September 15, 2019

ALWAYS BET ON THE dEEP sTATE:

'People Actively Hate Us': Inside the Border Patrol's Morale Crisis (Manny Fernandez, Miriam Jordan, Zolan Kanno-Youngs and Caitlin Dickerson, Sept. 15, 2019, NY Times)

Two years ago, when President Trump entered the White House with a pledge to close the door on illegal immigration, all that changed. The nearly 20,000 agents of the Border Patrol became the leading edge of one of the most aggressive immigration crackdowns ever imposed in the United States.

No longer were they a quasi-military organization tasked primarily with intercepting drug runners and chasing smugglers. Their new focus was to block and detain hundreds of thousands of migrant families fleeing violence and extreme poverty -- herding people into tents and cages, seizing children and sending their parents to jail, trying to spot those too sick to survive in the densely packed processing facilities along the border.

Ten migrants have died since September in the custody of the Border Patrol and its parent agency, Customs and Border Protection.

In recent months, the extreme overcrowding on the border has begun to ease, with migrants turned away and made to wait in Mexico while their asylum claims are processed. Last week, the Supreme Court allowed the administration to close the door further, at least for now, by requiring migrants from countries outside Mexico to show they have already been denied refuge in another country before applying for asylum.

The Border Patrol, whose agents have gone from having one of the most obscure jobs in law enforcement to one of the most hated, is suffering a crisis in both mission and morale. Earlier this year, the disclosure of a private Facebook group where agents posted sexist and callous references to migrants and the politicians who support them reinforced the perception that agents often view the vulnerable people in their care with frustration and contempt.

Interviews with 25 current and former agents in Texas, California and Arizona -- some conducted on the condition of anonymity so the agents could speak more candidly -- paint a portrait of an agency in a political and operational quagmire. Overwhelmed through the spring and early summer by desperate migrants, many agents have grown defensive, insular and bitter.

The president of the agents' union said he had received death threats. An agent in South Texas said some colleagues he knew were looking for other federal law enforcement jobs. One agent in El Paso told a retired agent he was so disgusted by scandals in which the Border Patrol has been accused of neglecting or mistreating migrants that he wanted the motto emblazoned on its green-and-white vehicles -- "Honor First" -- scratched off.

"To have gone from where people didn't know much about us to where people actively hate us, it's difficult," said Chris Harris, who was an agent for 21 years and a Border Patrol union official until he retired in June 2018. "There's no doubt morale has been poor in the past, and it's abysmal now. I know a lot of guys just want to leave."

At least there are defenseless victims they can take it out on...

Posted by at September 15, 2019 12:39 PM

  

« SO MUCH WINNING!: | Main | THE ONLY THREAT IS INTERNAL: »