Last night the Associated Press delivered some news, courtesy of anonymous sources, before the U.S. Border Patrol union’s planned press release this Monday. With the exception of America’s southwest border, throughout the last month, agents have been asked to stop performing routine checks at bus and train stations that involve questioning and searching suspicious individuals thought to be illegal immigrants or even terrorists.
The practice has been heralded by some and condemned by others. In 1997, Gazi Ibrahim Abu Mezer from Palestine was arrested at a bus station in Bellingham, Washington; when he skipped out on bail, but still on the radar, he was later shot by police while attempting to bomb a New York subway station. In 1999, Ahmen Ressam was detained at the British Columbia-Washington border; dubbed the “would-be millennium bomb suspect”, his car was found to be full of explosives. Alternatively, civil rights groups have condemned the routine checks as racial profiling and a violation of travelers’ freedoms.
Since 9/11 the number of border patrol agents has increased twofold. An anonymous U.S. Border Patrol senior manager anonymously stated of the recent change, “[Border patrol agents are] already bored. You grab the paper every day and you go do the crossword”. However, a spokesman from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection described that it’s a new, efficient opportunity for command units to rely on technological expertise and intelligence sources for identifying potential suspects entering the country. Monday’s release will outline that border patrol agents can only perform the routine checks at transportation hubs upon the interception of sensitive information indicating a possible threat.
This new policy will obviously involve adaptation and an in depth learning curve. The Department of Homeland Security reported that the number of arrests made by border patrol agents has reduced from 1.2 million in 2005 to 463,000 in 2010 most likely due to the economic downturn. Perhaps relying on technological techniques and intelligence, what some say is more proficient, could generate more merited arrests and also reduce the infringement of what some perceive as violations against human rights. Time will tell. It seems as of right now the southern border, where the majority of arrests are made, is excluded from this change.
This could be an exciting time to serve your country as a border patrol agent. You have the opportunity to rise beyond the role of enforcer to one who becomes specialized, using highly cognitive and technical skills to identify potential terrorists and other threats. U.S. Border Patrol Training involves completing a Homeland Security Degree or a Law Enforcement Degree, unless you have previous and relevant experience. Once hired, you will attend intense training at the Border Patrol Academy and then start your career as a noble protector of your nation.