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Tag: Border Patrol

Border Patrol Agent Admits He ‘Intentionally Struck’ Migrant with Truck

Stock photo of a Border Patrol truck, via CBP.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent who intentionally struck a Guatemalan migrant with his truck in 2017 – and called immigrants “subhuman” – has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor civil rights charge.

Matthew Bowen, a 39-year-old agent stationed in Nogales, faces up to one year in prison after admitting he intentionally struck the 23-year-old migrant while arresting him for illegally crossing the border.

Bowen also has come under fire after text messages surfaced showing he called immigrants “subhuman” and “mindless murdering savages.”

Bowen, a 10-year veteran of the Border Patrol, was placed on unpaid suspension in June 2018, shortly after he was indicted on assault charges. As part of a plea agree, Bowen will resign.

A video of the incident showed Bowen “accelerating aggressively” and striking Antolin Lopez Aguilar twice with the front of his truck. Bowen then arrested Lopez.

“During my apprehension of (Antonin Lopez Aguilar), I intentionally struck him with an unreasonable amount of force,” Bowen said, according to documents obtained by The Arizona Republic. “My actions when I struck A.L.-A. were not justified and violated his rights protected by the Constitution of the United States.”

Border Patrol Agent Remains Hospitalized After ATV Crash in Maine

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A Border Patrol agent is recovering in a hospital from injuries he sustained during an ATV crash in a remote area of western Maine.

The unidentified agent, who was wearing a helmet, crashed the ATF on Monday afternoon in northern Franklin County along the Quebec border.

His partner, who was driving another ATV, helped stabilize this partner while waiting for help. Because of the area’s remoteness, it took emergency personnel about an hour to arrive to the scene, CBP said.

He was airlifted to a hospital in Bangor.

“Responding to assistance calls is something we do on a regular basis,” Jason D. Owens, the chief border patrol agent in Maine, told the Bangor Daily News. “When it hits so close to home, when one of our own agents is the injured party, it really makes us thankful for the training, equipment we have available and for the first-rate response from our local partners who respond quickly to calls for assistance.”

Supreme Court Gives Green Light to Use Pentagon Funds for Border Wall Construction

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

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

The Supreme Court ruled that Trump’s administration can use billions of dollars in Pentagon funds to help build a border wall at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The five-to-four ruling gives the administration permission to begin using $2.5 billion in Defense Department money to move ahead with wall construction. Lower courts delayed the project pending a Supreme Court decision.

Another $3.6 billion comes from military construction funds.

“Wow! Big VICTORY on the Wall,” Trump tweeted. “The United States Supreme Court overturns lower court injunction, allows Southern Border Wall to proceed. Big WIN for Border Security and the Rule of Law!”

El Paso’s Border Patrol Chief Being Sent to Detroit Amid Blistering Report

Conditions at one of the El Paso stations, via IG.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Aaron Hull, the controversial chief of the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, is being sent to Detroit following reports of unsafe and unsanitary conditions in border stations in El Paso.

Hull will be replaced by Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez, who is head of the El Centro Sector in California, NBC News first reported.

Customs and Border Protection declined to say why Hull was reassigned, but the move comes after a blistering report by the Department of Homeland Security’s Inspector General. The conditions were so deplorable that agents were beginning to arm themselves because they feared a riot.

The IG report documented overcrowded cells, a lack of showers or clean clothes, outbreaks of lice, flu, chickenpox and scabies, and more than half of the immigrants being held outside. Babies had no clean clothing or soft mats on which to sleep.

“With limited access to showers and clean clothing, detainees were wearing soiled clothing for days or weeks,” the report said.

The report also cited declining morale among agents who were worried about riots or hunger strikes. Some agents were even considering retiring early or moving to another agency.

“The current situation where immigrants are simply giving themselves up to the border patrol [and border patrol must detain] is causing low morale and high anxiety. They are seeing more drinking, domestic violence and financial problems among their agents,” the report said.

Despite the documented evidence, DHS Acting Secretary Kevin McAleenan insisted that news reports about poor conditions for children at the facility were “unsubstantiated.”

Hull also defended Border Patrol agents, saying he was “impressed” with their handling of an influx of migrants.

A Homeland Security official told NBC News that Hull has a reputation as a “law and order” chief who often acts on his own without permission from his superiors.

Border Patrol Agent Accused of Sexually Harassing Woman Whose Son Was in Custody

Via CBP

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

An undocumented Guatemalan woman in California alleges that a Border Patrol agent sexually harassed her while she was awaiting news about her 12-year-old son being held in custody at a detention center, The Washington Post reports.

In a complaint against CBP, the 48-year-old woman says the agent exploited her vulnerability and began conversing with her on Facebook. But instead of learning more about her son’s situation, she said the agent forced her to watch him masturbate.

Her 12-year-old son was captured trying to cross the border in April, hoping to reunite with his mother, who was working as a housekeeper and sending money back to her family. The boy was placed in custody at a Border Patrol station in Clinton, Texas, where agents contacted the mother to tell her about her son.

That’s when the mother came into contact with the Border Patrol agent.
Here’s how the Post described a 25-minute Facebook Messenger chat:

The man appeared to be lying on a bed, with the camera aimed at the lower half of his body. She could see his dark brown shorts, legs and bare feet.

She thought it strange and asked to see his face. He flashed the camera upward for a moment before settling it again on his shorts.

He told her about his family life, a failed relationship, how he attended church. Then he asked whether she was single.

She demurred … He asked her whether there were people nearby.

When she said there were not, he slipped his hand inside his shorts and appeared to start masturbating, she said.

“‘Look at me. Look at me,’ ” she remembered him pleading when she looked away. “ ‘Do you like it?’ ”

At that point, she said her phone died. Afraid the agent would retaliate against her son, she reached out to an immigration legal-aid group, which filed her complaint with CBP.

The boy said the agent was cruel and threatening. He said the agent told children they would “regret coming to this country.” He described unsanitary, overcrowded and inhumane conditions.

Smuggler Sentenced to Prison for Trying to Run over Border Patrol Agent

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

A 38-year-old human smuggler was sentenced to 44 months in prison Tuesday for trying to run over a Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol agent.

The incident happened after authorities approached Miguel Mendez-Fajardo, a Mexican national, at his stash house in Mission on suspicions he was harboring undocumented immigrants.

Mendez-Fajardo responded by trying to run over a Border Patrol agent. He eventually crashed into a ditch.

Mendez-Fajardo was convicted in March 2019.

After serving his sentenced, Mendez-Fajardo is expected to be deported.

CBP Investigating 62 Border Patrol Agents Who Used Demeaning Facebook Page

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

ticklethewire.com

At least 62 current and eight former Border Patrol employees are accused of joining a private Facebook group and other social media pages that mocked migrants and lawmakers.

CBP officials said most of employees were part of a secret Facebook group called “I’m 10-15,” which included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

In one post, commenters questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

Investigators are reviewing images, memes and comments posted on multiple Facebook groups, said Matthew Klein, a Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner.

“To be clear, the expectations of professional conduct don’t end at the end of the shift,” Klein told journalists. “Those are our expectations of our employees.”

The case was referred to Homeland Security’s watchdog group, which chose not to investigate and returned the case to CBP.

ProPublica first reported on “I’m 10-15,” which had roughly 9,500 members.

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, who originally responded with repulsion, also posted on the page.

Border Patrol Chief Not Only Knew about Secret FB Page, She Posted on It

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost responded with repulsion when a news agency discovered a secret Facebook group filled with racist, demeaning and sexist content.

“These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,” Provost said in a statement after Intercept revealed the group’s vulgar messages. “Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

Turns out, Provost posted on the Facebook group’s page, known as “I’m 10-15,” two months after she was appointed to lead the agency. The group is for current and former border agents.

While her comments were harmless, her posts show she knew about the group before Intercept wrote about it.

The Facebook group included offensive content and demeaning posts that targeted undocumented immigrants and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
 One of the posts was an illustration of President Trump pushing the congresswoman’s head toward his crotch. In another post, a member encouraged agents to toss a “burrito at these bitches,” referring to members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus who were visiting detention centers.

In one post, commenters questioned the authenticity of a now-viral photo of a drowned man and his younger daughter.

When ProPublica approached CBP about the Facebook group, Provost pledged to launch an investigation.

Last week, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, sent a letter asking Homeland Security’s office to investigate whether Provost or any other leaders previously knew about the group.

Thompson responded to Intercept after it revealed Provost posted on the page.

“This is why I have requested a full investigation into this matter,” Thompson said in a statement. “We need to know who in CBP leadership knew about these deplorable groups, when did they find out, and what action they took, if anything.”