2003 August 23 Saturday
Popular Reaction Leads To Reversal On Border Patrol Orders

Border Patrol agents can once again arrest illegals who are not near the border.

An order by the chief Border Patrol agent in San Diego for his agents not to arrest illegal immigrants on city streets or question them except along the border has been overturned by Robert C. Bonner, commissioner of the new Bureau of Customs and Border Protection.

This order comes down thru the chain of command of the new Department of Homeland Security.

To the extent that Chief Veal interpreted the previous INS policy to preclude Border Patrol from apprehending any place other than at the border itself or at checkpoints, that's incorrect and I've rescinded it," Bonner said. "The policy of the Border Patrol is not set by Chief Veal or any other sector chief. It's set on a national basis."

The original memo was fairly restrictive on what Border Patrol agents could do.

Veal's memo said agents cannot arrest or questioning suspects in cities, workplaces, residential areas or even while traveling between assignments.

Border Patrol Agent Joe Dassaro, president of Local 1613 of the National Border Patrol Council, says popular anger was key in getting the policy changed.

Dassaro credited pressure both from his union and angry residents, as well as media exposure, for getting the directive killed.

"The average citizen out there is outraged by this policy," he said.

The policy amounted to a de facto amnesty for illegal immigrants, he said.

De facto amnesty is exactly what the Bush Administration is pushing for.

This change in policy happened within a couple of weeks after the original decision to restrict the Border Patrol agents. Apparently, if enough Americans get angry they still have enough pull with their own government to get their government to put their demands ahead of the demands of the Mexican government.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 August 23 12:18 AM  Immigration Law Enforcement


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