July 18, 2016
He's Not on Our Side
Today's Border Patrol agents are confronted with absolute contempt and astonishing firepower. One of my graduate students, a Border Patrol agent, relayed how the windshield of his patrol vehicle had been blown out by automatic weapons that had been fired from the other side of the border.
In the early 1990s, federal law enforcement officials had noticed the shift in violence along the border and in the cities. What had changed? We elected a new president in 1992.
Border Patrol agents in 1993 experienced something similar to today's Customs and Border Protection agents, who have been told by their superiors they will be terminated if they try to enforce the law. The head of the Immigration & Naturalization Service continually diverted congressionally approved "operations and maintenance" funds into other programs. Border Patrol agents along the southwest border didn't receive the necessary O&M funds to buy spare parts for their vehicles, or new vehicles, or fuel. I recall one of the chief patrol agents lamenting that when the average mileage on a Border Patrol vehicle approached 300,000 miles, they were effectively out of business.
The effect of diverting funds was devastating and obvious. Stories surfaced of some agents, who would not be deterred, siphoning the gas out of the fuel tanks of drug smugglers' vehicles or purchasing fuel with their own money so they could perform the job they were trained for and hired to do.
Under the new speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, President Clinton was forced to sign several new immigration bills, one of which was to double the size of the Border Patrol. I recall hearing the news at a supervisor's meeting: "we're going to receive a thousand new agents a year for the next five years." Border Patrol infrastructure was recapitalized, as new sector headquarters and station buildings needed to be built for the additional manpower and new patrol vehicles that arrived daily.
I had suggested that illegal alien apprehensions and drug seizures effectiveness would increase with the acquisition of "quiet aircraft." After a flight demonstration, our congressman earmarked $15M for a few surveillance aircraft systems. Unfortunately, the I&NS commissioner diverted the earmarked funds for our aircraft while the decision to terminate the new aircraft program came from, reportedly, the first lady, Hillary Clinton. Somehow she became personally involved and did not approve the Border Patrol's use of surveillance aircraft, as I recall, "on American citizens."
I wasn't the only one who was apoplectic. Senior Border Patrol agents were well versed in the maddening cycle of senior Democrats withholding critical U.S. Border Patrol O&M funds or diverting assets away from the border as a way to execute their agenda of an open border. I was assured that when it was the Republicans' turn to be the ultimate decision-maker, all of the Democrats' policies would be reversed. That was when I learned the Border Patrol is probably the most politicized federal agency in America. They are whipsawed back and forth, depending on which way the political wind blows from Washington, D.C. Whoever controls the White House, the Democrats taketh, and the Republicans restoreth.
Twenty years later, now under the Department of Homeland Security, Border Patrol agents are told to stay in their buildings. The effect is the same as it was under President Clinton: when you are an agent and cannot execute the laws of the land, there is an administrative abolition of immigration laws. Not leaving a Border Patrol Station means no apprehensions, no drug seizures, no interdictions, no deporting of illegals. There is no law.
The removal of critical resources at key pressure points, by whatever means, to achieve one's political goal is the hallmark of a liberal Democrat in a leadership position. For President Clinton, through his surrogate at I&NS, it was removing funding for Border Patrol agents and equipment along the border. President Obama too has removed funding and personnel at critical times and at crucial pressure points.
There is only one way to look at the collective and systematic removal of Border Patrol agents from their field of operations, and that is to give criminal aliens tactical and strategic advantages. In wartime, these policies could be construed as "aiding and abetting an enemy," to assist in the commission of a crime. No radical or domestic terrorist group has ever had such a back-door supporter and facilitator to target police as the President of the United States.
His contempt for law enforcement knows no bounds. He is not on our side. This is the real Obama legacy.
Mark Hewitt is former Marine Corps officer and U.S. Border Patrol employee and the author of the espionage thrillers Special Access, Shoot Down, and No Need to Know.