U.S. Border Patrol will put in place new policies to restrict the use of force by agents. The new rules come amid the revelation that illegal immigrants are entering the U.S. at record rates and overwhelming federal resources.
Under the new restrictions, Border Patrol agents will be required to avoid situations where deadly force may be used. “Examples include refraining from blocking moving vehicles’ paths or firing at rock-throwers unless in imminent danger, the Huffington Post reported. “Additionally, agents will be trained on how to carry and use lighter weapons, while also facing restrictions on taser use.”
Placing tight restrictions on Border Patrol agents could hinder their ability to protect the border or their own lives. Shawn Moran, Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) told Breitbart Texas that Border Patrol agents put their lives at risk every day. Leaving them few options to defend themselves could put their lives in further jeopardy. “The lives of Border Patrol agents should not be pawns in the political games of Washington, D.C. and this administration is literally risking our lives,” Moran said.
Despite this, liberal media outlets and activists wasted no time praising the new restrictive policies.
“This is a monumental victory for border communities advocating for transparency and policy reform,” Andrea Guerrero of the Southern Border Communities Coalition told the Arizona Republic.
Complaints that Border Patrol agents “abuse their power” seem to have prompted the tightened restrictions. Perhaps most influential in prompting the policies was the so-called “scathing report” obtained by the Los Angeles Times in February, which supposedly found that Border Patrol agents had “fired in frustration” at illegal immigrants throwing rocks on the Mexican side of the border.
“At least 20 people have been killed in confrontations with Border Patrol agents since January 2010,” the Times reported. “In at least nine cases, agents said they were pelted with rocks before they responded with lethal force. Six people, including three minors, were standing across the border in Mexico when they were shot to death.”
What many on the left refuse to acknowledge, however, is that rock attacks can actually be deadly. In April, Breitbart Texas released images justifying Border Patrol’s use of deadly force against such assaults.
Zack Taylor, Chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers (NAFBPO), told Breitbart Texas that agents must have a way to defend themselves against threatening immigrants armed with rocks.
“If you don’t throw rocks at the border patrol agent, they’re not going to shoot you,” Taylor told Breitbart Texas. “If you threaten the life of the officer, you then put the officer in a position where he has to protect his life. What do people not understand about that?”
Not surprisingly, advocates of the new rules almost never acknowledge the hundreds of assaults–many of which are well documented–launched on Border Patrol agents by illegal immigrants.
The new restrictions may hinder the ability of agents to effectively curb illegal immigration across the U.S.-Mexican border. More than 1,000 illegal immigrants are being apprehended each day at the Rio Grande Valley checkpoint alone.
Taylor thinks that Washington and the media should focus on the root of the problem, which in his view is border security, instead of allowing Border Patrol agents to be vilified.
He said, “It’s time for the U.S to get serious about immigration. We can start by taking away their incentives to be here. All benefits: medical, food stamps, public housing, education, everything. …Our government is encouraging foreign nationals to come into our country illegally and stay.”
Earlier this month, NBPC’s Moran echoed that sentiment on Fox News’ “The Kelly File”, “This is a failure of policy. Right now we have an immigration system designed to fail and our agents the border patrol agents nationwide – they’re stuck in the middle. Our agents are doing the best they can with the resources they have. Border Patrol is under siege.”
Moran credited Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby for drawing national attention to the crisis at the border.
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.