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T. J. Bonner (Photo: Federal Times)
Citing the case of imprisoned former agents Ignacio Ramos and Jose Alonso Compean among other complaints, all 100 top leaders of the National Border Patrol Council have endorsed a no-confidence resolution against Chief David V. Aguilar.
The union, which represents 11,000 of the U.S. Border Patrol’s nonsupervisory field agents, pointed to Aguilar’s willingness to believe the “perjured allegations” of criminal aliens over his own agents, in a statement issued today, first reported by the Washington Times.
Ramos and Compean are among a number of agents who recently have been prosecuted on civil rights grounds for their actions in the arrests of illegal aliens and drug-smuggling suspects.
“Front-line Border Patrol agents who risk their lives protecting our borders have every reason to expect that the leadership of their own agency will support them,” NBPC President T.J. Bonner said in the statement. “When this does not occur, and instead they are undermined by their so-called leaders, no one should be surprised when they express a loss of confidence in those managers.”
The NBPC leadership, mostly active senior agents, cast the no-confidence vote at a recent meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The group, saying the resolution reflects growing dissatisfaction with top managers over “misguided policies and politics,” listed some of the “more troubling reasons” for the no-confidence vote:
- Shamelessly promoting amnesty and a greatly expanded guest worker program despite intense opposition to those concepts from the front-line Border Patrol agents who risk their lives enforcing our nation’s immigration laws.
- Declaring our borders to be secure while millions of people illegally slip across them every year.
- Perpetuating the “strategy of deterrence” despite clear and convincing evidence that it does not deter anyone from illegally crossing the border. (This strategy requires Border Patrol agents to remain in fixed positions along the border, and in many cases prevents them from leaving those positions to pursue people who are spotted crossing illegally.)
- Prohibiting Border Patrol agents from enforcing immigration laws in “interior” towns and cities, including many that are only a short distance away from the border.
- Preventing Border Patrol agents from pursuing vehicles that flee from them, even those that are carrying tons of narcotics or other dangerous contraband.
- Believing the perjured allegations of criminals over the sworn testimony of innocent Border Patrol agents.
- Forbidding front-line Border Patrol agents from working congressionally-funded overtime – at the same time the administration is trying to double the size of the workforce.
- Forcing all Border Patrol stations across the country to adopt uniform shift hours, making it easier for smugglers to evade apprehension during shift changes.
- Drastically shortchanging the funding for transfers of front-line Border Patrol agents in order to fund unnecessary transfers of management cronies.
- Cutting corners in the hiring and training processes in order to meet recruitment goals, including the elimination of two weeks of instruction at the Border Patrol Academy.
Amid public outrage over the prosecution of Ramos and Compean, Aguilar has remained silent, the border agents complain. Ramos and Compean were sentenced earlier this year to 11 and 12 years in prison, respectively, for their actions in the shooting of a drug smuggler given immunity to testify against them. The agents contend they fired at the smuggler after he appeared to point a gun.
Meanwhile, 90 members of Congress have co-sponsored a bill calling for Ramos and Compean to be pardoned.
Border Patrol spokesman Xavier Rios told the Times the no-confidence vote was unjustified, insisting there was “no greater advocate than Chief Aguilar for the agents in the field.”
“Chief Aguilar is required to make decisions every day and to make some very tough decisions, some of which are not always popular,” Rios said. “But I’ve been in the Border Patrol for 20 years, starting at the bottom, and I can assure you the chief is committed to carrying out his assignment to the best of his ability.”
Regarding the Ramos and Compean case, Rios maintained Aguilar “was not in a position to make a statement that would have made a difference.”
The two agents “shot a man and made an effort to cover it up,” he said.