Border Patrol told to stand down in Arizona - The Washington Times: Nation/Politics - May 13, 2005
: "U.S. Border Patrol agents have been ordered not to arrest illegal aliens along the section of the Arizona border where protesters patrolled last month because an increase in apprehensions there would prove the effectiveness of Minuteman volunteers, The Washington Times has learned.
More than a dozen agents, all of whom asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, said orders relayed by Border Patrol supervisors at the Naco, Ariz., station made it clear that arrests were 'not to go up' along the 23-mile section of border that the volunteers monitored to protest illegal immigration.
'It was clear to everyone here what was being said and why,' said one veteran agent. 'The apprehensions were not to increase after the Minuteman volunteers left. It was as simple as that.'
Another agent said the Naco supervisors 'were clear in their intention' to keep new arrests to an 'absolute minimum' to offset the effect of the Minuteman vigil, adding that patrols along the border have been severely limited.
Border Patrol Chief David V. Aguilar at the agency's Washington headquarters called the accusations 'outright wrong,' saying that supervisors at the Naco station had not blocked agents from making arrests and that the station's 350 agents were being 'supported in carrying out' their duties.
'Border Patrol agents are the front line of defense against terrorism,' Chief Aguilar said, adding that the 11,000 agents nationwide are 'meeting that challenge, head-on ... as daunting a task as that may sound.'
The chief -- a former head of the agency's Tucson sector, which includes the Naco station -- said that with the world watching the Arizona border because of the Minuteman Project, agents in Naco 'demonstrated flexibility and resilience in carrying out their critical homeland security duties and responsibilities.'
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