issue.

“Allegations against employees with access to [sensitive information] are particularly important given the potential risk to U.S. national security,” the memo states.

Maine Legalized Marijuana Use, But Border Patrol in Maine to Continue Enforcing Federal Law

marijuana-istockBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eight months after Maine residents voted to legalize marijuana, defiant Border Patrol agents say they will continue to enforce federal laws that ban the use of pot.

Chief Daniel Hiebert told The Portland Press Herald that Border Patrol agents will confiscate marijuana when they find it. He added that agents aren’t actively looking for the drug, though.

Hiebert maintains that enforcing federal marijuana laws will not distract agents from their focus on terrorism and human and drug trafficking.

Since 2012, Maine Border Patrol agents have confiscated about 720 pounds of marijuana. In the past, the federal government has declined to prosecute those cases.

Teacher, Children Detained by Border Patrol for Refusing to Confirm Citizenship

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol agents detained a California teacher and her children for refusing to answer questions about her citizenship.

Shane Parmely, who is a U.S. citizen, said she and her children were detained for more than an hour.

Parmely posted videos of the confrontation with Border Patrol agents on Facebook, leading many to question whether she was within her rights or had an obligation to comply.

Shane Parmely refused to give her citizenship status to Border Patrol agents.

Shane Parmely refused to give her citizenship status to Border Patrol agents.

When asked by agents if she’s a citizen, Parmely responded, “You can ask me. I don’t have to answer.”

But the Border Patrol agent disagreed, saying she would “be detained here until you state your citizenship.”

Parmely told ABC 10News she refused to reveal her citizenship status in protest of Border Patrol agents routinely targeting anyone who is non-white.

“When you see something that is clearly racist, you have a choice,” Parmely told 10News. “We would have no civil rights if people didn’t question authority or challenge the status quo.”

Other Stories of Interest

Former FBI Analyst Says Trump’s Firing of Comey Shocked, Saddened Bureau

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

James Comey testifies about President Trump before a Senate committee.

By Nora Ellingsen
Lawfare

On May 9, immediately after the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told CBS that the administration fired Comey, at least in part, because “rank-and-file” FBI employees had lost confidence in the Director—a claim that Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe later disputed when he testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee a few days later.

I know a little something about rank and file FBI employees, having been one myself. I worked at the FBI for five years as an analyst in counterterrorism investigations before going to law school, and I still have a lot of friends and former colleagues there.

So Benjamin Wittes asked if I would write a short piece on morale at the Bureau following the firing. For the record, given what follows, let me stress that he didn’t ask for a puff piece about Comey. He asked what I could glean about the disparity between the White House’s account of the matter and McCabe’s. What is the mood like, he asked? And is there anything to be said for Huckabee Sanders’ claim?

I was hesitant to post on the subject. I am no longer an employee of the FBI, and even if I were, I would have concerns about presuming to speak on behalf of the more than 35,000 employees. I wasn’t sure I could write a fact-based post that would be able to capture or do justice to the mood of a massive and diverse organization. I’m not a pollster, after all.

But here’s the thing: opinion on the subject within the Bureau is not, as far as I can glean anyway, diverse at all. I spoke about my concerns with a friend and former coworker, explaining that I was worried that if I were to write on the subject, the post would devolve into a weepy love letter to Director Comey. My friend’s response went a long way towards summing up what, I believe, is actually the overwhelmingly consistent reaction of FBI employees to the firing of the director: “But how could the post be anything except a weepy love letter?”

Because the basic truth is that while Comey was a controversial figure in the larger political system and among Justice Department officials, he was not a controversial figure at the FBI at all. Nearly everyone loved him. In any other piece, I would caveat this statement as obvious hyperbole and oversimplification of the situation, but the degree of consensus on this point as I have talked to people has been incredible. In the most literal sense of the word, it’s almost hard to believe.

Sewage from Mexico Causes Festering Rashes on Border Patrol Agents

Tijuana River from a pedestrian bridge, by BrokenSphere. via Wikipedia.

Tijuana River from a pedestrian bridge, by BrokenSphere. via Wikipedia.


By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Sewage seeping out of Mexico and into South California caused festering rashes on Border Patrol agents, who were sent to the hospital for treatment.

The Washington Times reports that the ongoing spill has hampered efforts to stop illegal immigration and drugs from coming across the border in that area.  

Mexican officials said the latest contamination came after they were forced to shut down a pump station after a reported suicide attempt, causing sewage to flow in the Tijuana River. More than 300,000 gallons of wastewater was leeched into the U.S.

Just hours later, another 3,800 gallons of wastewater seeped into the water.

“As crude and nasty as this sounds, this is not American sewage, this is Third World sewage,” said Christopher Harris, a Border Patrol agent and director of legislative and political affairs for Local 1613, the union for agents in the sector.

“There’s whole areas now that are biologically and chemically impacted, just like if you had a biological or chemical attack. There are areas that are no-go zones,” he said.

Trump’s Budget Calls for Tightening Border Security with a Wall, New Agents

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

An existing wall at border of Mexico. Photo via Congress.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

President Trump’s new 2018 budget asks for $2.6 billion to begin building a wall along the border of Mexico.

To follow through on his pledge to combat illegal immigration, Trump also is requesting money for 500 new Border Patrol agents and 1,000 new ICE agents and officers.

In his new budget, revealed today, Trump said he’s exploring ways to calculate “net budgetary effects of immigration programs and policy” before implementing big changes.

“Once the net effect of immigration on the federal budget is more clearly illustrated, the American public can be better informed about options for improving policy outcomes and saving taxpayer resources,” the president said in the new blueprint. “In that regard, the budget supports reforming the U.S. immigration system to encourage: merit-based admissions for legal immigrants, ending the entry of illegal immigrants, and a substantial reduction in refugees slotted for domestic resettlement.”