Border Patrol Appreciation

Border Patrol helicopter hovering behind our house

The US Border Patrol is not what you think and definitely not as Hollywood portrays them (like Men in Black, not). The men are very polite and fit and have great uniforms…OK never mind that part. They are both Latino and Anglo, male and female. They are very visible in my neighborhood, with familiar green-striped trucks and helicopters, plus ATVs and horses. The first time you see a Border Patrol truck stopped with eight or ten UDAs sitting down on the side of the road, it’s a bit of a shock. Here, they take them back to the border town of Naco, a couple miles down the road.

Being a BP agent is also a job and they are human beings—they get sandwiches at the Safeway deli and coffee at the Shell station. My friend Janice often walks right up to them and thanks them out loud, but she’s a shameless flirt. If you ask them how they’re doing, they say “busy.”

When I volunteered at the pound I adopted out more than a few dogs and cats to border patrol agents and their families—they live here too. There’s a popular small Mexican takeout restaurant nearby that’s busy from morning till night and often BP trucks and/or cop cars are parked out front. We’re glad the guys have a local place to eat that they can trust, as we’ve heard horrible rumors of some fast-food restaurant employees sabotaging the food of BP agents. Once we saw a group of young Mexicans being quietly hateful to some agents in Safeway, but from what I see, that isn’t the norm. People accept them. If you don’t like the USBP you should definitely move away from the border.

Whenever we go to Tucson all traffic is required to stop at a checkpoint. A male or female BP agent with a German shepherd asks a few questions then looks inside the back windows of your car. People here accept this inconvenience as part of life.

Sometimes their helicopters will hover for 15 or 20 minutes in the desert right behind the fence in our backyard. As much as I love to go for walks around here, I never walk after dark. I have seen too many makeshift shelters in the nearby desert—mesquite trees with the brush flattened down under them, filled with garbage. So very, very, much garbage.  The helicopters hover until the trucks can get in there to pick up the UDAs. (That stands for undocumented aliens, what they seem to officially call them here.)

A lot of people here hate the Border Patrol but we’re glad they’re here.

6 responses to “Border Patrol Appreciation

  1. My wife’s father was a Border Patrol Agent. Never fired at a person in his whole career. He was (is) a crack shot. So much so, a federal judge in Dallas hired him as his U.S. Marshall. He loved his border patrol work and helping others. He’s retired now.

  2. Thanks to the media and useless soapbox preachers who are all emotive tongue and no action, officers of the government involved in Border Control activities are often stigmatised – as cowboys and the all time favourite … racist. Protecting the interests of a country is a huge and multi-layered task – for example, Border Control entails an economic rationale – people are quick to say ‘let them be’ but you may find it’s these same people that are the 1st to protest when it’s their taxes that need to be drained in order to support the additional burden on the system. Each country is not a bottomless bowl of resources & controlling and allocating these resources is a major responsibility & necessity – E x

  3. So true. There’s way too much vomiting up unrealistic ideals as rhetoric because it sells—but a country has borders, and citizens who live within them. It’s a physical thing, and can be accomplished. The people of Mexico have no defense against the drug cartels, it almost seems like anarchy, and it’s right next door. The government should be addressing this regardless of rhetoric and the people who buy into it. Most countries do. My country does not. I feel very disconnected to my government. What a mess. Thanks for writing.

  4. I live next to a different border – the border with Canada. Making generalities about groups of people should always raise an alarm (whether they group is Mexican, Canadian, or border patrol agents). The group that makes the most trouble for all border patrol agents are politicians.
    Here’s an illustration of that: in 2006, beef could not be brought over from Ca to the US. Border patrol agents had to search cars for beef and confiscate/destroy it. Unbeknownst to them, the bush/cheney admin had forced the usda to allow “big beef” to import mass quantities of beef from ca to their “beef factories” in the US.
    Individual’s purchase of beef did not enter the US food supply; importation of “suspect” beef by producers did. Border agents were forced to become a party to blatant hypocracy. Does this sort of thing make their lives easy?
    When Congress changed its mind repeatedly about id requirements for entry (or re-entry) into this country, who gets the questions from citizens who wish to abide by the law? And who must deal with the frustration of not having the answers? I tried to make it a point to apologize to the agents, and commiserate, but many believed that they weren’t allowed to share their misery (military, and all that).
    It’s always a good policy to have empathy, and dispense it freely. Life often goes smoother that way.

    • I never heard of the beef issues. But all politicians are troublemakers. They’re totally disconnected from our daily lives. We really need more border patrol here, so they send us a couple hundred soldiers then take them away a few months later. The USBP has an enormously tough job, and they’re very serious about it, so I can understand why they’re not chatty. But they are compassionate, I see it.

      Spring and fall are the busiest times for the BP here. I don’t know if I would’ve moved to this neighborhood if I had known my back yard is a corridor.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s