Sheriff claims Border Patrol has told officers to STOP arresting Mexican illegal immigrants... to keep official figures down
Daily Mail UK (Link) (April 20, 2011)
Border Patrol agents have told dozens of law enforcement officers to stop arresting illegal immigrants crossing into the U.S. from Mexico, an Arizona sheriff has claimed Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever claims the order was issued to reduce official figures on the number of apprehensions at the border.
He said agents have instead told him and other law enforcement officers to chase the immigrants back towards Mexico.
He claims has been �flooded� with emails supporting his accusations.
The revelations come just a few weeks after Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano cited the lower arrest rates as evidence of a more secure border.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection commissioner Alan Bersin even said: �The border is more secure than it has ever been.�
Sheriff Dever first made the claims to Fox News earlier this month, saying several Border Patrol officials - including at least one senior supervisor - told him they had been ordered to turn immigrants �Back South� (TBS) rather than arresting them.
At the time, Border Patrol chief Michael Fisher wrote to Sheriff Dever denying the accusations.
He said: �That assertion is completely, 100 per cent false. That it comes from a fellow law enforcement official makes it especially offensive.�
But according to the sheriff, he has received more than 100 emails from law enforcement officials supporting his claims since the report was published.
They claim they have first-hand knowledge of the Border Patrol�s alleged strategy of turning immigrants back to keep arrest figures down.
One San Diego border agent told him: �Upper management has advised supervisors to have agents �turn back South� (TBS) the illegal aliens (aka bodies) they detect attempting to unlawfully enter the country � at times you even hear supervisors order the agents over the radio to �TBS� the aliens instead of catching them.�
�This only causes more problems as the aliens, as you know, don�t just go back to Mexico and give up. They keep trying, sometimes without 10 minutes in-between attempts, to cross illegally.�
He said he felt the policy made his job even more dangerous, because the immigrants become more �defiant� and feel like they can get away with breaking the law.
Another wrote: �This is nothing new, during my career with the border patrol, this was done regularly. By assigning agents to different tasks, locations, etc., the apprehensions can be increased or decreased dramatically.�
One of Sheriff Dever�s Arizona colleagues, Paul Bebau, testified in support of his claims at a Senate Homeland Security Committee last week, Fox News reports.
He said he asked his top lieutenant whether he had heard anything about the allegations.
The officer replied: �Sheriff, I have heard that myself directly from border agents in the Tucson sector.�
Homeland Security officials answered the new allegations with the same statement they sent to Fox News last month.
Jeffery Self, commander of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Joint Field Command, wrote: �As the commander for border enforcement operations in Arizona, I can confirm that the claim that Border Patrol supervisors have been instructed to under- report or manipulate our statistics is unequivocally false...
�To suggest that we are ambiguous in enforcing our laws belittles the work of more than 6,000 CBP employees in Arizona who dedicate their lives to protect our borders every day.� �