Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Wednesday Grab-Bag.....

Lots of stuff on the permanent checkpoint issue. Instead of multiple posts, it is aggregated into one posting.

1) Apparently, the Border Patrol has a redefined mission. According to a recent article in the Laredo (TX) Morning Times, "Border Patrol agents don't have the responsibility of apprehending illegal immigrants, Carlos X. Carrillo, chief patrol agent for the Laredo sector, said at a town hall meeting Wednesday. 'The Border Patrol is not equipped to stop illegal immigrants,' Carrillo said, noting that illegal narcotics are also not on the agents priority list." He went on to say that the focus of that sector is solely terrorism.

STOP. Read the previous paragraph again.

Wow. That's a biggie.

So in light of this new mission, one wonders how this impacts the Tucson sector's plans to build a $20 to $30 million checkpoint at KM 50.

Also, the article goes on to point out that a property owner north of the new "state-of-the-art" permanent checkpoint on I-35 north of the Laredo is seeing "20 to 50 illegal immigrants daily on her property." The new checkpoint seems to be working out well, doesn’t it.

2) Keep those cards and letters coming. Not that letters to editors are necessarily the most accurate indication of the community’s views, but it is interesting nonetheless that according to the Arizona Daily Star, between August 18th and August 24th, 13 letters were received in opposition to the Permanent Checkpoint and 1 in favor.

3) Another voice in the Arizona Daily Star speaking out against permanent checkpoints is Randy Mayer, Pastor of the Good Shepherd United Church of Christ in Sahuarita. Reverend Mayer, in his op-ed, says that "it is pretty clear that the checkpoint does very little in making our country or community more secure. It just pushes the undocumented immigration and drug-smuggling activity further to the margins, deeper into our neighborhoods and further into the shadows, while it quietly sweeps meaningful immigration reform under the carpet."

Opposition to permanent checkpoints comes from all points across the political AND spiritual spectrum.

4) On its web-site, the Border Patrol Union Local 2544 endorses permanent checkpoints while personally singling out members of the Coalition for a Safe and Secure Border (CSSB.) Similar to the Tucson Sector Chief’s shocking lack of understanding about the Constitution, federal law enforcement agents singling out private citizens for simply expressing their views in a public involvement process is terrifying. This makes one wonder what the Border Patrol is doing with the video footage they took during the public meetings of Congresswoman Giffords' community workgroup.

If Local 2544 would have read the Options Subcommittee report, they would have learned the following -- the CSSB supports improved and upgraded mobile tactical checkpoints, which would certainly have improved amenities for agents over the current checkpoint situation. CSSB also supports giving Border Patrol more tools and more agents, both of which will make them safer as they work to secure the border.

CSSB supports the rank and file agents on the ground. CSSB, however, believes that their leadership has a flawed, antiquated and misguided strategy concerning permanent checkpoints.

Apparently, CSSB agrees with Local 2544 about the Border Patrol’s Washington leadership. On its web-site, Local 2544 says it has no confidence in Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar. CSSB also has no confidence in Chief Aguilar's border security strategy.

[Note: After writing about the Laredo Sector Chief's comments about the Border Patrol's new mission, it was noticed that Local 2544 raised similar questions. Apparently, this is another area in which CSSB and Local 2544 are in agreement.]

5) A pro-permanent checkpoint web-site has just popped up on the internet. Located at www.securecorridor.com, the authors of this web-site amusingly declare that they are "NOT a Coalition." Are they a confederacy, an amalgamation, an alliance, a league....?

Anyway, another interesting nugget from this group is their censorship policy. Apparently, if you don't agree with them, they will block your comments. Conversely, comments from members of the Amalgamation in Support of Permanent Checkpoints (ASPC) are always welcome here and won't be censored.

One final note, a posting on the ASPC web-site says that "Permanent Checkpoints Are the Anchor." CSSB agrees. Permanent checkpoints are a boat anchor preventing the Border Patrol from moving forward with a comprehensive and effective border security strategy.

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