The history of Border Patrol agents going to jail demonstrates a broken system where those enforcing the law are criminals themselves. There are many instances of criminal Border Patrol agents. However, the most poignant is an undocumented Border Patrol agent arresting those for committing the exact same crime the agent, himself, is going to jail for.
In February 22, 2018, Marco Antonio de la Garza was arrested in Douglas Arizona by Border Patrol agents. Garza was a Border Patrol agent assigned to Arizona, when fellow agents arrested him for falsely claiming to be an American citizen. Marco Antonio de la Garza was born in México, although he lied on his Border Patrol application as being an American citizen when he was hired in 2012.
Garza was aware of his Mexican citizenship. During an interview for a U.S. passport earlier in the year, Garza admitted that he knew at the age of 17 that he was a Mexican citizen. Nonetheless, Marco Antonio de la Garza used a Texas birth certificate provided by a mid-nurse convicted in 1980 of falsifying birth records to claim U.S. citizenship. He enrolled in the Navy and subsequently went to work for the Border Patrol.
Garza worked as a Border Patrol agent while being an undocumented immigrant. Last week, Garza pleaded guilty to lying about his citizenship on a passport application. By pleading guilty, Garza had another charge dismissed. The dismissed charge involves lying about his citizenship in a 2016 background check.
He is scheduled to be sentenced on March 28.
De la Garza is a U.S. Navy veteran. He has two children and a wife. His case was postponed several times as Garza negotiated a plea agreement with prosecutors. The sticking point was that federal laws currently require the deportation of individuals after serving their jail time for certain crimes. Lying about citizenship is one such crime.
The defense team was trying to include a requirement that Garza not be deported after serving his time in prison. It is unclear if he will be deported after his plea last week.
Clearly something is wrong with a system that allows an undocumented immigrant to work in the agency that interdicts other undocumented immigrants for six years. It is even more telling that the same system allows an undocumented immigrant to serve in the military without realizing their immigration status.
Clearly, the American immigration system is broken.