In the middle of the night on May 29, a U.S. Border Patrol agent identified by court records only as “S.H.” was patrolling on his bicycle near the Los Olmos Arroyo in Texas, when he spotted a group of people who appeared to have just crossed the Rio Grande from Mexico into the U.S.
According to a report in the McAllen Monitor, the agent radioed for backup before advancing toward the group, when suddenly, the illegal immigrants hiding in the darkness took off, running in all directions.
The agent gave chase through the brush, but in the darkness he was pitched from his bicycle, and his flashlight was sent flying.
As “S.H.” tried to regain his feet, court records state, 18-year-old Arnold Cruz Rivera, an illegal immigrant from Honduras, landed his first punch on the agent, then darted for a nearby stream. The agent got up and resumed the chase.
FBI agents say Rivera punched the agent in the face and chest several more times, but “S.H.” began to swing back, “not knowing where he was striking due to little to no light conditions,” until he was able to hold the fleeing suspect down until help arrived.
Today, Rivera has been formally charged with assaulting a federal officer and immigration violation, but the story is just one of many tales of peril faced by U.S. Border Patrol agents who are withstanding a marked uptick in violent assaults as they try to hold back the tide of illegal immigrants surging across the U.S. border.
In early April, for example, a Border Patrol agent in Abram, Texas, The Monitor reports, fought a Guatemalan national who rammed the agent’s head into a tree and then pushed the butt of the agent’s rifle into his face.
In early March, another Border Patrol agent in Brooks County, Texas, fought with a Salvadoran national who managed to take the agent’s handgun and fire off two shots before he was subdued.
And in November of last year, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency reports, a group of 100 Mexican nationals illegally crossed into the United States and attacked U.S. Border Patrol Agents with rocks and bottles.
After the U.S. agents chased the mob back over the border, Mexican authorities allowed the suspects to disperse without being arrested or otherwise suffering any consequences for their brutal attacks on U.S. law enforcement.
“Our agents are doing the best they can with the resources they have,” Shawn Moran, vice president of the National Border Patrol Council, explained on Fox News’ “The Kelly File” earlier this month. “The Border Patrol is under siege.”
“This is something that’s been going on for over a year and is just getting worse,” he continued. “The American public needs to see what is going on. They need to see how hard our agents are working and how helpless they are to stop this and to make this situation better.”
Illegal immigration has exploded in recent months along the U.S. Mexican border, particularly in the Rio Grande Valley Sector. Border Patrol agents told Breitbart Texas that more than 1,000 illegal immigrants are apprehended each day in the RGV area.
Brandy Darby, Breitbart Texas’ managing director, has kept a chronicle of more than 40 reported assaults and drug-gang activities among the illegal aliens streaming across the border.
To make matters worse, the National Border Patrol Council, a union of U.S. Border Patrol agents, is reporting federal authorities are turning a blind eye to assaults on its members.
“The men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol are routinely attacked in remote areas along the U.S.-Mexico border, sometimes resulting in agents losing their lives for their service,” Darby wrote in November of last year. “The NBPC recently spoke out against the U.S. Border Patrol’s parent agency, Customs and Border Protection (CBP), alleging that both the CBP and the U.S. Attorney’s Office were routinely refusing to prosecute illegal immigrants who had assaulted Border Patrol agents.”
“The physical assaults on Border Patrol agents are increasing in numbers and in frequency,” added Stu Harris, vice president of Local 1929 of the NBPC. “Our Border Patrol agents are less safe now, and the dangers are increasing as they are more often working alone in isolated areas.”
Despite the increased risk, activist groups and scathing reports in mainstream media outlets have pressured the U.S. Border Patrol to put into place new restrictions on the use of force by its agents.
“Examples include refraining from blocking moving vehicles’ paths or firing at rock-throwers unless in imminent danger,” the Huffington Post reported. “Additionally, agents will be trained on how to carry and use lighter weapons, while also facing restrictions on Taser use.”
Moran, however, says the additional restrictions could hinder agents’ ability to protect both the border and their own lives.
“The lives of Border Patrol agents should not be pawns in the political games of Washington, D.C.,” Moran told Breitbart Texas, “and this administration is literally risking our lives.”
“Instead of introducing … potentially restrictive policy changes, NBPC called upon CBP to open its books and provide the real story regarding the actual number of use of force incidents involving Border Patrol agents and whether force was justified,” the NBPC wrote in a released statement last year. “NBPC believes CBP should provide transparency around the criminal histories of those who allege use of force by Border Patrol agents, statistics regarding the number of assaults on Border Patrol agents, and the blatant lack of prosecutions against those who assault them.”
Zack Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, says that despite news stories painting border agents as armed aggressors against desert peasants toting only rocks, agents must have a way to defend themselves. Rocks, he pointed out, can be lethal as well.
“If you don’t throw rocks at the Border Patrol agent, they’re not going to shoot you,” Taylor told Breitbart Texas. “If you threaten the life of the officer, you then put the officer in a position where he has to protect his life. What do people not understand about that?”