Border Patrol: Bored at the Border?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

On the heels of Seattle Weekly reporter Nina Shapiro’s in-depth examination of the Border Patrol’s aggressive tactics on the Olympic Peninsula (“Twilight for Immigrants”) comes a revelation that sheds light on the troubling situation. In a follow-up story, Shapiro reports about a Border Patrol whistleblower who has come forward to assert that BP agents don’t have meaningful work to do far from our northern border. 

“During our work shifts, other agents and I always talked about how coming work was like the black hole, swallowing us up slowly with no purpose, no mission,” said agent Christian Sanchez at a forum in Washington, DC.

Shapiro points out that this can explain the numerous stories of agents harassing people of color on the Peninsula. As she puts it, “Although Sanchez didn’t say so, this undoubtedly helps explain why Border Patrol cars are often spotted roving around Forks, home to a sizable Latino population, and why agents seem to be stopping people at random, without the ‘reasonable suspicion’ legally required.”

She further notes that this rationale jibes with what the local residents told her about the dramatically increased Border Patrol presence far from the border. “The people I spoke with told me that agents just seemed to be looking for something to do in order to justify all the extra cash they were receiving …”

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