Assaults on U.S. Border Patrol agents continue to increase. The rate rose by 120 percent over the same period when comparing Fiscal Year 2017 to 2016.
The number of Border Patrol agents attacked since October 1 increased from 241 during the first seven months of Fiscal Year 2016 to 529 this year. Since the last report that ended on March 31, 67 agents came under attack. By comparison, only 36 officers working Customs and Border Protection’s Air and Marine Operations and Office of Field Operations were assaulted.
Border Patrol agents are the most assaulted law enforcement officers in the federal government, former Border Patrol Chief Mark Morgan testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee in November. Since his testimony, the numbers have skyrocketed.
Agents frequently conveyed to Breitbart Texas their frustration over the lack of prosecution in cases of assault. Frequently, matters are not pursued unless agent require hospital treatment, they expressed.
To combat rising assaults, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced plans to increase the number of prosecutions. In a memo dated April 11, Sessions directed prosecutors to push for charges against anyone who assaults, resists, or impedes agents engaging in the performance of their official duties, Breitbart Texas reported.
Illegal immigrants became increasingly aggressive in the months following the election of President Donald Trump and his implementation of executive orders on border enforcement.
“Apprehension levels began to decrease as law, policy, and strategy aligned. Unfortunately, we are now seeing an increase in assaults against our agents,” Chief Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla, Jr. said in a written statement in March. “Attacks against agents will not be tolerated and we will work to pursue prosecution against violators.”
Earlier this week, federal prosecutors in southern California won a conviction against a previously deported criminal alien who injured a Border Patrol agent by throwing a “softball-sized” rock, striking the agent in the face. He had been deported only two months earlier following his completion of a prison sentence for smuggling illegal aliens.
The Mexican national, Martel Valencia-Cortez, 39, reportedly has a long history of violence towards law enforcement and disregard for human safety. His previous actions to evade arrest include reckless, wrong-way driving on freeways, making threats and brandishing weapons, assaulting officers, and resisting arrest. He is also known to carry firearms when engaged in human smuggling.
“The conditions are treacherous in some sections of the border, and our courageous agents put their lives on the line every day to protect our country,” Acting U.S. Attorney Alana W. Robinson said in a written statement. “This verdict tells us that the safety of our agents is of paramount importance and attacks on our agents will come at a high price.”
He now faces up to 20 years in a federal prison on the assault charge.