The El Paso Times gave near carte blanche to the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) Texas chapter in their efforts to attack the men and women who serve along the dangerous U.S./Mexico border in an article titled, “ACLU of Texas: Border Patrol, CBP Need More Scrutiny” on March 14, 2014.
Teri Burke, the executive director of the ACLU Texas was trumpeted by the El Paso Times article, “We believe somebody really needs to put their feet to the fire,” said Terri Burke, executive director of the organization.” The left-leaning paper quoted Burke further as stating, “If your local police department had shot and killed 22 people, you would be asking question.”
The El Paso Times‘ writer, Daniel Borunda, then wrote, “The U.S. Border Patrol is under scrutiny by immigrant and civil-rights groups regarding deadly shootings in response to rock throwing on the Mexican border.”
The article from the El Paso Times could easily be dismissed as simply being skewed against Border Patrol agents. However, a look into the context their article exists within reveals it to play a role in a larger effort to attack Border Patrol readiness and effectiveness with half-truths.
I contacted the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) for Breitbart Texas and spoke with NBPC Vice President Shawn Moran. He stated, “We did research and found the most comparable group to the U.S. Border Patrol in terms of numbers is the LAPD and the LA County Sheriff’s Department. We are actually slightly larger than those two agencies.” He added, “In 2012, they shot and killed 48 people, compared to our 22–but we had many more arrests than they did.”
Vice President Moran said that the U.S. Border Patrol having higher arrest numbers, while fewer incidents of having to use deadly force than the comparable agencies in the Los Angeles area, demonstrated that the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol “use force in a very controlled manner.”
“This is a political attack by special interests groups and the ACLU to limit the effectiveness of Border Patrol. The ACLU is going after low hanging fruit, they’ve seen the agency back down in the past,” said Vice President Moran.
“We are concerned that all of this political criteria is going to make agents hesitate and second guess themselves when they are in a situation where they need to defend themselves–this could absolutely lead to a loss of life for US law enforcement,” said Vice President Moran.
I have written extensively on efforts by left-of-center advocacy groups connected to the ACLU that would ultimately lead to Border Patrol agents being incapable of protecting the U.S. border with Mexico. In a November 6, 2013 article titled, “Border Patrol Agents Retain Right to Defend Themselves,” I outlined the overall strategy by the ACLU and other groups in attacking the men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol. I wrote:
The ACLU, along with the academics and previously politically-appointed law enforcement brass from the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum, sought to prevent the U.S. Border Patrol and their parent agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), from using deadly force in response to rock attacks and suspects using vehicles to attack agents.
In that case, as in this matter, an argument was being framed under the guise of insisting the Border Patrol should “live up to the same standards larger, metropolitan police forces must meet.” Larger forces in metropolitan areas operate under very different circumstances, a fact the ACLU and their allies did not acknowledge in their ongoing media blitz against the Border Patrol. City law enforcement has backup nearby, can radio for help that soon arrives, and do not operate in remote areas. Border Patrol agents are often alone in remote regions, their radios often do not work due to communications infrastructure, and backup is usually unable to arrive quickly–even if their radios did work. By defining the differing protocol between agencies as “standards” and falsely insisting that Border Patrol agents were substandard by having much needed, though different, guidelines and protocols, the ACLU and their allies sought to turn public opinion against border law enforcement.
The likely result of reducing Border Patrol agents’ ability to respond to deadly attacks with deadly force would have been an ever increasing series of gaps in the U.S./Mexico border. Why would a solitary Border Patrol agent venture out into remote regions where his/her radio did not work–where backup could not be called upon–if the agent were left unable to use deadly force in self-defense? The simple truth is that Border Patrol agents would no longer go to those regions. They would be left wide open–even more so than they are already–with coyotes, cartel-led drug and human traffickers, and any other person desiring to enter into the U.S. illegally knowing there would exist regions with zero presence of U.S. law enforcement personnel. In the rare event that a Border Patrol agent were present, such criminal elements would know to attack with rocks and boulders and that the Border Patrol agent would be left defenseless.
Follow Brandon Darby on Twitter: @brandondarby