Obama Administration to Close Nine Border Patrol Stations
The question of the day is just how far the Obama administration will go to gain political advantage with Latino voters? Information released today show that the administration is moving to shut down nine Border Patrol stations across four states and the news is not being taken lightly by local law enforcement, Congress or the Border Patrol officers.
Closure of Border Patrol stations will stress the Border Patrol system and likely reduce the effectiveness in the agency’s ability to intercede in drug and human trafficking. Despite the stations marked for closure being spread across Texas and three other states, the areas affected see significant illegal immigrant activity.
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol claims the stations are being closed in order to reassign agents to high-priority areas closer to the border.
“These deactivations are consistent with the strategic goal of securing America’s borders, and our objective of increasing and sustaining the certainty of arrest of those trying to enter our country illegally,” Border Patrol spokesman Bill Brooks said in a statement. “By redeploying and reallocating resources at or near the border, CBP will maximize the effectiveness of its enforcement mandate and align our investments with our mission.”
Apparently the memo has met with some backlash from at least one Border Patrol supervisor in Texas who has called on local officers to “voice your concerns” to elected officials, warning that the “deactivation” will remove agents from the Texas Panhandle, among other places.
A number of members of Congress have asked Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to fill the void on assisting local officials with stops.
The list of stations to be closed includes: Lubbock, Amarillo, Dallas, San Angelo, Abilene and San Antonio in Texas; Twin Falls, Idaho; Billings, Montana; Riverside, California.
Green added, “As a former deputy I found myself on the other end of the radio hoping to contact USBP to assist me with a vehicle full of undocumented foreign nationals on the side of the road.”
Green pled with recipients of his memo to contact elected officials about the change. “I would encourage you, if you have found USBP assistance valuable in the past, to contact your political representatives and voice your concerns.”
Legislators are beginning to step up to the plate. Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry, representing the district of Amarillo, plus two other Texas lawmakers from affected districts have asked the Border Patrol chief to “reconsider the proposal.”
The Amarillo and Lubbock stations alone, two of those affected by the closures, accounted for 638 apprehensions of illegal immigrants just this year.
“Though Border Patrol agents would no longer be located in these areas, the Border Patrol intends to maintain strong and meaningful law enforcement partnerships with Immigration and Customs Enforcement and local law enforcement agencies in these areas through continuing to actively share intelligence and information” and other avenues, according to Bill Brooks.
The move appears to build upon the president’s recent announcement that his administration would stop deporting young illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and have not committed a serious crime. After the Supreme Court upheld a portion of the Arizona immigration enforcement law last month, federal officials said ICE would be selective in responding to calls about immigration status – prioritizing cases that meet certain criteria, specifically citing whether a suspect is wanted for a felony.
Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, who signed the Thornberry letter, also voiced concern about the latest announcement on station closings in a written statement.
“The Department of Homeland Security hasn’t demonstrated that sending additional resources to the border will be a more efficient use of resources than maintaining a presence further north,” Neugebauer said. “I’d like to see numbers that reassure me that this strategy change won’t ultimately result in fewer arrests.”
Officials of the Obama administration don’t consider entering the U.S. without appropriate documents a crime and their announcement of selective enforcement and closure of Border Patrol stations plays directly into the president’s theme of courting Latino votes. Do the American people want someone in the White House that will disregard U.S. law to secure his job? Let’s hope not.
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