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November 16, 2014 3:22 AM   Subscribe

The Green Monster: How the Border Patrol became America’s most out-of-control law enforcement agency.
A long-form report from Politico.
posted by Joe in Australia (15 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite
Now, just as he rebuilt police departments in Buffalo and Seattle




I couldn't take this piece as serious at all after that. It's like something from the onion if they're serious with that. SPD is still fucked. They're still using for the right to ignore what the DOJ tried to force them to change.

I know this is a bit of a derail, but that little detail of the article is just such a goddamn joke.

Rebuilt, here, seems to be used in the same sense a shady off-highway buy here pay here used car shop sandwiched between a strip club and a gun shop would use it.

Which is to say, I fired every round in my ROFL-rifle. The mag is completely empty.
posted by emptythought at 3:46 AM on November 16, 2014 [6 favorites]

Guys, guys! You can all be America's most out-of-control law enforcement agency!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:12 AM on November 16, 2014 [31 favorites]

Race to the top!
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:56 AM on November 16, 2014

If you want some weird combination of self-righteousness justice-pride and eye-rolling, and you do, spend a few hours on YouTube watching libertarian gubmint-haters and Immigration-reform activists alike refuse to answer border patrol police questions while filming themselves. It cannot be more satisfying, even when the people filming sometimes say racist things. The BP cops come off as both bullies and ineffectual wimps. It's really the worst of all scenarios. Highly recommended viewing.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:10 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

I thought the Border Patrol was all but ineffective, and that's why patriotic citizens had to patrol the borders.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:58 AM on November 16, 2014

“Their mentality is everyone they encounter is a bad guy, which is totally different from other law enforcement,” Basham says.

Not to fire the LEO hate-train it totally different?
posted by johnnydummkopf at 6:23 AM on November 16, 2014 [15 favorites]

That is EXACTLY the mentality of every law enforcement personnel I've ever encountered. Along with a curious, sincere regret when it turns out you aren't a bad guy. Those feet are just itching to kick ass...
posted by umberto at 6:27 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

Did anyone RTFA? It's amazing and terrifying.
posted by lalochezia at 7:12 AM on November 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

Something like 20% of the US is under the auspices of the Border Patrol . Their mandate extends in like 100 miles from any border or coast. This is a large portion of the country and ALL of Michigan. I saw this as a map once and it's pretty amazing how much land they can claim.

On top of this, they are under the DHS which conducts pant raids.

Neither of these agencies make me feel free or safe.
posted by cjorgensen at 8:03 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

>>Something like 20% of the US is under the auspices of the Border Patrol .

And, 2/3 of the entire population

As someone who can see the Canadian border from my window, this ain't no joke folks.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:32 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

CBP hasn't started internal checkpoints within 100 miles of the ocean borders. While it's technically true that 2/3 of the US population is subject to SCOTUS-approved warrant- and probable-cause- free stops and questioning, by trumpeting this figure, the ACLU looks a little silly.

If we focus on where the stops are happening, we can see the harm of actual civil rights intrusions such as hassling a bus full of students in upstate New York. Don't expect outrage-inducing stops in L.A. or New York. Expect stops on rural I-5 north of Portland trying to stop diversion of cannabis from WA to OR. The DOJ has pledged hands-off Washington and Colorado and medical marijuana, but they've promised to stop trafficking from Colorado to the midwest.

Only 1/4 into the article, but it's great so far.
posted by morganw at 9:54 AM on November 16, 2014 [1 favorite]

As as aside, the 2005 Tommy Lee Jones film The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada is a very satisfying revenge fantasy about the Border Patrol's lack of accountability. (Not that it helps the real issues TFA is talking about, but fun to watch nevertheless.)
posted by slappy_pinchbottom at 10:16 AM on November 16, 2014 [2 favorites]

Expect stops on rural I-5 north of Portland trying to stop diversion of cannabis from WA to OR.

Point taken in general, but I wonder how this will change now that Oregon legalized? If you legally buy medical marijuana in California, could you drive to Seattle with it in your car since you'd never be touching land on which it's possession is illegal? Or is taking it interstate what they nail you on since it's federally illegal.

I realize this may be a bit far afield, but this sort of hassling just seems bizarre and reachy, and almost an abuse of power when you've never gone to anywhere it's actually illegal. It makes less sense than the "have a flight layover somewhere your gun is illegal and get arrested" routine since it's just... Not illegal anywhere.

Like could this problem even exist on the west coast anymore?
posted by emptythought at 3:08 PM on November 16, 2014

The one that always gets me (though it pales in comparison to the excessive use of force by the Border Patrol) is CBP's pathetic insistence on arming virtually all of its agents at airports. I get the desire to have some sort of armed law enforcement presence at immigration and customs halls, but surely that could be accomplished with at most a dozen or so officers on each shift? The cost and liability of having that many armed agents stamping passports has got to be ludicrous. Of all the ways to break into this country, shooting your way through an airport arrivals hall is one of the least practical. Most of these people have less need to be armed than the clerks at the DMV.

Somehow, the CBP preclearence officers manage to do the same job at Canadian, Caribbean, and Irish airports while unarmed.
posted by zachlipton at 4:38 PM on November 16, 2014 [3 favorites]

About those 100-mile limits: Let's not forget the time a US senator was ordered out out of his car in an impromptu border inspection in New York State, nowhere near a border.

When he asked the Border Patrol agent under whose authority he was working, the agent pointed to his gun.

"That's all the authority I need," the agent said, according to Leahy.
posted by adamg at 6:56 PM on November 16, 2014 [4 favorites]

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