Monday, October 17

INSIDER'S ACCOUNT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY

Yesterday I published a post about a New York Times' report on the results of a recent, government-sponsored, Office of Personnel Management questionnaire-survey of federal employees from a number of different departments and agencies designed to gauge employee morale. The results indicated that, far and away, the lowest morale was found in the post-"9/11," Bush era-built Department of Homeland Security. Please read that post by way of background for this one.

Today I published a post about a Houston Chronicle story on "Other Than Mexicans" -- i.e., the fast-growing "OTM" illegal immigration problem that sees most of the apprehended illegal aliens released by U.S. Border Patrol agents with what is tantamount to a "notice to appear," which of course almost all fail to honor. Instead they move about our country and do whatever it is they're going to do. Indeed, 42,000 "Other Than Mexicans" have been released on our side of the Texas-Mexico border already this year alone. Please read that post by way of background for this one.

Stay with me. This is all very important. I promise you.

As information, I had received a lengthy email on October 13th from a U.S. Immigration Inspector, who lives in Hildago County, Texas, in the McAllen-Edinburg-Pharr metropolitan area, and prior to the publication of the two above-referenced posts, that would on its merits corroborate that there are indeed DHS employee morale issues and a very serious "OTM" problem. The NYT's piece, published in the Houston Chronicle, as well as the James Pinkerton story, published in today's edition, have motivated me to go ahead and publish that gentleman's comments and observations. And do know that he has given me permission to do so through an exchange of emails. Understand, as well, please, that I am opting at this juncture, and even though this U.S. Immigration Inspector has given me his full name, address, home, cell, and fax numbers, and an electronic signature, to nonetheless withhold his name to protect his identity. Indeed, more information from him may be forthcoming.

You read, as I have, what this whistleblower has to say, and tell me that he's no more than just a disgruntled federal employee bearing his soul. What he has written resonates with me based on what I have researched and written about in a multitude of posts on the illegal immigration and border security issues confronting our nation.

Here is his email to me. I strongly urge you, whether you're a teen or a retiree, or anyone in between, to read it in its entirety. Yes, it is long and this is an age in which everyone wants their news and information in pithy paragraphs or sound bytes. But this gentleman is going to give you a lot of facts and then at the conclusion of his email he is going to appeal to you for help. This man strikes me as an American patriot. At least hold your judgement and hear him out.

I have finally come to the realization that it doesn’t matter. No matter what I attempt to do to control Illegal Immigrants from entering this country, it doesn’t matter. The people I work for, Customs & Border Protection, don’t care. The Department of Homeland Security doesn’t care. Congress doesn’t care. And to top it all off, the President of the United States only encourages more Illegal Immigration.

I must state from the beginning that I am not Anti-immigrant. I am the grandson of immigrants; my grandparents entered the US through Ellis Island. My wife is an immigrant, from South America. I have two immigrant brother-in-laws. I am part of a family of immigrants. But, most important of all, a family of LEGAL Immigrants.

I spent over 20 years serving my country as a proud member of the US Army. I would not trade those years for anything. I was always proud to wear my uniform. I was proud to represent my country in many different nations of the world. I retired honorably and am a Disabled Veteran. When I was planning for my life after the Army, I felt the need to continue to work for the government of this country. I have known for years that my country was being invaded by illegal immigrants. I wanted to work in a position where I could help stem the tide. I was told from the very beginning that I was too old for Border Patrol or to be an Immigration Agent. I decided that I would try and be the best Immigration Inspector possible.

When I was at the Immigration Officer Academy I studied hard. I have continued to study on my own time since then. Many of my co-workers remark about my knowledge of Immigration Laws, Policies and Procedures. I am usually the “go to” person when there is a hard question to answer or case to handle. But no matter how hard I work, the people I work for don’t care. I will give you some examples.

The other day I arrived home from work and was eating my dinner. During our conversation, my wife mentioned to me that she was told that there are 2 new students in our daughter’s elementary school. One of them is in our daughter’s 1st grade class. I thought that was nice to know until my wife told me the rest of the story. These 2 children and their parents crossed the river illegally over the weekend. On Monday, the children are enrolled in school, Medicaid and Food Stamps. How am I supposed to teach my children the importance of following the Laws of this country? How am I supposed to tell my children I won’t be home for their birthday or Christmas because I am working at an important job for our country? How are my children to feel when other people tell them their father has a stupid job that means nothing?

Last week a Border Patrolman stopped 5 El Salvadorans at the local bus station and requested to see their documents. They each presented I-862’s, Notice to Appear, meaning they were part of the “Catch and Release” program. The BP agent thought the documents looked a little “unusual” and brought them by the Immigration Office. He asked me if I could look these NTA’s up on the system and provide him with photos of the people these documents belonged to. As I gave him each photo we both saw that none of these documents belonged to the people that presented them. They were very High-Quality copies of the originals. Realizing that this was a definite case of Fraud I commented to the BP agent that I guess these folks would now be deported for sure. In a very disgusted tone the BP Agent told me that they would not be deported. He would have to take them to the station and process them for their own court date and release them. He remarked that there was absolutely nothing he could do. Do you think these 5 people will show up for their court hearing? Do you realize that 95% of the people that are released never show up?

We have all heard about the thousands of Brazilians that were crossing illegally into the US. A couple of months ago DHS Decided that maybe Border Patrol should start processing these folks for Expedited Removal and send them back. Several Immigration Inspectors volunteered to help Border Patrol process the Expedited Removals. We were told that we could not help BP with the Expedited Removals because it was their job. Let’s see, I thought we worked for the same organization and maybe it would be nice if we practiced so teamwork and help each other out. Who do you think patrols the border when BP is busy at the station doing all that paperwork? Well the ER program for Brazilians really works. Now they don’t turn themselves in. They pay a little more and the smugglers take them all the way past the checkpoints.

Guess what! We still have hundreds of illegal crossers turn themselves in everyday. All the Hondurans, Guatemalans and El Salvadorans still turn themselves in groups. The ones that show up in our office all cross the river by raft. These rafts cross the river everyday, in broad daylight and within a few hundred yards of the International Bridge. As a matter of fact, several people that cross the bridge legally have commented to me that the raft is crossing within sight of the cars waiting to cross the bridge. Let’s see, where is Border Patrol? They are at the station processing to hundred OTM’s that crossed earlier in the day. What is happening to all these OTM’s? They are all receiving I-862’s and told when to show up in Immigration Court. How many of these folks make copies of the documents for their friend to use? Didn’t we just say that approximately 95% of these people never show up in court?

Not long ago one of the other Officer’s at our Port of Entry escorted a Honduran into the Immigration office that arrived from the north. This is normal as folks show up all day coming in from the north, after they have crossed the river on the rafts, and turn themselves in to us. We have to call Border Patrol to come pick them up so that they can process them and give them their I-862. This Honduran was a little different. After he caused a problem in the lobby of our immigration office I had to physically restrain him and put him in a holding area. When I called Border Patrol they asked me to describe the person. I described him and they said, “I think that’s the guy that already has his 862. Check for his documents”. He in deed had an I-862 in his possession. The BP agent on the line told me, “We did that guy the other day. In fact we’ve had him here a few times already. We don’t want him. He has his papers. Just kick him out into the street.” After talking with this man we all determined that he definitely had mental problems. But, what could we do? We sent him back out into the street. This person is still roaming around the streets; his court date is still about 2 weeks away. I’m sure you feel safer now knowing that we are even sending persons with mental problems out into the streets of your community.

Here in South Texas we have a very large man-made lake called Falcon Lake.This lake is formed damming the Rio Grande River and stores water for the majority of the people in the Rio Grande Valley to drink. The dam is also an International crossing between the US and Mexico. This crossing is open from 7:00 am until 8:45 pm, 7 days a week. Every night 2 Inspectors drive the mile from the POE Inspection area to the middle of the dam to close the gate. This is where the interesting part begins.

The causeway, a two lane road on top of the dam is built up rather high. On the lake side you have rocks and water. On the down-stream side you have a very steep hill that a mountain goat would have trouble climbing. From the POE Inspection area, even though it is a straight road to the middle, you cannot see the gate. We have found that many people have decided to take advantage of this.

Unknown persons hide packages, bundle and even human beings on the US side of the gate after dark or during periods of low visibility. They wait until the gate is closed, the security shift, consisting of two Inspectors comes on duty and go into action. Now let me explain something here – there are no lights or cameras in this area to make it easier to see what is going on. All the package, bundles and humans that were hiding in the rocks sneak there way into the US. Often the Inspectors on the security shift at the POE see them as they make their way through the brush. The Inspectors do exactly what they are ordered to do – they call Border Patrol and the County Sheriff. You see the Inspectors are not permitted to leave the building and apprehend the folks as they walk by. The orders are - be observant and report what you see, take no action.

Sounds like a nice plan. The Sheriff’s office is in Rio Grande City, TX, about 25 miles away. If you’re lucky, one of the two deputies on duty might be nearby, but that is doubtful. Starr County is very big for 2 deputies to patrol all night. The Border Patrol station is in La Grulla, TX, about 40 miles away. The Border Patrol might have a unit nearby – if they don’t already have a full house.

Near Sullivan City, TX, in a little town named Los Ebanos, TX, you can find the only, still operational, ferry that crosses the river between the US and Mexico. This is a legal ferry, with Immigration and Customs Inspectors on both sides of the river and you can even cross the river in your vehicle. However, the ferry only operates during day-light hours. At night the ferry is secured and the vehicle gates are locked. Sounds nice, except for one small problem: the only security at the crossing during the night is a surveillance camera. The only monitor where you can watch what goes on in Los Ebanos is at the Rio Grande City, TX POE, about 15 miles away. Rio Grande City also closes from 11:45 pm until 7:00 am. During the night there is a security detail consisting of 2 Inspectors there. A fellow Inspector had the security detail at Rio Grande City the other night. The Inspectors noticed something on the monitor for Los Ebanos. First there was a lone male walking around the area, checking things out. Soon he disappeared from view. After a few minutes they could see 3 rafts with 3 people on each cross the river and land on the US side. The Inspectors immediately called Border Patrol. After the first 9 illegals landed, the rafts were pulled with ropes back to Mexico. Soon the rafts returned with 9 more illegals. Still no Border Patrol. The rafts returned to Mexico. The next time the rafts appeared, the 9 men on board had big bales with them, marijuana? These 9 men got off the rafts, picked up their bales, weighing about 75 -90 lbs each and disappeared from view on the US side. Still no Border Patrol. Soon the men carrying the bales returned to the rafts and were pulled back to Mexico. All this took about 20 minutes. One hour and fifteen minutes after the call was made to Border Patrol the first agents arrived on the scene. All they could find were tracks. Do you wonder why it took Border Patrol so long to arrive? They were processing the OTM’s that were already in the station.

Several times I have personally made reports of people living in the US illegally. I have even reported information I obtained of fraudulent immigration applications. What has been done? Nothing. The teachers at my daughter’s school have commented to my wife about all the problems they have with the illegal immigrant children that are enrolled in the school. They have told her how the illegal immigrant parents of these children act around they school. Does the school administration care about these problems? Of course not, the more students they have, the more money they get from the federal government.

The federal government makes sure that these illegal immigrants are protected. First, the organization responsible for border security, Customs & Border Protection, is run by former, career US Customs officials. Not one of them knows, understands or cares to enforce immigration laws. We have instituted a De facto Amnesty through the “Catch & Release” program for OTM’s. We have ensured that Border Patrol can not patrol the border by keeping all the BP agents in the station to process the OTM’s and give them their I-862’s.

Now, you tell me; does it really matter whether or not I do the job I was trained, and want, to do? What good is it if I catch one fraudulent document? Prosecute one Mexican for making a False Claim to US citizenship? Cancel one visa and do an Expedited Removal because someone worked in the US illegally? The US government refuses to enforce the same immigration laws that I am trying to enforce. Customs & Border Protection is an organization of nepotism, favoritism, inept management and no desire to fully enforce the immigration laws of this country.

For these reasons, and many more, the majority of my fellow immigration inspectors, and I are searching for employment elsewhere. Those of us that believe in what we do and want to do it well no longer want to be part of an organization that is derelict in its duties to protect the citizens of our country. We ask for your help. Please help us and convince the politicians that they must change their policies and begin enforcing the laws of the United States. I want to do my job – please give me a reason to do it to the best of my abilities.

God Bless the United States of America.

If this gentleman has been above-board with me; if he's tellin' it like it is; if others in DHS feel very much the same way: well then, this country of ours is in basic fundamental trouble, because our elected officials in Washington and the career bureaucrats who run the government day-to-day are talking about a global war on terror and justifying battlefields overseas, while purposefully ignoring the ramifications of an invasion they have allowed to go largely undisturbed here at home.

No wonder this U.S. Immigration Inspector and 20-year veteran of our Armed Forces is at his wits' end.

POSTSCRIPT (10/18/05 @ 10:15am CDT): Well, obviously my "DHS' insider" sent his email to others besides just me, as it turns out. Juan Mann has published posts quoting from the same email at the "VDARE" site and at Michelle Malkin's "The Immigration Blog." I thought I had an exclusive, but perhaps I should have known better. Anyway, the key is that the information is disseminated and that American citizens come to understand the depth of the illegal alien and border security problems, and from one who is on the front lines. Just to ensure my credibility with my readers (as credibility is everything in the blogosphere), do note the date and time of my posting, and also be aware that I sent an email with this post's URL to another contact at VDARE, who has been very helpful to me, so I was trying to spread the story anyway and through a much more highly-read blog than my own.

POSTSCRIPT II (10/18/05 @ 12:30pm CDT): Frank Laughter is too kind in this post of his, but I'm linking to it because of the link he provides to this story, which is just more of the same from the DHS and, if you ask me, is nothing more than a half-hearted effort to shore up the Bush administration's lackluster determination to secure our nation's porous borders and particularly in the wake of what should be an embarrassing story on the OTM ("Other Than Mexicans") illegal alien "catch-and-release" process -- an unconscionable process of not deporting thousands of illegals.