"LOCAL 2544 National Border Patrol Council 2410 W RuthrauffRd,"
LOCAL 2544 National Border Patrol Council 2410 W RuthrauffRd, Suite 100 Tucson, Arizona 85705 (800) 581-2544 Fax (520) 293-6044 www.locaI2544.org August 23, 2008 The President of the United States of America The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW Washington, DC 20500 Dear President Bush, I am respectfully requesting that you take a strong stand against Mexican military incursions into the United States. Local 2544 represents about 3,000 Border Patrol agents across the state. We have had hundreds of incursions into this country by Mexican military units. Mexican soldiers have shot at us and detained us at gunpoint. It is a documented fact that the Mexican military is corrupt and is involved in protecting drug cartels, smugglers, and other criminals. During the latest incursion, at approximately 1:30 a.m. on August 3, 2008, four Mexican soldiers held a Border Patrol agent at gunpoint for approximately 6 to 7 minutes in a remote location south of Ajo, Arizona. The agent handled the situation professionally and he remained as calm as possible under the circumstances. The agent was in full uniform, and he was driving a fully marked Border Patrol vehicle, complete with red and blue lights, large green stripes down the side, and the large words "Border Patrol" on the sides and the rear of the vehicle. A reasonable person would conclude that the soldiers knew exactly at whom they were pointing their rifles. Had the agent panicked and fired a shot or attempted to flee in his vehicle there is little doubt the Mexican soldiers would have opened fire. The U.S. State Department declared that the armed detention of our agent was merely a "misunderstanding". This response is unfortunate. During past incursions, the Mexican government has denied it had soldiers in the area. They have blamed impostors, even when military Humvees were involved. Time after time they have gotten away with these incursions and time after time our government has not taken a forceful stand against them. About ten years ago a Border Patrol agent in Nogales, Arizona mistakenly crossed into Mexico near the Nogales Port of Entry. He was trying to help a female prisoner get as close to the border as possible because she was injured. The agent was fired by the Border Patrol for his humanitarian effort. We were told at the time that there are no excuses for crossing onto Mexican soil unless authorized to do so. As illustrated by this example, it is obvious that the United States government does take some "incursions" seriously. In May of 2002 a Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent was shot at by a Mexican military unit in a Humvee. The Mexican military unit was in the United States. This took place in the same general area as this latest incursion. The agent had seen the soldiers and was attempting to flee the area (we are not sufficiently armed to take on military units in Humvees). The rifle shot penetrated the rear window of his fully marked Border Patrol unit, hit the metal prisoner partition behind his head, and then exited through a side window. The response to this shooting was shameful. The Mexican government denied its military was involved, despite the fact that the agent gave a detailed statement about the soldiers' military attire and the Humvee. Our government, under your leadership, did nothing of substance. We witnessed the attempted murder of one of our agents and not a thing was done about it. No outcry, no forceful statement from our government, nothing. Is it any wonder that 6 years later we have the same problem with these incursions being played out again and again? There have already been at least 42 incursions along the U.S.lMexico border this fiscal year. Border Patrol agents have been charged with felony offenses for on-duty conduct. We currently have two former Border Patrol agents, Ignacio Ramos and Jose Compean, in Federal penitentiaries for shooting a drug smuggler after a vehicle chase and an altercation. The agents were given 10-year mandatory-minimum sentences for "Use of a Firearm in the Commission of a Felony". They will spend 11 and 12 years in prison unless their convictions are overturned or they receive some form of executive clemency. The United States Attorney for the District of West Texas, Johnny Sutton, saw to it that these men will spend years in prison. Mr. Sutton has also prosecuted other Border Patrol agents. One agent had his conviction overturned because of misconduct by the Assistant United States Attorneys who prosecuted him. Another spent a year in prison for allegedly "kicking" an uncooperative drug smuggling suspect after a chase. You may defend these prosecutions, but you cannot deny they took place. You cannot deny that we, as Border Patrol agents, have to carry firearms to do our jobs, and that Agents Ramos and Compean were treated as criminals regarding their use of authorized firearms. A Tucson Sector Border Patrol agent, Nicholas Corbett, is currently facing murder charges for the shooting of a rock-wielding illegal alien who was trying to smash his head. He is being prosecuted by the State of Arizona and former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods. The "witnesses" in this case are all family members of the assaultive illegal alien who was shot. Other witnesses at the scene did not support the family members' version of events and they were all returned to Mexico. I could give more examples, but my point is this: Do the Mexican soldiers deserve to be treated better than our own agents? Are they not subject to the same rules and laws that apply to us? I think we can agree on the following: Mexican military units have no authority to enter or remain in the United States without inspection. They have no authority to possess weapons inside the United States. They have no authority to make arrests inside the United States. They certainly have no authority to detain Border Patrol agents at gunpoint inside the United States. 2 Nevertheless, the soldiers violated a number of laws in our opinion. They include, but are not limited to: • 8 USC § 1325 - Entering the United States Without Inspection • 18 USC § 922(g)(5) -Illegal Alien in Possession of a Firearm • 18 USC § 111 - Assault on a Federal Officer The use of a firearm during the commission of a felony mandates a 1O-year minimum sentence under Federal law. The soldiers also could be charged with violating State laws, including: • A.R.S. § 13-1204(A)(2) - Aggravated Assault with a Deadly Weapon • A.R.S. § 13-1204(A)(8) - Aggravated Assault on a Peace Officer The use of firearm in the commission of a felony is an aggravated sentencing factor under state law. The Mexican soldiers should be identified, extradited, and prosecuted. I want to commend our local Border Patrol management for taking this latest military incursion seriously. The Mexican government was not offered the usual opportunity to simply deny any knowledge of soldiers in the area and write it off as "impostors". In past years, certain Border Patrol managers have not only ordered captured Mexican soldiers released, they have also ordered that their weapons be returned to them, even after they shot at Border Patrol agents. Perhaps this is why the Mexican military has little fear of crossing our border illegally, pointing weapons at us, and shooting at us. It is disgraceful that Border Patrol agents are put in harm's way, and our government doesn't do everything reasonably within its power to protect us from marauding Mexican soldiers and others. I have heard time and again that Border Patrol agents charged with crimes "had their day in court" and that charging them was only about "the rule of law". Therefore we are asking that the "rule of law" be applied to the Mexican soldiers as well. Without a forceful response to these illegal incursions, an agent will eventually be seriously wounded or killed. It is only a matter of time. The incursions will not stop until the Mexican military units and their commanders are held accountable for their actions. Sincerely, 4/tlpl11l' Edward Tuffly President Local 2544 3