Officials with the National Border Patrol Council announced a petition drive calling for the murder of U.S. Border Patrol Javier Vega as a “Line of Duty” death. Vega was murdered by two previously deported illegal aliens during an attempted robbery of Vega and his family who were fishing at the time.
Even though Vega was killed by two illegal aliens near the Texas border with Mexico, the Border Patrol has refused to classify his death as being a “Line of Duty Death” (LODD). This designation would allow Vega’s family to receive the benefits afforded to an agent killed in the line of duty. It would also allow him to be properly honored for his service and sacrifice, NBPC officials stated.
Javier Vega was murdered by two previously deported illegal aliens on the night of August 3, 2014. He was fishing with his family when they group was approached by two men who pulled guns on the group and attempted to rob them, Breitbart Texas’ Ildefonso Ortiz reported shortly after the murder. The robbery followed a pattern of other robberies in the area, Willacy County Sheriff Larry Spence told Breitbart Texas at the time.
“This time you had a border patrol agent who was armed and he fired back at the suspects,” the sheriff said. “Sometime, we are not sure when, he was hit in the chest and his father was shot in the hip.”
Javier Sr. is still suffering from his wound he received two years ago.
Agent Vega was struck in the chest during the gun battle. His mother transported him to an area hospital but he died from his injury.
One week after his murder, NBPC Local #3307 asked Border Patrol officials to classify his murder as a LODD. “The line of duty classification would grant Vega with the recognition of having made the ultimate sacrifice to protect his country and grant the family with various benefits to help them get through their time of need,” union officials told Breitbart Texas’ Ortiz.
Border Patrol Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske has been asked to make the designation and is the only person with the authority to do so, union officials told Breitbart Texas on Tuesday. The officials said Commissioner Kerlikowske has stated his “support” for the designation, he has not yet done so.
A little over a year from the time of his murder, U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) declared his support of the union’s ongoing request for the LODD designation. Appearing on the NBPC’s Green Line podcast, which was sponsored at the time by Breitbart Texas, McCain said, “Like the military, our Border Patrol agents are on duty 24 hours a day. Is there anyone who disagrees with that? … So it seems to me, like the military, that it’s clear Agent Vega was killed in the line of duty.”
One month later, U.S. Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) added his support for the LODD designation. Appearing on the floor of the U.S. Senate, Cornyn said, “America’s law enforcement community, including heroes like Harvey, put their lives on the line every day to protect our citizens,” Cornyn stated. “They work tirelessly to try to protect our safety. And I hope our colleagues will come to their senses and stand up for those who provide for our public safety and not contribute to a situation where other families like the Vega family will lose a loved one to the sort of career criminals that I was referring to earlier.”
“Who were the killers?” Cornyn asked. “Well, they were two illegal immigrant criminals who had repeatedly violated our laws. Both had been deported multiple times but managed to repeatedly find their way back into the country, even after committing a long list of crimes. In fact, according to some witnesses, these two men had been terrorizing the community for months.”
Cornyn and U.S. Representative Filemon Vela (D-TX) then sent a letter to Commissioner Kerlikowske: “Javier Vega was a hero who stood up for these values and upheld his oath to protect and serve by making the ultimate sacrifice,” wrote Senator Cornyn and Congressman Vela. “By failing to approve this classification for more than fourteen months, your agency has prevented Agent Vega’s family from obtaining much-needed benefits that he earned as a law enforcement officer who gave everything to protect his community from violent criminals.”
NBPC officials said the commissioner has failed to honor Vega at the past two CBP Valor Memorial Services at its headquarters in Washington, D.C. The officials said this refusal to honor Vega in this way and to not carry through with his “support” for the LODD designation is “an unspeakable tragedy and disservice to Harvey’s family and fellow Border Patrol Agents.”
“Commissioner Kerlikowske’s decision to forgo making a decision, and instead ‘passing the buck’ to DOJ, all the while offering hollow sympathy when questioned about it time and time again by Border Patrol Agents, only furthers the belief among the rank-and-file that CBP is out of touch with the men and women of the Border Patrol,” the NBPC officials continued in their written statement obtained by Breitbart Texas. “We call on CBP Commissioner Kerlikowske to do the right and honorable thing, which is to honor the sacrifice made by Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. and declare his death a Line of Duty Death.”
The petition can be found at the White House petitions page. As of the time of this article’s publication, the petition which began on August 1 had received just over 1,100 signatures. In order to get a response from the White House, the petition must reach 100,000 signatures. NBPC officials urge the public to join with them in honoring Agent Javier Vega and his family by signing this petition.
(Disclosure: Breitbart Texas sponsored the Green Line podcast for the NBPC in an effort to provide a platform for agents to inform the public about the realities on the border and what Border Patrol agents face. Director Brandon Darby received an award from the Laredo chapter of the NBPC for his work in helping to defend and bring a voice to Border Patrol agents. Breitbart News assisted in covering funeral costs for a slain Border Patrol agent previously. Darby and Breitbart senior management have directly stated and shown that helping to bring a voice to the expressed needs and interests of Border Patrol agents is a top priority–personally, individually and together through Breitbart News.)