Del Rio Sector flooding

Due to the historic levels of water presently in Lake Amistad, the dam is nearly entirely open.  The surrounding areas and the communities down stream will continue to experience flooding for, what may be, several more days.

After the dam was opened, one of the immediate consequences was accelerated flooding downriver of Lake Amistad.  The Rio Grande continued to swell up and the creeks and arroyos which normally dump into the Rio became new fingers of the swollen river.  The flooding ultimately became so bad that Elm Creek spilled over Highway 277 and the highway was subsequently inundated with water.  Maverick County authorities shut down Highway 277, just outside of Eagle Pass, Texas, on Monday night to Tuesday afternoon, July 5-6.  Agents who normally commute between Eagle Pass and Del Rio, Texas were forced to travel up Highway 57, to FM 481, to Uvalde, Texas, to Highway 90, through Brackettville, Texas and finally on to Del Rio.  This route added in excess of two hours to Agents’ travel times.

The Union felt that the impact of the alternate route was excessive, dangerous, and unnecessary.  To address our concerns, an e-mail was sent to Sector requesting that Agents who would be impacted by the closure of Highway 277 be allowed to work in nearby, non-obstructed, stations.   The Acting Chief Patrol Agent, Dean Sinclair, responded that he would allow agents to attend closer stations so long as it did not impact operations and was approved by the necessary Patrol Agents in Charge.  This allowance would only be for the time that Highway 277 was blocked.

The Union would like to commend the Service for allowing this temporary measure.  We feel that the Service acted in a responsible manner by considering the impact of the environment on the Agents.  The Union strongly believes that this type of dialogue is essential for remedying legitimate Agent concerns.  We applaud Chief Sinclair for his prudence in this matter.

Although the raining has stopped for now, the river and surrounding areas still remain treacherous.   Despite the recession of the river, we encourage agents to use caution when operating near the river or other flooded areas.  Washouts, slick banks and areas where water may be continuing to cover the road are the by-product of Rio Grande flooding.  In the past years, accidents have occurred due to each of these calamities.   Agents have rolled their trucks after dropping tires into washouts, slid their vehicles into rivers or canals, and had vehicles swept away while trying to ford water covered roads.


NBPC press release on rock assaults

Rock Assaults are Deadly Force, says Border Patrol Union

El Paso, TX – June 9, 2010 – Since biblical times, rocks have been used as a crude but effective weapon to injure and kill humans. On June 8, 2010, when Border Patrol Agents were assaulted at the U.S./Mexico border by several individuals armed with rocks, they were forced to defend themselves and their fellow agents.

Border Patrol Agents are not trained, nor paid to withstand violent assaults without the ability to defend themselves. Rocks are weapons and constitute deadly force. If an agent is confronted with deadly force they will respond in kind. No agent wants to have to shoot another human being, but when an agent is assaulted and fears for his life then his hand is forced.

The government of Mexico has done their usual grandstanding where they hurled baseless accusations at the Border Patrol agents, made claims of racism, and portrayed the deceased criminal as an innocent boy who had never done a thing wrong in his life. None of these statements have any merit. Mexico bears quite a bit of responsibility whenever one of its citizens dies along the border due to its allowing criminal organizations free-reign and its refusal to police its northern border.

While the loss of this teenager’s life is regrettable, it is due solely to his decision to pick up a rock and assault a United States Border Patrol Agent. We stand behind the actions of the agents who did their duty in El Paso, and are confident that the investigation into his incident will justify their actions.

Original release:

AFL-CIO and Arizona’s SB 1070

The National Border Patrol Council Opposes AFL-CIO’s Position on SB – 1070

Thursday, 20 May 2010

The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) strongly opposes AFL-CIO’s position on provisions of 8 USC § 1357 (g) (also known as 287(g)) and Senate Bill 1070, which was passed by the Arizona legislature and amended by House Bill 2162. Although the NBPC is an affiliate of AFL-CIO, the NBPC was not consulted by AFL-CIO regarding the letter to Secretary Janet Napolitano, Department of Homeland Security.

The NBPC contends AFL-CIO’s request to terminate 287 (g) agreements in Arizona is irresponsible and lacking any factual basis to support their request. The claim that the federal government will be “complicit in the racial profiling that lies at the heart of the Arizona law” is outlandish. SB 1070 specifically prohibits racial profiling: “A law enforcement official or agency of this state or a county, city, town or other political subdivision of this state may not consider race, color, or national origin in the enforcement of this section except to the extent permitted by the United States or Arizona Constitution.”

In the future, the NBPC urges AFL-CIO to consult with affiliates before taking a position in direct opposition to an affiliate. AFL-CIO should reconsider their irrational policy of supporting lawbreakers (illegal aliens) and initiatives that oppose efforts to enforce immigration laws. Instead, AFL-CIO should consider supporting workers who have a legal right to be employed in the United States.

WHTI Policy Clarification and Comment

On March 5, 2010, leadership of Local 2366 met with Representatives of Del Rio Sector and discussed the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative (WHTI) policy issued on November 25, 2009.

The Union had several concerns over measures which were outlined in the November policy. Specifically, the Union objected to differential treatment given to off-duty Border Patrol Agents and employees versus non-Border Patrol citizens. We objected to the detention of off-duty Border Patrol employees, who had satisfied immigration and entry requirements, solely so members of Border Patrol management could interview the off-duty employees regarding WHTI non-compliance. Further, we felt that possible disciplinary measures taken against WHTI non-compliant employees was not just unfair, but beyond the Service’s power to implement.

At the meeting with Sector, the Union was able to alter and clarify the WHTI policy to the point that the Union now feels comfortable with the final result. The agreed upon policy, now preserves an employee’s rights whilst meeting the objectives of management. A brief analysis of the new policy is outlined below.

1. The Service has stressed the importance of obtaining, and maintaining, the appropriate travel documents when one is entering the United States.

2. Border Patrol credentials do not meet WHTI compliance and will not be accepted at the Ports of Entry (POE). In addition, Border Patrol employees may create a nexus by attempting to use their work credentials as a travel document while off-duty. Some of the documents which meet WHTI standards include:

a. United States Passport

b. United States Passport Card

c. ­­Trusted Traveler program cards like NEXUS, SENTRI and FAST/EXPRES

d. Enhanced driver’s license or enhanced identification cards

e. Other options are also available for members of special groups such as, Native American Indians, Legal Permanent Residents, and members of the military


3. If a Border Patrol employee is not in compliance with WHTI they may be reported to the Border Intelligence Center (BIC).

The Union and the Service both felt that this activity is within the rights of management so long as the off-duty employee is not adversely impacted. For example, the off-duty employee should not be unnecessarily detained once they have satisfied the entry requirements and inspection.

4. A member of management may report to the POE to meet with the Port Director, or his designee, to determine the facts of the WHTI non-compliance. Again, the off-duty employee will not be detained for this investigation.

5. The employee may later be requested to write a memorandum detailing the incident when he or she is next on-duty.

Employees will not be asked or directed to execute a memorandum off-duty. The only circumstance where this would be allowable is when the Service is willing to pay the employee overtime. Administratively Uncontrollable Overtime (AUO) is never allowed when an employee is told to come in to work when they would otherwise be off-duty. AUO is meant to be un-schedulable, unforeseeable, non-administrative and a continuation of duties.

There are a number of rights that management has which are expressed in WHTI policy and, it should be noted that, short of the memorandum request, the entirety of the investigation will take place without the employee’s presence or assistance. Under the new WHTI policy, neither the employee’s rights nor off-duty time will be adversely impacted.

Finally, the Union feels that there is no nexus between an employee failing to provide approved WHTI documents and that individual’s position in the Service. We have made it very clear to the Service that we object to any discipline or adverse action which may be proposed due solely to WHTI non-compliance.

If you have any questions, or experience any difficulty due to this policy, please contact your station steward.