Border Patrol Leaders: Stop Throwing Agents Under the Bus!

The Coloradoan (part of the USA Today Network) may have hit a new journalistic low with one of its recent articles. Titled “Border Patrol Accused of Vandalizing Water Aid Stations in the Desert,” it clearly implies that agents of the U.S. Border Patrol have engaged in criminal acts aimed at harming illegal aliens.

But that isn’t even close to being accurate. The article should have been called, “Border Patrol Agents Thwart Attempts to Aid and Abet Illegal Aliens.”

What really happened? A private advocacy group called No More Deaths obtained pictures of border agents disassembling supply caches found in the desert. That’s hardly “vandalism.” Nor, in fact, is it any other type of crime.

For enforcement agents in the field, there is virtually no way to distinguish between ad hoc aid stations set up by ostensibly well-meaning aid organizations and supply dumps established by drug cartels and smuggling rings. And removing food and water from hazardous sections of the border often keeps illegal aliens from unwittingly wandering into danger.

It’s also worth noting that, pursuant to 8 U.S.C. § 1324 encouraging aliens to illegally enter the United States is a crime. Not to mention that dumping food and supplies unattended on federal lands violates hundreds of Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service, National Forest Service, Environmental Protection Agency and Department of Agriculture regulations. So it appears that it’s No More Deaths breaking the law, not the Border Patrol.

It’s shocking to see a major news outlet unsubtly implying that Border Patrol agents were maliciously “tampering” with “water and food aid stations.” Especially when the source of the accusations is inherently biased.

Far from being a legitimate watchdog organization, No More Deaths is a radical open-borders group that doesn’t believe in any form of immigration enforcement. In the past, the organization has attempted to prevent the Border Patrol from taking suspected alien smugglers into custody. No More Deaths has also called for human rights investigations of the Border Patrol by the United Nations and the Inter American Court for Human Rights, in addition to requesting that Congress totally dissolve the agency.

What’s even more shocking is the manner in which Customs and Border Protection immediately kowtowed when its employees were criticized, sternly noting that agents “have been instructed not to remove or destroy water stations, food or other resources left along the trails in the desert.” In essence, the Border Patrol is telling everyone that keeping radical agitators happy is more important than enforcing laws its agents are sworn to uphold.

But pursuing those kinds of foolish policie merely gives credence to false allegations made by radical organizations like No More Deaths. President Trump has made it clear that he supports immigration enforcement officers in the pursuit of their duties. It’s time the bosses at the Border Patrol started doing the same thing and pushing back against the type of malicious falsehoods being pushed by the likes of The Coloradoan.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar

    Essentially, I agree with No More Death in preventing unnecessary deaths in the desert. To do this correctly though, they need to educate the Hispanic population south of the border about the fatal conditions in the open deserts and insist on using the air-conditioned legal ports of entry into the US instead. I am 100% against providing a free air-conditioned shuttle service from any hole in the border fence.

    • avatar

      I made the mistake of commenting on Ex Mayor Villaraigosa’s facebook page citing USC 1324. If you read through the replies you would be horrified at the names that people called me- the abuses and racial slurs that were hurled at me. Even the mayor chimed in to defend his position and posted videos of leaving water for these criminals. ALL I did was tell them the border agents are enforcing federal law!