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Tag: checkpoints

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

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.

TSA Miserably Fails to Detect Weapons at Airports, Alarming Congress

Airport crowdBy Steve Neavling

Undercover tests revealed that TSA failed to detect test weapons about 80% of the time, uncovering a slew of “vulnerabilities” at security checkpoints at multiple airports nationwide.

The results were shared with the House Committee on Homeland Security, which called the failures “disturbing,” ABC News reports

“This agency that you run is broken badly and it needs your attention,”Rep. Mike Rogers told TSA Administrator David Pekoske.

Inspectors “identified vulnerabilities with TSA’s screener performance, screening equipment, and associated procedures,” according to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security.

The TSA is working on implementing eight recommendations to improve safety and effectiveness.

In a statement, the TSA said the agency “concurs with the DHS OIG findings and is committed to aggressively implementing the recommendations.”

“We take the OIG’s findings very seriously and are implementing measures that will improve screening effectiveness at checkpoints,” said Pekoske. “We are focused on staying ahead of a dynamic threat to aviation with continued investment in the workforce, enhanced procedures and new technologies,” he added.

Other Stories of Interest

TSA Stops Woman With Bullet-Lined Shoes at Baltimore Airport

Bullet-lined shoes discovered at an airport checkpoint. Photo by TSA.

Bullet-lined shoes discovered at an airport checkpoint. Photo by TSA.

By Steve Neavling

A woman trying to board a flight was stopped when security found bullet-lined platform shoes with revolvers for heels.

The incident happened at Baltimore-Washington International Airport on Monday, when an unidentified passenger was stopped by the TSA for having the shoes and a bracelet lined with bullets, Time reports. 

“Shoes and bracelets that are less than ideal to wear or bring to a @TSA checkpoint. These delayed a traveler at BWI,” the agency’s spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein posted on Twitter Monday.

The platform shoes were in the traveler’s carry-on bag.

Instead of abandoning her flight, the woman abandoned the shoe and bracelet.

Farbstein reminded travelers, “Realistic replica firearms and ammunition are not permitted past TSA checkpoints.”

In 2015, the TSA found an average of seven firearms a day at airport checkpoints.

Other Stories of Interest

Travelers Left Behind $635,000 in Change at TSA Checkpoints in 2013

By Steve Neavling

Ever search under your sofa cushions for change and find enough money for lunch?

The change adds up.

It did in a big way for the TSA last year, when travelers abandoned more than $635,000 in coins in the bins and bowls at airport checkpoints in 2013, The Business Insider reports.

That compares to $107,000 in 2012 and $150,00 in 2011.

Border Patrol Agents Advised They May Let Drunken Drivers Loose

Via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

Border Patrol agents in Arizona have been advised they are under no obligation to arrest drunken drivers and will face no consequences for letting the suspects go, CBS5 reports.

A training memo that has been circulating among agents reminded them that they have no legal authority to arrest someone for breaking an Arizona law because they are not certified peace officers.

“The question is how much authority does Border Patrol have to enforce state laws against U.S. citizens,” former prosecutor and criminal defense attorney Alex Lane said. “Do we want Border Patrol checkpoints to also be DUI checkpoints?”

A union representing agents said drunken drivers will not be let go.

“I can assure you that the agents I represent and the people I work with just would not release someone who was severely intoxicated,” said Art Del Cueto, president of Local 2544.

Customs and Border Patrol released this statement to CBS5:

The recent informational slide, which was inappropriately released outside of CBP, was intended as an internal messaging slide to provide training to Tucson Sector Border Patrol agents about their legal options when encountering drivers who appear to be impaired.  In cases where Border Patrol agents encounter possibly impaired drivers, they are trained to exercise their professional judgment when assessing the current situation. Information on the slide does not direct agents to detain or not detain these drivers, but instead provides them information, based on judicial precedent, to use their discretion when encountering possibly impaired drivers.  The Border Patrol often releases internal messaging on a wide range of topics to inform agents so that they may better perform their duties within the scope of the law. 

Complaints: U.S. Citizens Increasingly Harassed at Border Patrol Checkpoints

By Steve Neavling

Jennifer Weaver couldn’t believe what happened when she told a Border Patrol agent at a checkpoint in Texas that she had two pistols in her glove compartment with the proper concealed-handgun license in her purse.

The Arizona Republic reports that Weaver was forced to the ground and was held for an hour while agents ran gun checks and thoroughly searched her vehicle.

The same thing happened two weeks later, she said.

Her complaint is nothing new. The scores of checkpoints on roads and highways near the U.S. are intended to check on the immigration status of passers-by.

But privacy proponents say the checkpoints “have become an invasive catch-all for general law enforcement, and that they subject residents who pass through them to harassment and unconstitutional search and seizure,” the Arizona Republic reported.


Residents of Small Arizona Town Stand Up Against Border Patrol Presence

Steve Neavling

People living in a small Arizona town about 20 miles north of the Mexico border are growing increasingly angry about the presence of the Border Patrol.

The Associated Press reports that resident of Arivaca are protesting a checkpoint where they say residents’ rights are being violated.

Residents also are monitoring interactions between agents and drivers.

“We’re just standing here for our rights as citizens,” said Carlota Wray, a decades-long Arivaca resident and U.S. citizen who said she’s been harassed by agents several times.

“It has a bad impact on our little town. And it’s a good town.”

The agency defended the checkpoints as important safeguards.

“These checkpoints are critical to our patrol efforts for they deny major routes of egress from the border region to smugglers intent on delivering people, drugs, and other contraband into the interior of the United States. The Border Patrol carefully selects checkpoint locations to maximize border enforcement and continuously evaluates our operations to ensure they are effective and do not pose undo impact to law abiding citizens,” spokesman Andy Adame said.

Travelers Rate Airports for Efficiency of Checkpoints, Arrive at Different Conclusions

Steve Neavling

What are the most efficient and headache-inducing airport checkpoints in the nation?

The USA Today sought to find out by asking frequent flyers to voluntarily rate checkpoints for efficiency.

The results were subjective and varied by traveler.

Some targeted Orlando, Los Angeles and Raleigh, NC, as the least efficient airport checkpoint. One traveller offered good experiences at Las Vegas.

The TSA responded: “TSA’s top priority is to protect the traveling public, and every policy and security procedure in place is designed to mitigate threats to passengers and the aviation sector — which we know our adversaries continue to target,” the agency said in a written statement. “TSA is always taking steps to enhance our procedures, to most importantly stay ahead of evolving threats and, wherever possible, to also improve the experience of the traveling public. ”