Sunday, July 10, 2011

Border Patrol agents prosecuted to appease Mexico

Another Border Patrol agent on the southwest border is facing a long prison sentence for doing his job. Isn't it amazing how this happens only on the southwest border and never the Canadian border?

Veteran agent Jesus Diaz faces a sentence of five to 25 years in federal prison for "mistreating" an illegal alien who was apprehended crossing the border near Eagle Pass, Texas, in 2008. The man was handcuffed, and allegedly, Diaz lifted his handcuffs to force him to the ground because he was not cooperative. For this "offense" Diaz was prosecuted by U.S. attorney for the West Texas region, Johnny Sutton, and convicted and will be sentenced in September.

Diaz's "victim," who was carrying a backpack with 50 pounds of marijuana at the time, was subsequently given a visa and is free to enter and leave the U.S. any time he chooses.

We remember U.S. Attorney Johnny Sutton as the prosecutor in the Ramos and Compean case. Border Patrol officers Jose Compean and Ignacio Ramos went to prison and later had their sentences commuted by President Bush in January 2009. The "victim" in their case, a well-known smuggler named Oswaldo Aldrete-Davila, also got a visa but – surprise! – was later arrested and convicted for drug smuggling.

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These two Border Patrol prosecutions have more in common than the eternal vigilance of Johnny Sutton. In these cases and many others, the U.S. attorney's office was responding to protests from the Mexican government that its citizens were being mistreated by Border Patrol agents.

In 2008 the U.S. attorney's office in southern Arizona declined to prosecute a Border Patrol agent after he accidentally killed an illegal alien who was in a group of four he was trying to subdue a hundred yards from the border fence near Naco, Ariz. But in this instance, the local Cochise County attorney decided to prosecute the agent under state law after the Mexican government protested the lack of action against the agent. He was prosecuted twice, but when both juries ended in deadlock, the government gave up trying to put him in prison. The family of the Mexican national who had been killed then sued the Border Patrol agent for damages in civil court.

In San Diego last month, an illegal alien was shot by a Border Patrol agent in self-defense after a group of illegal aliens came at him with cement blocks that had nails embedded in them. The man who was shot had a long criminal history and had been deported twice, yet the Mexican government is demanding prosecution of the Border Patrol officer involved.

In Texas this week, a "Mexican citizen" was executed for the brutal murder of a teenage girl he had met at a party. He confessed his crime, was convicted and sentenced to death by lethal injection. In the last weeks before the scheduled July 7 execution, President Obama got involved and asked the U.S. Supreme Court to order Texas to delay the execution. Why? Because the man had not been advised before trial that under a U.S. treaty with Mexico, as a citizen of Mexico he had a right to ask for assistance from the Mexican government. He confessed his crime and had a fair trial in every respect, but the government of Mexico was offended.

In response to the Mexican protests, Obama asked the Supreme Court to delay the execution so Congress can have time to pass a law ordering Texas to give the man a new trial. You heard that right: Obama asked the court to rule on the basis of a law that had not yet been enacted – and may never be enacted. Five justices of the court ignored Obama, as did the state of Texas. Two cheers for Texas!

Why do we see this acute sensitivity to the wishes and interests of the corrupt government of Mexico in matters of U.S. criminal law and U.S. border security? This is almost laughable, but to the 20,400 officers of the Border Patrol, it is more than a nuisance. It is a threat held over their heads daily. Rock-throwing incidents and other physical assaults on Border Patrol officers have increased dramatically in recent years.

It is a well-established fact that the Mexican military and Mexican law enforcement at both the state and local levels is thoroughly penetrated by the drug cartels – yet the Border Patrol and the sheriffs of border counties are required to "collaborate" and cooperate with Mexican agencies.

About 1,000 illegal aliens are apprehended on a typical day on the southwest border. In each Border Patrol station, as these trespassers are processed for "voluntary removal," the nearest Mexican consulate must be called and allowed to interview the illegal interlopers to determine if any person was mistreated. To the Border Patrol agent walking the line, this is a recipe for manufacturing allegations of misconduct.

The government of Mexico should focus its efforts on getting its own house in order. After that has been accomplished, and after they stop encouraging and facilitating "northward migration," we might be interested in their opinions on the American criminal justice system.


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