How Rampant Bribery Is Corrupting U.S. Immigration Integrity
Two recent cases of corruption at U.S. Customs and Border Protection stations indicate a pervasive and systemic problem at the checkpoints pedestrians and vehicles pass through between the U.S. and Mexico.
The cases involve U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers who have been charged or convicted of allowing shipments of drugs and human beings to enter the U.S. from Mexico illegally in exchange for large cash payments.
Former Customs Officer Luis Vasquez, from the border checkpoint in Douglas, Arizona, was sentenced on August 19, 2013 for allowing more than 12,000 pounds of marijuana to cross through his checkpoint. He received 151 months in prison after he was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s office.
Another more recent case involves former Customs and Border Protections Officer Hector Rodriguez, from the border checkpoint in San Ysidro, California. He was sentenced on September 9, 2013 to more than six years for bribery, bringing in illegal immigrants for financial gain, and conspiracy.
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Rodriguez used the ill-gotten funds he obtained to purchase five Rolex watches, jewelry, televisions, computers, a Jaguar automobile, and other high-priced watches. He allowed individuals to smuggle illegal immigrants through his inspection lane at the border checkpoint.
Such cases of corruption are not isolated to the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, as other federal border protection or immigration agencies have had similar problems revealed. Breitbart News recently reported on the case of a U.S. immigration official indicted for allegedly trading U.S. citizenship for cash payments, including one instance where the official reportedly traded legal status to an immigrant for 200 egg rolls.
Perhaps the most disturbing recent case pertaining to federal agencies Americans entrust with protecting our borders involves Stella Peterson, an employee of U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement, who was charged with knowingly allowing her home to be used as a for-profit stash house for smuggled human beings.
Peterson reportedly confessed to the crime, but the Tucson U.S. Attorney’s Office dropped any and all charges against her, removed what are often-available court documents from any public record, and has yet to answer any questions as to why they dropped the charges.