Individuals give up certain control over their lives to live in a society. Among them is the authority to be deprived of liberty by law enforcement agencies. Sometimes even the right to life is given up in order to allow society to be orderly. To give up control, the members of society must trust the legal system to safeguard their lives and keep abuse their authority under control. It comes down to trust in believing that society will protect them. But is the American government doing enough to protect people from rogue law enforcement agents?
One of Donald Trump’s signature policies is to force undocumented immigrants out of the country. To do so, he needs to bolster manpower to arrest and deport immigrants. In addition to rounding up undocumented immigrants, Trump wants to reinforce the southern border to keep immigrants from crossing. For both functions, the Trump Administration needs to add more manpower to the Border Patrol. But, at what cost?
Last month, Juan David Ortiz was charged with killing four women and the attempted killing of a fifth woman. Ortiz is a serial killer. Ortiz is also an intelligence supervisor for the Border Patrol. For immigrants and Americans alike, Border Patrol Agents like serial killer Ortiz is not an isolated case. The Border Patrol has been dealing with massive corruption within its ranks for many years.
Just in three years – 2014 through 2016 – the Government Accountability Office has reported over 20,000 cases of misconduct against CBP officers. In 2017, Salvador Contreras, a former Border Patrol Agent was sentenced to 11 years in prison for attempting to entice a minor for sexual activity. The victims were 8 and 14 years old. Esteban Manzanares, another Border Patrol Agent, assaulted and kidnapped three undocumented immigrants. Manzanares killed himself before he could be brought to trial.
Another federal government report from the Project on Government Oversight found that 200 CBP agents have been arrested on corruption charges between 2014 and 2018. Thirteen of those cases are from when Trump assumed office.
Last month another agent, Ramon Antonio Monreal Rodriguez, a ten-year veteran of the border patrol “handed over $650,000” to drug traffickers for 90 pounds of cocaine while he was working his shift. Monreal used his government vehicle to transport the drugs. In May, an unidentified Border Patrol Agent killed Claudia Patricia Gómez González, a 19-year-old from Guatemala.
Yesterday, the New York Times detailed the horrific Manzanares committed on the three women he kidnapped and violated. The details should horrify anyone that has any humanity in them.
It is so bad among the Border Patrol that in 2016, the Department of Homeland Security declared that corrupt Border Patrol Agents “pose a national security threat” to America.
They also pose a threat to immigrants, both legal and undocumented.
The question Americans should be asking themselves is whether the current trend within the Border Patrol reflects the ideals Americans hold to be important. Rather than focus on demonizing immigrants, shouldn’t it be more important to look to fix the problems within America’s immigration agencies and systems for the sake of human decency?