Thursday, October 10, 2013

Does The Abusive Situation That US Patrol Agents Work Within Create Agents' Abuse?

In response:

Does The Abusive Situation That US Patrol Agents Work Within Create Agents' Abuse?

Here is what I found working as a US Border Patrol/INS/ICE agent:

The vast majority of the people who I or we encountered, arrested and re-arrested were non-violent people simply looking for work and a better way of life. 

That is not to say that a Border Patrol Agent's job isn't dangerous because it can be very dangerous.  DHS routinely and rightly deports many violent criminals who should never be allowed to set foot in the US again - period.  Yet most of these previously deported aggravated felons (as you know) keep coming back.  Agents also at times face armed drug smugglers or other violent criminals.  That portion of the job is a huge threat to agents' safety.

Here is one insidiously demoralizing aspect of the job that most people do not think about: the dehumanizing aspect of having to arrest and thwart primarily innocent, hungry people. 

Chasing people around in the night like animals is dehumanizing to not only the agents but to the undocumented too.   I think this dehumanization factor can be just as demoralizing (or even more demoralizing) to agents as having to face the potentially dangerous aspects of the job.

After witnessing and experiencing the above and despite the unfortunate job related deaths of two agent friends and one undocumented kid - I found my job to be 15% dangerous and 85% demoralizing.  This became increasingly true after enduring years of Washington's inconsistent, economically/politically driven approaches to illegal immigration. 

So is anyone really to blame for creating this insidiously complex situation that agents are thrust within?  Or more specifically - does the abusive situation that agents work within create abuse by agents? 

Is it the fault of the undocumented who choose to break our laws by illegally crossing our border?  Is it the fault of the undocumenteds' home-country elite who in the case of Mexico maintain a notoriously corrupt system of governmental, military, and law enforcement cultures?  Is it the fault of the Washington elite who maintain trade policies (NAFTA) that in the case of Mexico actually have exacerbated the insidious Mexican poverty and Mexican illegal immigration too?  Is the fault of the US and Mexican governments whose drug war since 2006 has sacrificed some 120,000 people?  Is it the fault of Washington politicians who some say are trying to reward the 11.2 or so million undocumented with immigration reform designed to sway the Latino vote?  Is it the fault of countless US taxpayers who choose to hire undocumented workers over workers who are legal?  Is it the fault of the agents themselves who choose to do such a complex and potentially conflicting job?  Is it the fault of the private border security industries who stand to profit handsomely from this current immigration reform legislation? 

As a retired agent I say that Washington's and Mexico's profitized trade and drug war policies actually endanger not only the lives of our agents' but the lives of innocent Mexican citizens too.
The Mexican undocumented (62% of US undocumented) would not come or stay here if they could have comparable prosperity working and living safely at home with their families.

The work of US Border Patrol Agents would be much safer if they did not have to arrest 62% of the  undocumented people crossing into the US.

The lives of US agents, US and Mexican citizens would be much safer if Washington denounced and stopped supporting Mexican poverty and the Mexican Drug War.


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