Alarming Trend in Assaults on Border Patrol Agents, Over 600 in 2019

This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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RIGHT NOW at NRN w/Sergio Tinoco: Border Patrol Agents Put Their Lives at Great Risk

In an exclusive interview with CBS 4, Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost gave an alarming statistic. Since October 1, 2018 there have been over 600 assaults on border patrol agents. Chris Cabrera, Border Patrol spokesman and vice president for the Local 3307 National Border Patrol Council, had this to say: “We do see a lot of it, our guys get assaulted quite a bit, from punching them, a full on fist fight, pushing on them, spitting on them, it happens quite a bit. It’s something we train for, we continue to train for, we’re always training for something like that, so we can go home to our families at the end of the night.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row column_type=”block” font_color=”light” background_type=”video” video_bg_url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw0XY8UklM8″ video_bg_start_time=”139″ video_bg_end_time=”900″ video_bg_parallax=”true” bt_text=”BORDER WALL” bt_font_weight=”300″ bt_font_style=”italic” shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″ add_bigtext=”true” min_height=”100″ bt_max_width=”300″][vc_column][wvc_video_opener caption_position=”bottom” video_url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kw0XY8UklM8″ caption=”Interview with SERGIO TINOCO | RIGHT NOW Podcast”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Chief Provost called the number of assaults “unacceptable.” When speaking of a particular incident, Cabrera stated that it took 8 minutes for a response when two men fought an agent, resisting apprehension. “Luckily, the agent was in tip-top shape and was able to hold him down until help arrived,” he said. However, there isn’t just a problem with illegal aliens.

There was an incident back in April where Mexican military officials detained two US soldiers working from an unmarked CBP vehicle. The Mexican government said it was a result of some confusion, but President Trump postulated that it could have been Mexican soldiers running a diversionary tactic in order to help their drug cartels.

CBP reported a total of 786 assaults against BP agents during the fiscal year 2018. This is said to be on par with previous years, though down a few assaults from the 844 assaults which were reported in 2017. Although many illegal alien units are family units who want Border Patrol to catch them, many are single men who do not.

From CBS 4: “The most recent assault was a few days ago in Mission, Texas when a Border Patrol agent was trying to arrest a man from Mexico who resisted, punched and scratched the agent. Border Patrol tells CBS 4 that case has been referred for prosecution…Not even a month ago, agents patrolling the Rio Grande on the Marine Riverine Unit were shot at over 50 times. Their boat was hit multiple times, according to CBP. ”

Deputy Chief for the Rio Grande Valley Sector, Austin Skero, had this to say: “One thing I do want to make perfectly clear, as a law enforcement community here in the Rio Grande Valley, we have absolutely zero tolerance for this kind of activity against law enforcement.”

Yuma, Arizona agents released a video in which a man was seen shooting towards a border wall in that area. The man was never caught. A final tally of assaults on border patrol agents is expected to be released by the end of next month.

Personal Story from Sergio Tinoco, Border Patrol Agent

An interesting thing happened to me the other day.  One of my neighbors asked me if the hateful rhetoric against Border Patrol Agents ever discouraged me to the point of wanting to quit.  My neighbor was surprised by my reaction. I considered his question and smiled as I began to tell him of the why and how I know in my heart that I could never hurt any illegal alien unless it was in self-defense or to save the life of another person.

I did inform him that members of the Democratic Party demonizing us to the very public we swore to protect is demoralizing and does hurt every single agent in the field.  In doing so, I felt the need to explain why that was and ultimately allow my neighbor to learn more about me and how so many more agents have a similar story to mine. I chose to tell him of the first time my father had seen me in uniform.  This was that moment:

Mixed Emotions

Something unexpected took place when I first moved back to the city of Weslaco, Texas. I went to go visit my dad (grandfather). I wanted to spend some time with him, and I was curious to know what he thought of my new job.

My mother was supportive but also a bit concerned. She was still living in Reynosa, Mexico, at that time, and she wasn’t too sure on how to address my new employment. Could she talk about it with her friends or was the topic completely off limits? What would her friends think of the fact that her only son’s new job was to catch and deport Hispanics who were living in the United States illegally?

I had not considered what my family would think about my choice in career. Living so close to the border and still having family living in Mexico made things a bit strange. In general, everyone was happy that I was finally going back home. My time in the Army had kept me away from the Rio Grande Valley for twelve years. They just had mixed emotions about the job I now had. They were proud but a bit hesitant to be “excited” about it.

Surprise!

The day I visited my dad, I showed up in my Border Patrol uniform; I wanted to surprise him and also see for myself what he thought of my new job.  He still lived in the same small house where he and my grandmother had raised me. I found him watering his small garden as I pulled into the driveway.

He stopped momentarily to see who had arrived and began to smile once he realized it was me. I opened the door to my truck, got out, and began to walk toward him. His smile slowly became something else. Something I had never seen on him. It wasn’t sadness, it wasn’t fear, and it surely wasn’t amazement.

I had truly never seen or expected that look on my dad’s face, yet he slowly regained his color and his smile as I reached him, hugged him, and gave him a kiss on the cheek.  As our embrace broke, he asked me to sit down, and I helped him onto his rocking chair prior to sitting down myself.

“Are you okay, Dad?”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”” shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″ min_height=”100″ css=”.vc_custom_1566865135627{padding-top: 0px !important;padding-right: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;padding-left: 0px !important;}”][vc_column content_type=”block-media” shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″][wvc_audio_embed link=”https://open.spotify.com/episode/7d2eIa9os3awHfFYkgXH2m”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row equal_height=”” shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″][vc_column shift_x=”0″ shift_y=”0″ z_index=”0″][vc_column_text]

So Many Memories

“Yes, son, but I remembered so many things when I saw you in uniform.”

That was strange to me. I didn’t recall my dad ever telling us any stories of dealing with the Border Patrol when he was young. We all knew he had initially entered the United States illegally but then did what was required to obtain his Resident Alien status to be able to live and work here without fear of ever being removed back to Mexico.

“What memories, Dad?”

He looked at me as if trying to determine whether or not he should tell me about the memories I had stirred up for him. It was a long, quiet moment, and I could tell he was struggling with his decision. My dad had always been a man of few words, but I had never seen him struggle with words.

The Younger Years

He began to rock back and forth on his rocking chair as he began to tell me about his younger years as an illegal alien. He told me he would enter the country illegally once every two weeks or so.  He said that most of the Border Patrol agents he ever encountered or that ever arrested him were fairly nice. He talked about how none of the agents had ever given him reason to fear them, yet he always felt terrified whenever he was caught.

“They knew I was only coming to work. Some of them already knew me and would call me by my name whenever they saw me.”

He talked for a long time about how he would have to use different spots along the Rio Grande to swim across and enter the country. He did so in an attempt to find the unguarded areas and be able to come work.

“Every day they caught me was a day lost. And every day lost was a day without money to eat.”

As he continued to tell me his stories, tears began to roll down his face.  He choked up a few times with his words yet wouldn’t stop talking. It was as if he needed to get those things off his chest. As if he had held on to those memories all his life and finally found an outlet to relieve himself of them.

“They never treated me bad. It was like a child’s game, a game of hide-and-seek.  I always feared the Border Patrol. They were much taller than I was and would always carry their big guns. I was also afraid because the smugglers would always tell us that we would be beaten and possibly killed by the Border Patrol if they ever caught us.  They would tell us that the Border Patrol hated Mexicans.”

A Surreal Moment

He stopped momentarily to wipe his tears away and regain his composure. I took the moment to get him a glass of water from inside the house.  It seemed so much smaller than when I was living there. Walking into and then back out of the house was such a surreal moment.

He looked up at me as I handed him the glass of water and smiled. In that instant, I remembered our short drive on the day he had bought me my first car. I saw that same sense of ease and amazement that I had seen all those years ago when I was just seventeen. I was so ready to break down in that instance. I held it together.

As I sat back down, he drank some water and then leaned toward me.  He placed his glass of water on the ground and grabbed my hands.

“I’m proud of you. I tell you these things because I saw you grow up and know that you will be just as kind as those officers that would catch me.  I also know that you traveled the world while in the Army and yet, you never forgot your roots, where you come from.”

More Precious Memories

All the things I had ever encountered in my life up to that moment had never prepared me for the immense flow of emotions that ran through me in that instant. I broke down along with him as he continued to smile at me. Images of us picking crops in Michigan ran through my mind. Memories of cold mornings, picking oranges and grapefruit in the Rio Grande Valley, surfaced as well.

The many days and nights of missing my mother while I was here and she remained in Mexico, struggling to survive on her own. I looked at our house, such a tiny house; how could eight of us possibly live and be raised in that house?

I was shaking as I turned back toward my dad. His loving smile was still beaming brightly on his face. This frail yet strong man who had forced me to learn so much at such a young age. This man who had instilled his work ethic in me.

In Search of Something Better

He too had struggled for his kids to live a better life than his own. He too had broken the cycle from his own parents by taking so many chances in coming to the United States. He too had left his parents and siblings behind in search of something better.

As poor and humble as we had been throughout all those years, he had found that better life. Seeing him in that instant, I finally realized this, and I believe that, seeing me in uniform at that moment, he too finally realized it.

All my life, I had fought hard against my entire family to do more, to leave the house and my hometown to see if the world had a better life to offer. All that time, my grandparents had been doing the same thing. I was – no, I am my grandfather’s youngest son, and I am exactly like him.

Thank You, Dad

This revelation was excruciatingly overwhelming. My grandfather, my dad had been one of the strongest people I had ever known.  He had fought me on so many things while I was growing up. He had placed so many obstacles in front of me, and I had always found a way to overcome them. All the while he was preparing me for the struggles that lay ahead of me.

To say that I am forever grateful is an understatement. All those years, I thought I was looking at someone and seeing flaws that I wanted to overcome or improve. It turned out that I was seeing someone I wanted to emulate; I wanted to be exactly like him and I had achieved it!

Thank you for the lessons Dad. I love you and miss you very much. And Dad, I’m proud of you to![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Author Profile

Sergio Tinoco
Sergio Tinoco
Sergio Tinoco is a contributing author for NRN. After completing ten years of military service, Tinoco joined the US Border Patrol. Being of Mexican descent, having a family in South Texas and in Mexico, gave way to having to counter threats against his family and ill-willed opinions of him for arresting and deporting “his own kind.”