Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Border Patrol Union Under Fire

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National correspondent Andy Ramirez of the Liberty News Network stepped up his criticism of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) labor union on several fronts in a new video report released over the weekend (below), addressing multiple issues including the case of jailed Border Patrol agent Jesus Diaz, Jr. and some of the union’s shortcomings.

“There has always been a flaw to the National Border Patrol Council,” Ramirez said. “They’re employed by the U.S. Border Patrol — by the Department of Homeland Security.” As such, agents are very limited in what they can discuss with their union — especially if it involves a possible violation of rules, policy, or even the law. “There’s no confidentiality. There never has been; there never will be,” Ramirez explained. “Ultimately, that’s the law — you only have the right to privacy when talking with your counsel.”

Ramirez is a long-time advocate for the Border Patrol and its agents. And after a series of his LNN reports exposed some uncomfortable facts about the NBPC and other border-related issues, he has come under attack in recent weeks. Some accused him of having an “agenda,” which he does. “My agenda — so you understand this — is to pull the corruption and security compromises out of the shadows and put them into the light of day where all can see,” Ramirez responded to the allegations, noting that he was trying to be a voice for those who could not speak for themselves.

He also reiterated points addressed in past reports that resulted in the attacks. In a recent LNN report by Ramirez, for example, he exposed the millions of dollars in political contributions made to leftist politicians by an NBPC-affiliated outfit known as the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC). Following Ramirez’s report, a local border-patrol union placed a notice on its website saying agents’ dues money was not actually being used by the union to fund candidates. But the issue of PORAC’s contributions was never addressed.

Another scandal Ramirez has been hammering away at is the prosecution of former border agent Jesus Diaz, Jr. After the Mexican government filed a complaint alleging that Diaz had pulled on the handcuffs of an illegal alien apprehended near the border, the union did not adequately fulfill its obligations to defend their member, according to Ramirez, Diaz’s wife and other observers. In fact, a senior union official with the NBPC even went on a radio program and essentially attempted to “sabotage” the jailed agent’s case, critics said. Following the broadcast, a controversy over whether the union official was acting on his own or had the blessing of his institution erupted.

“Now, I don’t know, because I’ve not been privy to any such discussion or information,” Ramirez acknowledged. “But I can tell you this: given my own organizations… we have discussions before we issue public statements.” On top of that, the union official is listed as the media contact for the national union and the relevant local chapter.

And some agents are not happy. “One thing that has come to the attention of a number of Border Patrol agents as a result of the Diaz case is how he was thrown under the bus,” Ramirez told The New American. Apparently the incident has provoked something of a furor.

“The union does not inform members of how they can withdraw from the union, instead sending agent members to their website for the drop date,” Ramirez said. “While agents will also find an application to join, there is no form for whose who wish to leave the union at least prior to when this story was published.” Now, agents can find forms to join or leave the union at AdvocatesCouncil.us provided as a pro-bono service.

Andy Ramirez is the founder and president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council, the next step in advocacy after his previous organization known as Friends of the Border Patrol. Liberty News Network is an affiliated news group of The John Birch Society.

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