Border State

Here's A List Of Improvements The Border Patrol's Upwardly-Mobile Local Chief Might Propose.

WE MAY NOT have Chief Border Patrol Agent David Aguilar to kick around anymore.

Anonymous sources within the Border Patrol told the Weekly that Aguilar may be promoted to an executive position within the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). If and when this occurs, Aguilar will have former INS commissioner Doris Meissner to thank for the hand-up. Meissner's last day as INS commissioner was last Friday, but we are told she wired Aguilar's promotion before she left.

Since it is not clear when or if Aguilar will be leaving us, it's a little early to do a post-mortem on his 16-month tenure as the head of the patrol's Tucson Sector. Instead, the Weekly prepared a short list of issues the chief could carry back to HQ INS policy makers.

1. Incidents such as rapes, theft and drug running just might be reduced if applicants for patrol agent positions were given lie detector tests, such as those given by local law enforcement agencies throughout Southern Arizona.

2. Along that same line, background checks on agent applicants should be conducted by the FBI, not a low-bid contract agency that then turns around and sub-contracts to a regional low bidder for the final product.

3. If the Border Patrol is to continue to be the uniformed law enforcement agency of the INS, then it's time for the green-shirt brotherhood to start acting like a law enforcement agency. The seizure and transport of large quantities of drugs need to be handled in a manner that will provide a solid chain of evidence. The current practice of not securing, weighing, tagging and identifying the seizing and transport agent on each package at the site of seizure needs to be changed immediately. The Border Patrol could at least try to emulate our local law enforcement agencies' efforts to preserve the chain of evidence. Simply listing "20 bags" does not quite account for the loose bricks of pot that are tossed into bags for the ride to the DEA or the property room.

4. Denying the press access to what should be public information will not make a crisis go away. The recent Palominas shootout involving the Border Patrol's special response team and a three-truck caravan of drug haulers was not even reported to the press. Even when the press uncovered the event, Tucson Sector patrol officials not only refused to comment but imposed a total press blackout on the event. That blackout continues. Citizens have a right to know the circumstances involving any shootout involving U.S (tax-funded) agents.

5. The annual tally of deaths of illegal entrants along our border has soared past the 1,600 mark since the INS deterrence strategy was first implemented in 1964. Even Meissner admitted the containment policy she adopted has wrought unexpected disaster. How much longer can we continue to ignore the killing effects of this policy?

6. The U.S.-Mexico border is wide open along the Tucson Sector. The slowing of illegal alien traffic in downtown Douglas does not qualify as containment. And reducing the number of arrests does not reduce the number of border crossers. Keep trying. Stop lying.

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