Monday, February 02, 2009

Border Patrol Quota

Border Agents Say They Had Arrest Quotas

Published: February 1, 2009

SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) — Border Patrol agents working about 100 miles
north of the Mexican border say they have been given arrest quotas at
odds with agency practices and threatened with punishment if they
failed to meet the number.

Agents stationed in Riverside reported being ordered to make at least
150 arrests of suspected illegal immigrants in January, two of which
must lead to prosecutions, said Lombardo Amaya, president of Local
2554 of the National Border Patrol Council.

"They were told if you don't produce this, we will have to change
your weekends off," Mr. Amaya said, adding that he would discuss the
matter Monday with the sector chief. "Sometimes, like in politics,
this agency is about looking good."

An agency spokesman in Washington, Lloyd Easterling, said quotas ran
counter to agency practice, which does not set a minimum number of

"If we had quotas to fill and met those quotas," Mr. Easterling
said, "then would that mean we would be able to stop doing our job?
No. Our job is to secure the border and detect, deter and apprehend
anyone who is involved in illegal activity between the ports of

Jeffrey Calhoon, chief patrol agent for the El Centro sector, which
covers Imperial and Riverside Counties, said he was not aware of any

"We would never structure our work environment to create quotas," Mr.
Calhoon said. "We have a union we have to negotiate with."

The agents' accusations came weeks after one of their colleagues at
the Riverside station was fired over a dispute with local management.

The union has appealed the termination of the colleague, Tony
Platell, who said he was dismissed for disobeying an order to remain
at a desert freeway checkpoint where six suspected illegal immigrants
were picked up. Mr. Platell said he wanted to take them to the
station quickly because they looked dehydrated.

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