About 10 years ago, in Sierra Vista, Arizona, a Border Patrol officer told me he feared post 9/11 “surges” in hiring at the agency would have shattering consequences, inadvertently luring bad recruits into the Border Patrol.
Now the fired Customs and Border Protection Internal Affairs Commissioner, James Tomsheck, has become a whistleblower. He blames post 9/11 rapid and increased militarization of the border for sloppy hiring practices in a fascinating NPR story that aired last week. The agency is protected by a cloak of secrecy by the Homeland Security Act, which is a byproduct of our national fear following the Twin Towers bloodbath.
NPR reports that Border Patrol agents and officers have killed 28 people since 2010. Tomscheck told NPR that some Border Patrol insiders covered up several of the shootings, exaggerating the danger the soon-to-be slaughtered migrants or Mexican nationals posed to the Border Patrol agents who shot them.
Beyond the Border Patrol’s secrecy and coverup, Tomasheck told NPR, many within the agency consider themselves part of a bonafide paramilitary force.
This is the best video clip I’ve found of Charles Bowden, the Arizona writer who died recently. He was enormously talented, generous and angry. His life worked, but didn’t work, and in the end, he died just as we all will die.
Washington’s gridlock over fixing the nation’s immigration system enabled Arizona’s rogue laws, and Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s enforcement of them. The courts had the last say.
Here’s the story for The National Journal Magazine.
My 2014 New Year’s resolution was to get a website that archived the best of 30 years of ongoing reporting and writing on Arizona and the changing American West.
Well, that hasn’t exactly happened yet, largely because I’ve been reporting and writing.
But slowly, we’ll get some of the memorable stories on immigration, crime, politics and environment up on this website.
Thank you for your patience.
Feel free to contact me on the contact form.