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The Scott Warren Retrial is a Travesty of Justice

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent Customs and Border Protection has extraordinary powers. Unlike other federal agencies, they assert the right to stop, interrogate and detain people without probable cause or warrants. These abusive powers have made Border Patrol agents feel justified in doing whatever it takes to make their cases in court. Whether it is falsifying dates on legal government documents or using pre-written narratives in defiance of the facts, agents have long gotten away with misleading the courts. I saw this myself as an agent, and I am seeing it still today. Continue reading
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Poll Shows Voters Have a ‘Crisis of Confidence’ in Trump’s Border Policies

A new poll of registered voters across the four southern border states reveals a “crisis of confidence” in Trump’s border and immigration policies. The poll asked voters whether they approve or disapprove of the president’s policies, how much they trust border agents, how we should treat asylum-seekers, and whether we should provide aid to those in distress, among other things. Continue reading
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25 Years Later, Operation Gatekeeper’s Legacy is One Best Left Behind

By Vicki B. Gaubeca Border Patrol checkpoints — far from the actual border — that threaten the civil liberties of millions and lead to the detention of U.S. citizens.  Unconstitutional, illegal cash grabs to build massive, senseless border walls, taking money away from  schools and daycare programs for children of military, with complete disregard to the impact on wildlife, people or local communities.  Unaccountable border agents who act like a paramilitary force, and treat migrant children and families like like a threat, rather than vulnerable people seeking protection and safety. While many of these blunt-force enforcement tactics have gained notoriety under the Trump administration, all of them have their roots in Operation Gatekeeper, a program which began 25 years ago this October 1. Continue reading
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Border Patrol Agents Are Soldiers in Trump’s Racist, Anti-Immigrant War

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent I arrived in El Paso, Texas the day before I was to speak at Reverend Barber's Moral Monday at the Borderlands just one week before the deadly shooting. My first stop was to visit the infamous “dog pound,” an outdoor cage that held men seeking asylum in the hot Texas sun for weeks at a time. I had recently received a picture of families with small children being held in this same cage, languishing in the heat, sitting on the dirt and rocks. I had to see it for myself, but I was too late. Continue reading
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The ‘Back to School’ ICE Raids That Broke our Hearts

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent That first day of school, whether you were excited or full of dread, was an event to remember for all of us. New clothes, teachers and friends, maybe even new schools. It didn’t matter how you felt about it, everyone experienced it. Odds are that you ended up that evening in the same stores as many of your new classmates. Sharpies, binders, pens, pencils, calendars. Today maybe it’s thumb drives and laptops, but the experience is the same. In every city, county and state, whether you are in kindergarten or college, white or brown, rich or poor, we all have that first day of school. Continue reading
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Expedited Removals = Birtherism 2.0

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent With the expansion of the expedited removals that allow anyone, anywhere in the United States to be questioned, detained and immediately deported by immigration authorities, we now have a better idea of what an American police state looks like. Those who encounter an immigration officer must be able to produce proof right then and there that they’ve been in the country for two years or more legally, or they will be deported to whatever country agents believe they were born in. Continue reading
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Yep, That Secret Border Patrol FB Group is Typical Agent Behavior

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent The following is an exchange of testimony between Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan before the House of Representatives:   Continue reading
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She asked, “Do they take babies away from mothers in the US?” Here’s what I said.

By Jenn Budd Names have been changed to protect the innocent. I do not make it a habit to ask migrants about their journey: why they left, where they crossed, how they were treated by the Border Patrol. They have been through traumatic experiences and it is none of my business as a shelter volunteer. If they choose to share, I will listen. Otherwise, I concern myself with getting them fed, access to clean bathrooms, showers, and to a bed. Besides, I already know some of their experiences because of my unique perspective as a former Border Patrol agent. Poking and prodding for more stories feels invasive and unnecessary to me, but eleven hours in a maternity ward with someone would likely involve more engagement than a thirty minute dinner. Continue reading
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Open Letter from An Ex-Border Patrol Agent

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent Dear former colleagues at the U.S. Border Patrol, I know that you’ve been working long hours with families seeking safety and protection at our nation’s borders. I remember what those shifts were like when I worked at the Campo, California station: people from many different countries, some sick and injured, children and babies that needed special care, lack of resources and a management that often seems more against you than with you. Continue reading
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I Used To Detain Migrants At the Border. Now I help them.

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent It’s been many years and once again, I’m standing in front of a single file line of immigrants. Most are from Guatemala and Honduras. Maybe a family or two are from El Salvador. All the children are so young, clinging to their parents in fear. Many are sneaking a look at me, then quickly looking away as if I am about to spit out orders at them like I used to when I wore a green border patrol uniform: “Get in line! Hands behind your back! Get inside! Silencio!” Continue reading
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