Exasperated Border Patrol Agents Take Law Into Own Hands


A federal lawsuit filed earlier this year reveals crucial differences in opinion between the Department of Justice and the state of California on the issue of immigration.

As a statement from one of California’s highest-ranking Border Patrol agents indicates, a similar ideological battle is raging between different factions within the state.

According to The Daily Caller News Foundation, Chief Patrol Agent Rodney Scott, who heads up the agency’s San Diego Sector, penned a response to recently enacted state laws making it less likely that state officials will assist Border Patrol agents enforcing federal immigration laws.

In a lawsuit citing a pair of new laws that effectively create a “sanctuary state,” the Justice Department accuses California of obstructing the enforcement of those laws.

Broadly, the latest measures prohibit officials and employers in the state from coordinating with federal immigration agents under certain circumstances.

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Not only did Scott’s declaration express support for the lawsuit challenging these new laws, he included specific examples meant to demonstrate the stonewalling he claims border agents already receive from state authorities.

Scott accused an officer with the El Cajon Police Department of refusing multiple Border Patrol requests to aid in the pursuit of three suspects.

“After the event, it was determined that the officer declined the request to assist presuming it was an immigration matter, as opposed to a fleeing suspect whose identity/immigration status was not known at the time of the incident,” he wrote.

Offering additional context, Scott explained that a group of three suspects were in “a vehicle that failed to yield, endangering federal law enforcement and the public while traveling on a California Interstate and highway within their jurisdiction.”

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In response to examples like this one, Scott wrote that his agents have determined on multiple occasions that turning over a suspected criminal alien to officials in California would run contrary to their mission to uphold federal immigration laws.

He explained that in each of these cases, the agent involved “determined it was not appropriate, consistent with his or her federal responsibilities to ensure the enforcement of immigration law, to release a criminal alien to the state and local law enforcement.”

Given the current political climate in California, Scott concluded that even if a criminal might otherwise be on the path to deportation, “if released to California law enforcement, the alien would ultimately be released into the public.”

Scott’s concerns are not limited to the impact recent laws have had on state and local authorities.

He noted that prohibiting cooperation with business owners is also an impediment to the mission of border agents. The state’s attorney general has pledged to prosecute employers who violate the new order.

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“If employers are not able to provide such consensual access, Border Patrol’s ability to detect and interdict real time illegal activity, ranging from criminal activity to the smuggling of narcotics to potential terrorists seeking to enter the United States, along the border with be diminished,” Scott wrote.

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Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a wide range of newsrooms.
Chris Agee is an American journalist with more than 15 years of experience in a variety of newsroom settings. After covering crime and other beats for newspapers and radio stations across the U.S., he served as managing editor at Western Journalism until 2017. He has also been a regular guest and guest host on several syndicated radio programs. He lives in Phoenix, Arizona, with his wife and son.
Texas Press Association, Best News Writing - 2012
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