Feds Feed Families Campaign a message from Sector Deputy

Saludos to All El Centro Sector Employees,

Please allow me to share a couple of items with you on the Feds Feed Families Campaign. For the last several years, El Centro Sector employees have been very supportive of the Feds Feed Families Campaign, and have demonstrated what community and family is all about, showing our true colors of compassion, generosity, and good will towards each other and the citizens of the Valley. Did you know… there are more than 41,000 individuals in the Imperial Valley living below the poverty level? This number has grown more than 11,500 since 2006. A more devastating figure than this one is more than half of these individuals are children who go hungry every day in the Imperial Valley. In this day and age, I cannot fathom the idea of a child waking up in the middle of the night saying Mommy/Daddy my tummy hurts, I’m hungry. Or getting ready to go to school in the morning and asking Mom or Dad if there’s food to make breakfast. Or opening the refrigerator after a long day at school to see that there is nothing in there, and the shelves are also empty. Imagine the gut-wrenching feeling those Moms and Dads experience when this happens right before their eyes…the despair, the sadness, the depression…true emptiness on many levels.

This does not have to be this way; me, you and all of us together, have the power to change this in the Imperial Valley. I am not writing this email to you as a Sector Staff Officer, but as a fellow Border Patrol Agent who calls the Imperial Valley home. This is also not intended to muscle you, or twist your arm into supporting the Feds Feed Family Campaign, or to win a friendly competition between the Naval Air Facility (NAF) in Seeley, and our brothers and sisters in blue from the Office of Field Operations (OFO). Nor is it intended to distract any of you from the challenges we are faced in the Patrol, like AUO, Use of Force, etc… This is not intended to make anyone look good, it is genuinely intended to help those in our community that are hungry. I understand there are mixed emotions out there, and you may not want to support this effort because you don’t believe the intention, or you don’t believe or care for management, or you just don’t want to support it because you don’t want to support it. I am ok with that, saddened, if that is the case, but I’m ok with that. The reality is that we have a hunger problem in the Imperial Valley. A problem that has a fairly easy solution, a solution that does not cost anyone a whole lot, and you can help solve the problem by simply donating what you can afford to the Feds Feeds Families Campaign, which will in turn be donated to the Imperial Valley Food Bank (IVFB).

In 2012, ELC Border Patrol employees donated 29,300 lbs. of food to the IVFB, and in 2013, BP employees donated 29,000 lbs. to the IVFB. And, because we challenged the NAF in Seeley last year, collectively, more than 60,000 lbs. of food was donated to the IVFB by two federal entities. This helps keep the food bank operational in the Valley, which feeds more than 20,000 individuals each month, and goes a long way towards eliminating hunger.

Together, we can have a positive and tremendous impact in our community! Together, we can help eradicate hunger in the Imperial Valley!

I humbly, and respectfully ask for your help in this endeavor.

Thank you in advance,

Salvador Zamora
A-Deputy Chief Patrol Agent
U.S.B.P. / El Centro Sector Headquarters

Border Patrol Agents Tuberculosis Exposure/protocols to follow.

AT MINIMUM, ANY EXPOSURE INCIDENT INVOLVING TUBERCULOSIS, MUST CONTAIN ALL OF THE FOLLOWING ELEMENTS

 

EXPOSURE INCIDENTS

Management must identify each employee involved in an exposure incident. The employee should receive a tuberculin skin test as soon as possible with a retest at 12 weeks. The employee must also undergo an evaluation by a physician and a medical questionnaire. Upon completion of a three month follow-up, those employees who remain to be tuberculin non-reactors will have completed the process and should return to their normally scheduled TB screening. In most cases the normal schedule for TB screening, is once yearly, or upon a visit from the FO H personnel that administer this type of testing.

MEDICAL RECORDS:

The physician’s written opinion must be limited to: The employee’s TB skin test status (e. g., Positive or negative): The employee’s in affectivity status (e.g. noninfectious or infectious): A statement that the employee has been informed of the results of the medical evaluation; A statement that the employee has been told about any medical conditions resulting from exposure to TB that require further evaluation or treatment; Recommendations for work restrictions; and, The employee’s ability to wear a respirator, (if applicable). All medical findings or diagnoses not directly related to TB infectious status, ability to wear a respirator, or work restrictions must be kept confidential and not included in any report.

For the Collateral Duty Safety Officer working on this case, the following must be performed as well.

DECONTAMINATION OF SPACES

Tuberculosis is transmitted by small airborne droplets or droplet nuclei from person-to-person in close contact or possibly through ventilation systems. Other dried secretions in and of themselves do not pose a significant hazard. Therefore when a case of active pulmonary tuberculosis disease is discovered, the following steps should be taken: The filters in the ventilation system exhausting the areas where the source case worked must be cleaned as per the usual HVAC procedures. If possible, increased circulation of fresh air and exposure of the working spaces to natural light (sunlight) will rapidly clear any infectious, airborne droplet nuclei from the spaces. In the case of the Calexico Station where the exposure to sunlight is impractical if not impossible, at the very least the filters in the ventilation system should be thoroughly cleaned if not replaced, and the personnel assigned to this task should be notified of the reason for the cleaning or replacement.

REFERENCES CONCERNING TUBERCULOSIS EXPOSURE CONTROL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING DOCUMENTS:

The United States Land Ports of Entry Design Guide, Prevention and Control of Tuberculosis in Correctional Facilities, Recommendations of the Advisory Council for the Elimination of Tuberculosis, issued by the Center for Disease Control and the Proposed Rule for the Occupational Exposure to TB (§ 1910.1035) issued by OSHA. On the OWCP or Office of Worker’s Compensation side of the issue the employee, supervisor and all other personnel involved should follow the established protocols:

ESTABLISHED PROTOCOLS: Occupational diseases are defined as being produced by systemic infections, continued or repeated stress or strain, exposure to toxins, poisonous fumes, noise, etc., in the work environment longer than (1) one workday or shift. In order to qualify as a disease, injury must be caused by exposure or activities on at least (2) two days. Example: Employee, whose job is moving equipment every day, develops back strain. If back strain came from continued lifting rather than lifting a specific piece of furniture, case would be classified as occupational disease. The same rule applies to an employee who was exposed to toxic fumes over a long period of time and contracts respiratory disease, then that employee would be classified as having sustained a disease. In cases identified by this example, A CA-2 would be filed by the employee to OWCP.

NOTE: Employees should be aware that it is extremely difficult to prove these conditions were caused by person’s job activities or environment and take longer to adjudicate than traumatic injuries. If as I suspect, is the case in this matter, the employee was exposed for the 8 hours or less, then the CA- 1 is the correct course of action and if as I have been informed the employees are made to attend appointments with physicians and/or medical facilities, on their day(s) off, then this is not the correct course of action because under the CA-1 the employee should be employing Continuation of Pay (COP) during subsequent appointments. In order to meet the threshold of an injury in a single event that occurs within eight hours, (CA-1), the injury must meet five requirements: The CA-1 must be timely filed. The employee must be a civil employee. The fact of the injury must be met. (The fact in this place was any documentation from a third party agency, as in this case, the agency was notified by ICE that the individuals were positive TB Carriers/Infected ) The employee must be injured while performance duty, and The casual relationship between condition and injury must be met in the sequence. (In this case) While in the performance of their duties which require that the employees work in close proximity of any individual processed, (fingerprinting) an individual infected with Tuberculosis, as was identified by a subsequent agency (ICE), in an enclosed environment (with-out direct sunlight), the employees came into contact with the individual that was infected with Tuberculosis.

Additionally:

Please be advised that should the level of exposure rise to the level of an Occupational Disease/Exposure to the same individual beyond the 8 hours and therefore require a CA-2 the following applies: (A good example of this type of exposure would be an employee exposed to Scabies where an employee may have one of Texas families for a significant period of time. The employee is informed that the individual in custody is positive for Scabies and at a later time the employee develops a rash, and also the employee was exposed for over 8 hours) No COP is authorized for Occupational Disease. If the employee is entitled to Leave, Compensation for Leave Without Pay; Leave Buyback; or any other Wage Loss, such as a Downgrade/Reduction in Pay, Loss of Night Pay Differential, etc., or Scheduled Award, file a CA-7, “Claim for Compensation”, Sections 1 – 7, and submit to agency for completion and submission to OWCP. Supervisor Should: Assist employee in filing CA-2, Notice of Occupational Disease and Claim for Compensation, immediately in CBP e-comp electronic system. Challenge claim, if appropriate at the time of submission. Give employee the signed receipt of Report of Notice of Occupational Disease or Illness. Give employees two copies of appropriate CA – 35 a – h checklist. (These list are essential in describing the information needed from both the employee and the Agency in order to have the appropriate OWCP District Office adjudicate the claim. One checklist is for the employee to gather the necessary evidence to support the claim and the second checklist employee to take to the attending physician. Complete CA-2, 19-35 along with appropriate CA-35 a-h, Agency portion of the checklist and submit to OWCP, within 10 working days of receipt from the employee. Not give CA-16, Authorization for Examination and/or Treatment, unless OWCP has approved. Explain to employee: The right to elect Sick or Annual Leave or Leave With-Out Pay, pending adjudication of the claim. If the employee sustains any out-of-pocket medical expenses to include pharmacy, submit CA-915, Claim for Reimbursement. For Mileage Reimbursement submit OWCP-957 Medical Travel Refund Request. Provide employee with OWCP-1500, Federal Employees Compensation Program Medical Providers Claim Form. Give employee Affiliated Computer System (ACS) address information card to be given to treating physician/medical facility for handling bill submissions and medical procedures authorizations. Inform employee if claim is being challenged? Give employee CA-7 Claim for Compensation, with instructions to complete the front and return the form to the agency for agency completion of sections 8-15 for submission to OWCP. If Leave Buy Back is authorized, complete CA-7, Claim for Compensation, Sections 8-15, along with the CA-7B, Leave Buy Back, (LBB) Worksheet Certification and Election, and submit to OWCP.

Family, friends keep agent’s memory alive

By CHELCEY ADAMI, Staff Writer | Posted: Friday, July 25, 2014 12:55 am

The fifth annual Robert Rosas Jr. Memorial Relay Run ended with tears, smiles and hugs at Evergreen Cemetery early Thursday.

The event commemorates the popular El Centro local who was often jokingly referred to as “the mayor of El Centro,” and his young son and daughter have grown up attending the event annually.

In the 68-mile run, most participants run 2.55 miles, in honor of Rosas’ call sign, while others go above and beyond to run 25.5 miles.

It began with a solemn ceremony on Wednesday evening at the Campo memorial cross at the site of where Rosas was killed in 2009 by several men who illegally crossed the border, ambushed, and fatally shot him.

The run ends with a prayer at his gravesite, and Rosas’ 7-year-old son Matthew led the group in its final leg into the cemetery.

“They make me so proud when they’re out here. They’re growing up too fast,” Rosas’ cousin Denise Robles said of his children. “I miss him (Rosas) dearly. He loved being an agent. It’s one of those things where he’ll never be forgotten and we’re grateful for all the support.”

Border Patrol Agent Frank Santos was friends with Rosas and organizes the annual relay run.

Seeing Rosas’ children participate is “huge for me because they motivate us,” he said. “A lot of the times that they come out here, we’re going through sleep deprivation and going through the gamut of emotion so when I see them and when I hear them, it allows us to push forward.”

Santos was one of two runners to complete 25.5 miles of the memorial run this year.

“It was hard, it was extremely arduous. It was difficult and it always is, it doesn’t seem to get any easier,” he said. “I think about that night, and I think about Robert, him having to fight and defend himself, and the pain he must have endured and the pain his family still endures with the loss and it enables me to put the pain, the physical pain that I feel and the anguish that I feel, to the side and continue to move forward.”

Santos led the crowd in a moment of silence on Thursday, and thanked participants and supporters for coming out.

Robert Rosas’ wife, Rosalie Rosas, and their children stayed up all night with the runners, and she told them that they help her family to continue pushing on.

“We’re just so grateful and never imagined as much support as everyone has given us and we appreciate it,” she said.

Border Patrol Agent Delila Lira was the first female agent to ever run 25.5 miles of the memorial relay run and said she also was encouraged by the family.

“I think it helps them heal so as long as she wants us to do it, we’ll be here,” Lira said.

It was the first year for Border Patrol agent Geo Rodríguez to participate, and he ran eight 2.55 mile legs of the run.

“It’s a good opportunity to honor Robert and pay our respects in that manner … I may not have know him personally but I felt it was the right thing to do to honor his family and pay his respects,” he said.

Rosalie Rosas serves on the board of the Border Patrol Foundation, which provides assistance to families of fallen Border Patrol agents, and encourages anyone who would like to help to visit borderpatrolfoundation.org.

Staff Writer Chelcey Adami can be reached at 760-337-3452 or cadami@ivpressonline.com

Life Insurance Update.

Attention members who applied for the new term life insurance program last month;
We have been working with payroll to get your allotments started. Unfortunately they have been a little slower than we had hoped. Some of the allotments have already been initiated and those policies should be mailed out shortly. If your allotment hasn’t started, please be patient as we have been assured by payroll those allotments will start within the next pay period or two at the latest. Once the allotment has been taken out of your check you should receive your policy within about two weeks. We will update you with any changes. Again, thank you for your understanding.
PS for those members who didn’t get a chance to sign up for the new insurance plans including the free $5,000 policy, Bobby Padgett will be back at the stations within the next 6 weeks. We will update you on dates once we know more.

National Weather Service Phoenix Excessive Heat Outlook

SAME APPLY TO IMPERIAL VALLEY EL CENTRO SECTOR. HYDRATE, HYDRATE AND AVOID EXPOSURE!

http://www.weather.com/weather/tenday/El+Centro+CA+92243

National Weather Service
Phoenix Excessive Heat Outlook

Synopsis: Dangerously hot and potentially deadly temperatures will overspread the southwestern United States during the middle of the week.

Timing: Hot conditions will begin Tuesday, though cloud cover may hold temperatures near or below 110 degrees and block direct sunlight. The warmest days will likely be Wednesday and Thursday with afternoon highs possibly approaching 115 degrees.

Hazards:
•Dangerously hot afternoon temperatures approaching 115 degrees for most lower elevation desert locations
•Little relief overnight with lows only in the lower 80s to lower 90s

Impacts:
•Preparatory actions should begin now given this is the first significant heat event of the summer and potential widespread impacts
•These temperatures could be dangerous even for healthy individuals if the proper precautions are not taken
•An increase in emergency room visits related to heat will be likely

Forecaster Confidence:
•Moderate confidence in high temperature forecasts Tuesday through Thursday. Cloud cover and thunderstorm outflows could keep temperatures from reaching their full potential on any given day

Issued: Sunday, July 20, 2014 2 pm MST/PDT
Valid: Through Thursday, July 24, 2014

FLSA and K-9′s Lawsuit

Agents I just received info: if you are a union members and still have not file the lawsuit you can do it and send the documents to the address on the form. K-9′s highly urge to do it if you have not.

Contact us via email if you have questions on this regards.

Forms are at the bottom for you to print and file.

 

Reminder

Deadline to submit paperwork for FLSA Lawsuit was March 31, 2014.  If you haven’t submitted your paperwork yet, they may still accept it if you submit it now.

We advise you to follow up with the law firm to see if they will receive it and accept it late.

*** Questions such as whether your letter was received can be sent directly to the law firm at the following email address: info@wmlaborlaw.com

Also if you need to change your mailing address please email the Union Secretary, Rebecca Haro, at the following email address: rharo@nbpc2554.org

Respectfully,

FLSA_Lawsuit

What you need to know: Undocumented migrant families arriving to the Valley

What you need to know: Undocumented migrant families arriving to the Valley

By CHELCEY ADAMI Staff Writer | Posted: Sunday, July 6, 2014 12:40 am

As the first buses transporting immigrants illegally in the country arrived to the Valley on Wednesday, many noted there has been a lot of misapprehension and fear regarding the situation. Here’s some common questions answered on the topic.

Who is coming to the Valley?

The bus that arrived Wednesday contained just under 140 women and children. They were brought here for processing since Texas’ Rio Grande Valley has been overwhelmed by the large influx of people coming from Central America. The groups arriving to the Valley do not include unaccompanied children but rather parents, entirely mothers so far, and their children. Groups of up to 140 people are scheduled to come every three days for about a month, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said, but cautioned that the situation is very “fluid” and subject to change.

Why are they coming?

While each case is different, the majority of the the children and families are coming due to poverty and violence in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, according to a recent U.S. Department of Home Security document.

The numbers caught at the border have almost doubled in less than a year, and the top three cities sending children to the U.S. are all located in Honduras, which has the highest murder rate in the world, according to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. El Salvador is trailing not far behind in murder rates, only surpassed by Belize and Venezuela in 2012.

In terms of poverty, the three countries are some of the poorest in Latin American with 30 percent of the population in Honduras living on less than $2 a day, according to World Bank poverty data. Twenty-six percent of the population in Guatemala lives on less than $2 a day, and 17 percent of El Salvador’s population lives on that as well.

Human smugglers also misinform families that if they send children or cross illegally into the U.S. with them, they will be able to stay.

What happens once they get here?

The processing of people illegally entering the country from Central America is part of the same process that’s been followed for years.

 “Under the Immigration and Nationality Act, these people must be afforded due process until their administrative immigration case is fully adjudicated,” according to ICE. “If individuals are issued orders of Expedited Removal, it may still take some time to remove individuals as (Department of Homeland Security) may need to work with their home countries to obtain the necessary travel documents.”

After Customs and Border Protection processes the immigrants, the majority will be transferred to ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, “where appropriate custody determinations will be made on a case-by-case basis, prioritizing national security and public safety,” according to an ICE statement. For example, anyone with a criminal background or communicable disease would not be released.

It’s estimated each case will take between two and three days before the immigrant qualifies for supervised release and continues on to meet with family in other parts of the country. Those released are required to report to a local ICE office where their cases will be managed, and ICE will contact those who don’t report to them.

 

Why don’t we just deport them immediately?

The law does not allow Homeland Security to immediately remove children or families if they are from countries other than Canada or Mexico.

Are they staying here? Will they be abandoned in the Valley heat at bus stops?

The only way any of them would stay here is if they had a direct family contact here, an ICE official said, but so far it’s not believed that the majority, if any, will stay in the area or even Southern California. Also, ICE must contact the person that the family is traveling to meet and travel arrangements must be coordinated and solidified before the family is released.

“There is a misconception that the federal agency is going to leave women and children in 111 degrees at the bus station,” said Lombardo Amaya, local Border Patrol union president. “There’s no way to release people unless they have address, name and flight ticket to go to that location.”

Are they bringing diseases?

While there have been a few reports of immigrants quarantined for disease in San Diego, none of the families in the Valley have shown signs of communicable diseases, Amaya said. A child and three women were checked by a doctor for fever, but overall it’s “regular business as usual,” Amaya said. The immigrants are screened by the Federal Emergency Management Agency before they leave Texas, and then also receive medical screenings once they arrive here.

“We’re educated and prepared to deal with possible contamination and exposure, not only to scabies but also to the New River,” Amaya said. “What could be worse than working the New River?”

Do taxpayers have to pay for their care and transportation?

While taxpayers are paying for their meals and care while they’re in custody, each family is responsible for paying for transportation to their ultimate destination.

What is being done?

The complicated situation is being addressed through various short-term and long-term approaches.

Department of Homeland Security has launched at $1 million campaign to try to discourage people from coming or sending children to the border, and beginning Monday, 233 billboards will go up and 6,500 TV and radio spots will air in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

President Barack Obama has also stated that he is seeking executive action for an immigration reform bill, according to the White House.

And DHS is building more detention capacity for families and expediting processing, according to recent written testimony by CBP Rio Grande Valley Sector Chief Patrol Agent Kevin Oaks. The Department of Justice is also temporarily reassigning immigration judges to handle the additional caseload via teleconferencing and adding personnel and resources to target smuggling organizations that are facilitating the exodus.

U.S. leaders have also been meeting with leaders in Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras and Mexico to discuss the situation and have “announced that the U.S. will be providing a range of new assistance to the region, including $9.6 million in additional funding for Central American governments to receive and reintegrate their repatriated citizens, and a new $40 million U.S. Agency for International Development program in Guatemala over five years to improve citizen security,” Oaks disclosed. “An additional $161.5 million will be provided this year under the Central American Regional Security Initiative to further enable Central American countries to respond to the region’s most pressing security and governance challenges.”

The Unsung Heroes in the Immigration Crisis

 

The Unsung Heroes in the Immigration Crisis

Posted: 07/01/2014 4:48 pm

 

2014-07-01-107408297.jpg

The wave of unaccompanied children from Central America flooding the U.S. border is a regrettable situation that is taxing many federal government agencies – none more severely than the U.S. Border Patrol.

Allegations that some minors have been mistreated while in Border Patrol custody are troubling and deserve to be investigated fully. But I can state with certainty that the vast majority of Border Patrol agents are doing a remarkable job under the most stressful circumstances imaginable. They are true American heroes, and no one should allow allegations against a few to sully the reputation of the entire workforce.

In April, I met with Border Patrol agents at several stations along the U.S./Mexico border, including the McAllen Station in the heart of the Rio Grande Valley.

Anyone who doubts the compassion, empathy and bravery of our federal employees along the border only needs to spend a few hours with them to have those concerns erased. We as a nation should be doing everything we can to support them in their work.

Border Patrol agents are apprehending, processing and caring for tens of thousands of immigrants who have entered the U.S. illegally along the Rio Grande Valley. The apprehensions are severely straining the border enforcement system and diverting agents’ attention from traditional law enforcement duties, such as preventing terrorists and weapons of mass destruction from entering the United States.

Nearly 40 percent of the force has been pulled from the field to process and care for these immigrants. Our agents are feeding, clothing and watching after children who are alone and defenseless in a new country. Many of them are taking money out of their own pockets to buy formula, diapers and other items.

These Border Patrol agents aren’t to blame for this situation. The real fault lies with powerful drug cartels that have exploited a well-intentioned law signed before President Obama took office that forbids the U.S. from deporting minors who enter the country from non-contiguous nations until their immigration cases are decided.

Drug cartels are forcing children and additional immigrants to cross the border between the ports of entry, effectively using them as a human shield to divert resources that would otherwise be spent interrupting trafficking operations. As agents deal with the influx of immigrants, cartels are smuggling drugs, gang members and people from countries with terrorist ties across the border unfettered.

This wave of immigrants could not be coming at a worse time for the Border Patrol, which lost about 1,100 agents – or 5 percent of the workforce – due to budget cuts required under sequestration. Customs and Border Protection also has curtailed the use of administratively uncontrollable overtime, effectively cutting the number of hours Border Patrol agents are able to work and leaving areas unstaffed during shift changes.

Enacting the Border Patrol Pay Reform Act would guarantee that agents are paid for the hours they work and that the border is protected around the clock. Additionally, for the safety of these children and the security of the nation, the Border Patrol needs more resources to hire additional agents and ensure that the humanitarian needs of the immigrants are being met.

If Congress fails to act on either pay reform or the provision of additional resources, the crisis we’re facing now will pale in comparison to what lies ahead.

J. David Cox Sr. is national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, which represents more than 670,000 federal and D.C. government employees nationwide, including nearly 17,000 Border Patrol agents and support staff across the country

 

Follow J. David Cox Sr. on Twitter: www.twitter.com/JDavidCoxSr

Border Patrol, ICE Agents Managing Immigration Spike with Limited Resources, Union Leaders Say

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
June 25, 2014

Tim Kauffman
202-639-6405/202-374-6491
kaufft@afge.org

Border Patrol, ICE Agents Managing Immigration Spike with Limited Resources, Union Leaders Say

Agents going beyond call of duty to address influx of immigrants along Rio Grande Valley

WASHINGTON – Agents from the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement are doing a commendable job under difficult circumstances to address a record high number of unaccompanied juveniles and immigrants from Central America crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, union leaders from the American Federation of Government Employees testified today.

Both the Border Patrol and ICE have seen a reduction in staffing due to sequestration and other budget constraints, making it that much harder to cope with the increases, officials from AFGE’s National Border Patrol Council and National Immigration and Customs Enforcement Council said in testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

“I understand that conditions in some areas are not at the standards we would all like to see, especially as it pertains to the children, but our officers are doing the best they can with the resources they’ve been provided,” ICE Council President Chris Crane testified. “Many of our officers frequently go above and beyond, taking money out of their own pockets to buy diapers, baby formula and food for these children.

“The agents and officers of the Border Patrol and ICE are too often criticized, even demonized, but rarely recognized as the dedicated public servants they truly are. Their actions during this humanitarian crisis are commendable.”

Border Patrol agents are apprehending, processing and caring for thousands of immigrants who have entered the U.S. illegally along the Rio Grande Valley. ICE officers from the Enforcement and Removal Operations unit are transporting hundreds of these immigrants out of the Rio Grande Valley each week to placement locations with the Office of Refugee Resettlement/Division of Child Services.

Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd said the apprehensions are straining the border enforcement system and diverting agents’ attention from traditional law enforcement duties.  Nearly 40 percent of manpower has been pulled from the field to process and care for immigrants, according to reports.

“This decrease has stressed our workforce to the breaking point and makes it nearly impossible to effectively patrol the border and fight against organized crime,” Judd testified.

Cartels are taking advantage of the situation and forcing additional juveniles and immigrants to cross the border between the ports of entry, effectively using these immigrants as a human shield to divert resources that would otherwise be spent interrupting their trafficking operations.

“These cartels have a well-developed intelligence network and are very skilled at exploiting our shortages in manpower,” Judd said.

Both Judd and Crane said their agencies need additional staff and resources to effectively handle the immigration increase and strengthen law enforcement operations along the border.

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The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) is the largest federal employee union, representing 670,000 workers in the federal government and the government of the District of Columbia. For the latest AFGE news and information, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.