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February 2023


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Tag: CBP

CBP Support Dog Will Help Improve Mental Health of Border Patrol Workers

Peal is a support dog for CBP workers. Photo: CBP.

By Steve Neavling

Meet Pearl. 

She’s the first support canine at Border Patrol’s Laredo Sector, CBP announced Wednesday. 

Border Patrol launched a support canine program last week to help improve the mental health of Border Patrol workers nationwide. 

“The events Border Patrol Agents face leave little time to assess the emotional, spiritual, and psychological effects, and less time to repair themselves from the levels of trauma and crisis they deal with every day,” Border Patrol Executive Director Kathleen Scudder said. “These special dogs will help improve emotional availability, allowing their Chaplain and Peer Support Member handlers to start important conversations that can lead to quicker recovery and healing in a stressful environment.”

Laredo Sector employees met the 6-year-old yellow Labrador on Tuesday, and she was greeted with smiles and hugs.    

Peal, who started as a guide dog, will be visiting other law enforcement agencies and residents at outreach events and will be available during “any critical situation,” CBP said. 

“The United States Border Patrol remains committed to providing the workforce and their families with resources and programs that help promote a balanced, healthy approach to life in the workplace and at home,” CBP said in a news release.

Top CBP Official Resigned Amid Allegations of Sexual Misconduct

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

A top CBP official resigned in October following allegations of sexual misconduct against multiple women who worked with him, NBC News reports.

The agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility is now investigating Tony Barker, the former acting chief of Border Patrol’s law enforcement operations directorate, on allegations that include threatening one female employee to get sexual favors. 

That employee alerted DHS to the allegations, leading to more women coming forward with similar complaints, three sources told NBC News

Barker served for two decades before quietly leaving his post in October. 

“The allegations that I pressured any woman for sexual favors or victimized them are entirely and unequivocally false,” Barker said in a statement. “I am proud of my 21 years of service with the U.S. Border Patrol. I am now taking this time to focus on my family and seek other opportunities.”

A CBP spokesperson said, “As of Oct. 14, 2022, Tony Barker is no longer an employee of the U.S. Border Patrol.

“We do not tolerate misconduct within our ranks. When we discover any alleged or potential misconduct, we immediately refer it for investigation and cooperate fully with any criminal or administrative investigations. This is the case whether the alleged misconduct occurs on or off duty. Federal privacy laws prohibit discussion of individual cases.”

CBP Investigates Agent Who Body-Slammed Man to Ground Outside Homeless Shelter

CBP agents body-slams a man outside a homeless shelter in El Paso.

By Steve Neavling

CBP is investigating one of its agents for lifting and slamming a person to the ground outside a homeless shelter in El Paso. 

The incident was captured on surveillance footage released by El Paso’s Opportunity Center for the Homeless. 

A deputy director at the homeless shelter said the man stepped outside for a smoke break when the incident occurred. 

It wasn’t clear if the man was undocumented or why agents approached him. 

CBP said in a statement that it’s taking the incident seriously. 

“Although at the moment we do not have all the details of what occurred during this incident, CBP takes all allegations of misconduct seriously, investigates thoroughly, and holds employees accountable when policies are violated,” CBP said. 

Ex-CBP Commissioner Magnus Joins Nonprofit Focused on Police Reform

Former CBP Commissioner and Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus.

By Steve Neavling

Former CBP Commissioner Chris Magnus is joining a nonprofit focused on reforming police departments. 

The move comes less than two months after he was forced to resign as head of CBP, a position he held for less than a year.

Magnus had served as Tucson’s police chief until 2016 and was a supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Magnus is joining the Policing Project, a nonprofit at NYU’s School of Law. 

Magnus said there are problems with hiring, training and reform in law enforcement. 

“At CBP for example, that’s going to involve migrants and local community members and stakeholders dealing with issues at the border, you know, issues of use of force apply across the board,” he said, according to Fronteras

Magnus brings with him plenty of experiencing leading police departments. 

“My experience is that communities first of all want agencies to be transparent about what’s going on, even when the news isn’t always good,” he said. “They want data on the website. … They want body camera footage to be available. But they also want accountability in the form of assurance that if they make a complaint, it’s going to be handled.”

U.S. House Bill Would Provide Some Border Patrol Agents with $6,500 Bonus

Photo via CBP.

By Steve Neavling

U.S. House Rep. Dan Crenshaw is proposing a $6,500 “deployment” bonus for Border Patrol agents who work along high-traffic areas of the border.  

The Texas Republican introduced the Customs and Border Protection Crisis and Hardship Incentive Pay Act of 2022, which would offer a $250 bonus per day for agents who “serve along a border where more than 1,000 migrants are encountered each day, those who secure the border in sectors where they are subjected to the threat of physical harm or imminent danger from cartels, and those who are in a sector where fentanyl is encountered.”

Crenshaw, a former Navy Seal, said the military offers similar incentives. 

“When we’re deployed in the military, we receive incentive pay because of the hardships we face while on deployment,” Crenshaw told Fox News. “But, we always come back home after a certain period.” 

He said CBP agents don’t “leave and come back, they are there day-in and day-out.” 

“We need to provide them with incentives to stay and compensate them for the work they are doing on the front lines of keeping the homeland safe,” Crenshaw said. “This effort is a start.”

Border Patrol’s Swanson Sector Gets New Leader

Chief Robert N. Garcia

By Steve Neavling

Robert N. Garcia has been named the new chief patrol agent of Border Patrol’s Swanson Sector, CBP announced Monday. 

“I am honored to return to Swanton Sector, and I am excited for the opportunity to once again be part of our dedicated team of Border Patrol personnel working tirelessly to protect the nation’s northern border,” Garcia said in a statement. “I look forward to continued engagement with our law enforcement partners and stakeholders as we enhance the security of our communities and ensure the safety of our residents.”

Garcia, a 30-year veteran of the agency, most recently served as deputy chief patrol agent in the Tucson Sector. 

Garcia’s career included numerous leadership positions along the southern and northern U.S. borders, at the Border Patrol Academy, Border Patrol headquarters, and as an operator with the Border Patrol Tactical Team.

Garcia received a bachelor’s of science degree in criminal justice from the University of Texas at El Paso. He also was an honor graduate from the Department of Defense’s University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies Red Team Leader Course, and a graduate of the Customs and Border Protection Leadership Institute.

The Swanson Sector covers the U.S.-Canada border between ports of entry in northeastern New York, Vermont, and New Hampshire.

CBP Increases Recruitment Incentives for Newly Appointed Border Patrol Agent Applicants

Photo via Border Patrol

By Steve Neavling

CBP is boosting its recruitment incentive to up to $20,000 for newly appointed Border Patrol agent applicants as the agency faces hiring challenges.

The incentive is available for applicants who enter on duty after Nov. 9 and meet the requirements of the recruitment incentive. 

“Securing the nation’s border to keep Americans safe, and supporting our workforce are top priorities for CBP,” said Andrea Bright, assistant commissioner of human resources management. “To address the unprecedented hiring and recruiting challenges for law enforcement agencies, we are offering a $10,000 recruitment incentive for all newly appointed Border Patrol Agents who successfully complete the academy and another $10,000 if the Agent completes two years at a designated remote location.”

Remote locations include Sierra Blanca, Texas; Presidio, Texas; Sanderson, Texas; Comstock, Texas; Lordsburg, New Mexico; Freer, Texas; Hebbronville, Texas; and Ajo, Arizona. 

To receive the recruitment incentive payments, candidates must complete the forms of agreement. 

To submit a BPA application, visit the agency’s “Apply Now” page.

Suspected Smugglers Kill CBP Officer, Wound 2 Others in Shootout

CBP officer (Photo: CBP via Twitter)

By Steve Neavling

A CBP agent was killed and two other agents were wounded Thursday in a shootout with suspected smugglers aboard a vessel off the coast of Puerto Rico. 

The three marine interdiction agents approached the vessel while on patrol. 

“As soon as they approached the vessel, those individuals started to shoot and the agents shot back,” CBP spokesman Jeffrey Quiñones told reporters, according to The New York Times.

The agents were airlifted to a hospital in Puerto Rico by CBP and the Coast Guard with “various gunshot injuries.”

One of the agents later died from gunshot wounds.   

“These are brave members of our air and marine operations within U.S. Customs and Border Protection, so the difficulty of this job cannot be compared to the difficulty that our frontline personnel face every day,” Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas said in testimony before a Senate committee on Thursday. “And their bravery and selfless service should be recognized.”

A person aboard the suspected smuggling vessel was fatally shot in the shootout. 

The identities of the people aboard the vessel were not immediately known. 

Authorities arrested the sole survivor on the vessel. 

The FBI is investigating.