Is the Border Patrol avoiding some areas of the border because “it is too dangerous”?

A friend forwarded a news/blog post from an outfit called the CNS News service which is obviously a right wing outfit.

However, the post has a video of Cochise County Sheriff Larry Deaver alleging that the Border Patrol is avoiding certain areas of the border because it is too dangerous for their agents.

That the Border Patrol is not concentrated in some areas of the border is a fact which is eaaily verified by going down along the border or talking to ranchers along the border. Some areas are covered, some are not. The coverage is spotty.

That’s one of the reasons Arizona’s ranching community and the ranchers who have grazing leases and lands adjacent to the border are demanding, among other things, more Forward Observation Bases along the border.

The areas where there are FOBs have significantly reduced illegal entry and drug trafficking in the areas covered. There are areas where the Border Patrol is concentrated, like down around Lochiel, where there has been significant improvements in security according to area residents.

The real question is “why is the coverage spotty?”

Is it, as Deaver claims, because the Border Patrol considers some areas too dangerous for their agents and because there is a potential for an international shooting incident?

Well… there are obviously some really dangerous areas along our border where the chances of getting into a firefight with drug cartel gunmen and even rouge elements of the Mexican Army that occasionally stray across the border is very real.

There’s a reason for all those warning signs on federal lands along the border.

One pretty obvious problem is that staffing the border with Forward Observation Bases and horses is a whole lot different than the more conventional “drive around roads in a Chevy Suburban” approach.

Standing firm at the border in remote locations requires a military type deployment…sleeping quarters, food and water, and several days of duty posting without coming home every night to enjoy Fox News and one’s family.

The Border Patrol obviously is conflicted in using two different strategies to deal with illegal entry and drug smuggling…one approach being the conventional local law enforcement response of chase them down after they cross illegally,  and the other looking a lot more like a military style response involving holding a line across which no one is going to be allowed to cross ilegally for any reason.

Because of Posse Comitatus, that’s why the National Guard cannot arrest illegal entrants and drug smugglers. They can only observe and report.

To really secure the border and stop illegal entry and drug smuggling at the border requires a massive commitment to bases, horses, agents who can ride horses, more detention facilities, and a whole lot of other elements to work. And in effect it means militarizing the border in some ways.

Maybe we need a new Border Security Agency?

OK…if someone shoots at you, what is your response? Most folks would say “shoot back”. In the local law enforcement context, even pointing  a gun at a police officer is sufficient to shoot the person with the gun.

So what do you do if someone is shooting at you from across the border?

Right now I would guess the “rules of engagement” governing the Border Patrol is they cannot shoot back if fired upon from Mexico, nor can they chase a suspected shooter into Mexico.

I don’t think a whole lot of law enforcement or military trained people think that is a good way to keep your own folks alive.

So…is the Border Patrol afraid to cover certain areas of the border?

I don’t think so. They clearly have shown they can secure the border in some areas.

Are their hands tied? Yes.

Do they have the right resources to fully cover the border? Obviously not.

And that is the question…why doesn’t the Border Patrol saturate the border? Is it because their top brass doesn’t want to do this? Are there other forces at work behind the scenes here? Is because if we make our border security more military looking that will somehow offend Mexico?

What I wish we would see is a plan from the Border Patrol to cover 100% of the border effectively.

Why are border area residents having to make constant efforts to demand they focus there instead of running areound the interior in their trucks?

Tell Congress and the rest of us what you need, Border Patrol, to stop this nonsense of illegal entry, drug smuggling, and catrel scouts sitting on US hills and mountains.

Quit claiming the border is more secure when it obviously is not secure enough.

Quit acting like those of us who want MORE border security are your enemy.

We have a right to complain about what you are doing because we live with the consequences of your failure to secure the border.

There are a whole lot of people living along the border who would like to get up in the morning and not worry about finding a dead immigrant on their propety, or immigrants who have been robbed and raped coming to their front doors seeking help, or  finding bundles of drugs left on their roads, or seeing drug cartel scouts on the hilltop.

 We want  to be able to  drive around the countryside, ride  our horses or hike out onto the range without fear of being murdered.

We just want our country back.

Here’s the post where Deaver claims the Border Patrol is chicken….

EXCLUSIVE: Arizona Sheriff: Border Patrol Has Retreated from Parts of Border Because It’s ‘Too Dangerous’
Friday, August 13, 2010
By Terence P. Jeffrey, Editor-in-Chief

Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County, Ariz. (Cochise County Sheriff’s office photo)
( – Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County, Ariz., one of four Arizona counties contiguous with the U.S-Mexico border, said Friday that the U.S. Border Patrol has pulled back from parts of the border in his and neighboring counties because manning those areas has become too dangerous.

“And you frankly have Border Patrolmen–and I know this from talking to Border Patrol agents—who will not allow their agents to work on the border because it is too dangerous,” Dever told in a videotaped interview. “Now what kind of message is that for crying out loud?”

Dever, a native of Cochise County, has been in local law enforcement in the county for three decades. He was elected the county sheriff in 1996.

Dever stressed that the Border Patrolmen are ready and willing to perform their mission of securing the border, but that Border Patrol managers had determined that in “some places” the danger was too great and they wanted to avoid the risk of an international incident such as a cross-border firefight.

“Now, I am telling you, the agents, you give them a mission, you tell them what you want them to do, they will go do it,” said Dever. “I mean, these guys for the most part are warriors, they are soldiers.

“Then you have middle management and upper management that says: No, it’s too dangerous right there and we’re going to cause an international incident if there’s shooting across the line, back and forth,” said Dever.

“Well, I say: Come, bring it on. Let’s cause the international incident,” he said.

Dever said there were places where the Border Patrol had pulled back from the border in his county and in neighboring areas both in Arizona and New Mexico.

He pointed out that in Pinal County, 70 miles north of the border, the Bureau of Land Management has put up a sign along a drug smuggling corridor to warn American citizens away from the region because it is too dangerous. provided Customs and Border Protection with a transcript of Sheriff Dever’s statement about the Border Patrol pulling back from parts of the border in his area because it is too dangerous.

“There are areas down there in the Tucson Sector where for officer safety reasons, officers aren’t up on the line. For whatever reason–it may be a remote area,” said a CBP spokesperson. “We still have the means to detect entry, whether it is a sensor or a scoped vehicle. So the entry is detected, but the apprehension of the undocumented migrant isn’t affected until they reach a safe area.”


About Hugh Holub

Attorney and writer.
This entry was posted in border issues, border patrol, border security and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s