Concrete and Steel Would Protect our Border Patrol from Thrown Bricks and Stones

The Brownsville Herald recently reported yet another instance of a thrown-projectile assault on Border Patrol agents. According to The Herald, “multiple people from the Mexican side of the Rio Grande threw bricks at Border Patrol agents.”

This is only the latest in a long series of rock and brick throwing incidents stretching back to the late 1970’s. And this type of assault, although frequently dismissed as insignificant by illegal alien advocates, is a serious threat to the health and safety of Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel. In fact, rock-throwing illegal aliens have actually downed several Border Patrol helicopters.

In many cases, the rock-throwers are on the Mexican side of the border. This places Border Patrol agents in a position where they are often unable to defend themselves. American law enforcement agencies have no authority in Mexico, which is a sovereign, independent nation. And it is unclear whether U.S. law grants police personnel the right to fire across international borders in self defense. The Supreme Court addressed certain aspects of this question in Hernandez v. Mesa but the issue remains far from settled and the Border Patrol’s policies on cross-border self-defense are vague at best.

The problem is further complicated by the fact that Mexico has no dedicated police force responsible for patrolling its northern border. The U.S. Border Patrol’s mission includes combatting cross-border crime moving both into and out of the United States. There is no single Mexican agency with a similar mission. Accordingly, the Border Patrol isn’t able to rely on an effective working relationship with Mexican colleagues to eliminate, or at least reduce, cross-border thrown-projectile attacks.

What’s the solution? A tall, stout border wall would go a long way toward protecting Border Patrol agents from alien rock-throwers. Open-borders advocates and the illegal alien grievance machine, make all kinds of outrageous claims about the inefficacy of walls and the alleged “racism” inherent in building a border wall. But, as FAIR has repeatedly noted, the Great Wall of China worked, just like most of the other walls built in antiquity and more recently.

A wall would protect Border Patrol agents, and other law enforcement officials by significantly decreasing the number of illegal border-jumpers who are able attack them on the U.S. side of the border, as well as making it much more difficult to hurl rocks, bricks and other debris across the border.  Israel’s border fences, constructed partially in response to thrown-projectile attacks, have proven remarkably effective in reducing all manner of assaults on security forces. Simply put, if the bad guys can’t get in, they can’t assault your good guys.

And the agents and officers of U.S. Customs and Border Protection are some of the best. In addition to protecting the citizens of the United States, each year they render aid and assistance to thousands of illegal aliens who become lost or stranded in the southwestern deserts. They also regularly provide emergency medical assistance and search/rescue services to rural communities along the Canadian border.

We owe the men and women who keep us safe both our gratitude and support. If building a border wall will help protect them from rock-hurling aliens with murderous intent, that seems a small price to pay. Good fences make good neighbors and stout walls make for safer borders.

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

    In the interim, we need a way to counter this violence that will not violate international law.
    Since the Mexicans obviously accidentally threw their bricks and stones onto American soil, the RIGHT thing to do would be to return them in a similar manner.
    We need a a portable piston-powered catapult with a bucket on one end to hold the returning bricks. It could be powered by a single ten-gauge blank shotgun shell.
    When a brick lands beside a concerned border officer, he simply places it in the bucket, aims it a the thrower (or crowd throwers) and fires.
    How could Mexico complain about our returning their property?

  2. avatar

    Illegal advocates say border agents should just dodge the rocks. And the rock that comes flying out of nowhere, unseen by the agent, and puts an eye out? We need to return to the policy, suspended under Obama, that said agents could fire on those who continue to throw rocks. What the rock throwers are doing is trying to distract agents so their friends can run across the border.

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  4. avatar

    Libtards don’t care whether a BP agent has his skull crushed by a thrown brick. According to them, all BP agents are “racists” including the numerous officers of Mexican ancestry.