Protecting Our Borders
Lt. Jim Glennon
In 2008, I taught my first Border Patrol Class for Calibre Press. In the ensuing years, I’ve facilitated approximately 20 more; all along the southern border of the United States.
Six years ago I was oblivious to what our Border Agents actually do. Without much thought I presumed they stood at checkpoints, glanced at IDs, waved to people entering the country and said “thanks for visiting.”
The people I thought they were protecting us from were nothing more than poor, illiterate, hardworking individuals hoping to find work in a farmer’s field or a San Diego McDonalds drive-thru.
Then I went for a ride-along with Border Agent John Ramos, a supervisor in the El Centro sector way out in the California desert, about an hour west of Yuma, Ariz. It was nighttime and there I experienced darkness like I never had before: there were no street signs, no street lights, no paved roadways and no immediate backup. And there were snakes.
Oh yeah, and while it is true that most who illegally cross the border are looking for some type of work, the rest are another matter altogether. Believe me when I tell you that who and what regularly cross our border would strike terror in hearts of the average citizen of this country; including the idiots on the tube, the protestors and the supposed academic intellectuals who smear and disparage the more than 21,000 men and women in green.
You won’t see that truth on the nightly news, in the paper or on the web unless you really go searching. But here is an offer: You go out into the desert, in the 120-degree heat, sometimes alone and deal with what these people have to deal with: monsters.
There are monsters crossing our borders.
There are killers, drug dealers, rapists, child molesters, sex traffickers and, yes, terrorists. In addition, our border agents stumble upon dead children and rescue victims of sexual assault with hopes of protecting them from violence at the hands of drug cartels.
Attached to this article are two videos. The first is an example of idiotic, obscene and beyond-the-pale ignorant bias. It’s so stupid, it is almost funny. The video features a supposed intellectual named Elena comparing the Border Patrol to the KKK. It’s sad that someone can voice such an offensive prejudiced opinion that is so wrong on every level. But, her ignorance is so demonstrably evident that she can’t be taken seriously.
The second, though a few years old now, is being posted because we have forgotten—forgotten 9/11, forgotten that people want us dead just for being us, forgotten that such evil is coming to our country, forgotten that it is already here, forgotten that what he talks about could really happen.
The video is of a supposed “moderate cleric” who hopes, sanctions and supports the transportation of anthrax “through the tunnels” of Mexico. He boasts that 300,000 could be exposed in a matter of hours and he laughs—as does his audience.
I’ve written about Border Patrol. I’ve made friends, I’ve been to their houses and I’ve shared a few beers, I’ve taught them in classes and guess what? They are real people. They have names: Karen, Andy, Mike, David, Sean, Walter, Carlos, Jesus, Juan and Bendis. They live in the heat and the cold and in many cases they are out there alone. I didn’t see one of them wearing a hood. I didn’t see racism in their eyes. They are fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sons, daughters. And they protect our borders. They protect us. And they have felt loss. Real loss, Elena. While you live in your fantasy world believing that evil people aren’t coming, recite insane ramblings, and sit comfortably sipping your café latte, Border Patrol loses brothers and sisters–32, in fact, since 2001.
Just a few examples:
Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry was shot and killed near Rio Rico, Ariz. in 2010, while attempting to apprehend a group of armed subjects. The suspects had been preying on illegal immigrants with the intent to rob them.
Agent Alexander Snderlieb Kirpnick, 27, shot to death in 1998. Alexander became an American citizen in 1995 and then decided to devote his life to protecting his new country. Somebody murdered him for it.
Agents Susan Lynn Rodriguez and her partner Ricardo Guillermo Salinas, were both just 24 when they were murdered together, fighting to the end. Susan had an infant child and Ricardo left his parents and a sister to mourn his sacrifice.
Agent James Epling, 24. He drowned while pursuing criminals. His wife was pregnant and he had three children who have been without dad since 2003.
Agent Luis Alberto Aguilar, 31. In 2008, he was purposely run over by an illegal alien. His mother, wife and two children were paralyzed with grief at this hero’s funeral. I’ve seen the pictures and present the tribute in all of my Border Patrol classes.
Agent Robert Rosas from the San Diego sector. He was 28 when he was murdered—executed really—by illegal alien smugglers. He left a wife and two children behind. And how about
Border Patrol Agent Javier Vega Jr. who was off-duty earlier this month and fishing with his family when two illegal aliens–who had been arrested multiple times for entering the U.S. illegally—shot him in front of his wife and children. Murdered him in cold blood. Javier was a former Marine. There is no evidence he was anything other than a dedicated defender of this country.
Elena, our community activist in this video, speaking at this supposed “social forum” has a perfect right to make any kind of statements she wants. Why? Because the United States defends free speech. Try that in Canada. No such thing as real free speech. Oh, how about Europe and the Mideast? Can you say anything you want there? Nope.
But here in the U.S., Elena, funded by our tax dollars, sits in a room with others of her ilk and, without fear of government intrusion, feigns cutting-edge bravery and compares these aforementioned heroes–true real life heroes–to hooded racists.
Open your eyes, Elena. Sure the Border Patrol has a job to protect our borders and arrest. And yes, on occasion they have to use force. But how often? Statistically, almost never! Compare the amount of people they arrest with the number of times they are required to use force. The number is well below 1%.
Do they carry weapons? Yep. But do you know what else they carry in their vehicles? Diapers, water, car seats, food and medical supplies. Is it for them? No—it is for the illegals.
Border Patrol agents aren’t Storm Troopers. They are people. They have feelings, they have love in their hearts, they have families, they risk everything while stopping illegal incursions and they save the lives of those they are trying to stop.
They are hit with rocks, shot, beaten and run over. Where’s the outrage?
Contrary to the suggestion our community activist made in the video, I have this one instead. If you happen to be in a restaurant with Border Patrol Agents, do this: buy their meal, shake their hand and thank them sincerely for doing something 99% of this country wouldn’t have the guts to do. I’m a coward compared to these people. They are our protection, they are our brothers and sisters in law enforcement and they are most certainly my friends.
BP Spouses Support Group and the Union (Local 2554) are combining their efforts to help Poki Abarca.
5 dollars Breakfast Burrito
Wednesday, November 5
0730 to 1000
Election Day is finally here.
Your vote tomorrow, November 4th, could be the difference between good pay and benefits for government employees like you, or two more years of furloughs and pay freezes.
This is your chance to turn the country around, and you can’t afford to lose it. It’s time to get out and vote, and we need you to Stand Up!
Find AFGE-endorsed candidates in your area, as well as a polling place locator and more information on local voter ID laws, here at our Stand Up 2014 page.
This election could be decided by just a handful of votes, so MAKE YOURS COUNT. Now let’s stand up and vote!
J. David Cox, Sr.
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The following is the understanding of Local 2554 based on the information that was discussed at the second meeting with Sector Management last Thursday, October 16, 2014.
Effective October 4, 2014, any agent that was/is placed on “Light” Duty status due to an injury that was suffered/occurred while in the “Performance of Duty” and resulted in the same agent having to file a/an (OWCP) Office of Workers Compensation Program Claim, (then that agent) is entitled to compensation for any loss of wages including “Lost Wages” that are a direct result of an assignment to “Current” Light Duties/AUO Non-Compensable Duties.
In this case, the discussion specifically referred to OWCP “Light Duty” agents that are assigned to duties classified as AUO Non-Compensable, and which subsequently restrict the agent from working any AUO.
The agency has not uniformly employed procedures by which “issues such as the ones currently affecting OWCP Light Duty personnel were addressed in order to make the agent whole” but will be assisting agents by providing personnel that is trained to assist the agents in filing the necessary paperwork/documentation needed to recover such wages if the agent is eligible.
The proper documentation in this case consists of a CA-7 (as we know of at this time) and are to be filed on a biweekly basis simultaneous to the filing of the agent’s Time and Attendance Sheet and the 1012. Although Sector Management made it clear that agents in this status would be assisted by agency personnel the logistics of this assistance (and for that matter the correct/designated forms) have not been completely worked out or identified by Sector Management. This fact could be the reason for the delay in an official announcement on the part of the Agency.
Bottom Line is:
Agents on “OWCP Light Duty” should know that he/she would be compensated for loss of wages at some point.
Agents on “OWCP Light Duty” should also know that he/she would be assisted in the preparation and the submittal of documentation in order to recuperate any lost wages as a result of being assigned to an AUO non-compensable assignment/duty.
The complete details of how the assistance will be made available were discussed but not resolved. Local 2554 expressed concern that the personnel assigned/employed by the Agency to perform this task understand and demonstrate sensitivity to the fact that this group of agents have suffered various types of injuries and are vulnerable or may be under a great deal of stress thus it is not necessary to burden the agent with any additional or unnecessary stress.
Any agents that are place on Light Duty Status should also know that when the agent is no longer in Light Duty Status (OWCP) and is released back to full duty; the agent should be placed back at the AUO rate he/she was at when the incident, injury/illness took place.
Please (agents) document this situation (keep records) in the event that future action is needed.
Unfortunately the issue involving agents in an “OWCP Light Duty” status was the only issue that Local 2554 and the Agency agreed upon. All other issues remain unresolved including issues that involve “Agents Injured While off Duty” and also “Pregnant Females” assigned to Non-Compensable Duties as a result of an illness/injury/pregnancy.
Because the issues that involve agents on “Light Duty Status” as a result of an illness/an off duty injury and/or pregnancy are very complex these issues must be analyzed on a case by case basis to determine whether a “disability” discrimination has occur and also because this group of agents will not be eligible to recovery of any loss in pay as a result of assignment to AUO Non-Compensable Duties, it is highly recommended that agent(s) who find themselves in this category seek or obtain additional guidance, representation and or even legal advice from an experienced source with these types of issues, regulations, codes and/or laws, as the case may be if the agent so desires.
If you have questions on about the above, please contact you union representative, VP Gurrola, or President Amaya
The Following statement is signed and endorsed by the National Border Patrol Council Local 2554 President Lombardo Amaya.
Union Members and Bargaining Unit employees,
In regards to the current AUO restrictions that are being imposed and applied, specifically the restrictions that are being applied by Calexico Management, that are discriminatory in nature, and target personnel that are on “light duty status”, please be advised that Local 2554 and Sector Management had engaged in discussions regarding the impact and implementation regarding such proposed changes therefore it is not understood why Agency Representatives, specifically DPAIC Westerling and Watch Commander Martin implemented changes prior to the completion of discussions.
It is the intent of Local 2554 and Sector Management to develop or to establish a proper procedure, one that previously was not implemented, enforced or employed by the Agency and by which all eligible personnel, was fully compensated or made whole for any loss of wages, specifically personnel that qualifies under the category or is otherwise identified as “light duty personnel”.
Additionally, a meeting is scheduled for 10/16/2014 in the afternoon that will clarify, address and resolve the issues so that sector personnel subjected to these conditions will be protected from any further harm of this nature. In the meantime any Bargaining Unit Employee that is subjected to this type of discrimination needs to contact their Union Representative, Vice President Fernando Gurrola or Local President Lombardo Amaya, and document the incident.
In other words…
Who, What, When, Why and How. Provide a narrative description of the event. Who told you to go home? What job function, action and or duty were you performing? When did the event occur? Why did the manager or supervisor tell you to go home? How is this discriminatory (“light duty status, OWCP/Injured off duty”, Pregnant Female) ? If at all possible state the names, titles, and number of agents that were present when the event occurred.
— Lombardo Amaya
AFGE/NBPC Local 2554
El Centro, California
Attention!!!!!!!!! as per today 10-14-2014 : if you are a union members and still have not file the lawsuit docs, you can still do it and send the documents to the address on the form.
K-9’s are highly urged 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.
Deadline to submit paperwork for FLSA Lawsuit was March 31, 2014( IT HAS BEING EXTENDED UNTIL FUTURE NOTICE.
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: email@example.com
Poki, needs leave donations.
After his surgery and a long period in ICU his leave is gone.
He and Sector are in the process to Medically Retire him but it will take between 6 to 8 weeks.
Lest help our union brother with some leave donations!
Read info below and use the forms attached::::::
FOLLOW-UP POST TO THE VRP and ROB
What is the VRP? On August 26, 2010, the agency and the NBPC entered into the most recent VRP agreement that continued a test program that was approved by Congress and that was intended to provide Federal Agencies and Federal Employees more move opportunities by decreasing the amount of money an agency would have to pay for relocations. The test program expired on April 29, 2014, which also ended the negotiated VRP.
Under the VRP, the agency identified vacancies at Border Patrol Stations and posted those openings on USA Jobs. Agents were provided an opportunity to apply for the openings and were able to put in for a maximum of five locations. OPM compiled referral lists of all applicants by seniority and sent the lists to the selecting officials at the individual sectors. On each referral list, the selecting official (management) was able to consider the top seven (7) names, which became the list of consideration, for the first vacancy. For each additional vacancy, one more name from the referral list was added to the list of consideration. Management was able to select anyone from the list of consideration regardless of seniority.
- Example:Station “A” has two vacancies and 10 agents apply for those openings. Management would be given the referral list containing the names of all 10 agents but would only be able to select from the list of consideration or the top 8 agents based upon seniority. With their two selections, management would be able to choose the two most junior agents from the list of consideration even if those agents only had 3 years in the patrol and the most senior agents had 20 years in the patrol. Management would be required to take into consideration the seniority of all agents on the “consideration list,” but if they determined the junior agents were more qualified, management would be free to choose those agents.
- Recent examples of how selections were made under the last few VRP announcements:After management received their lists, they called the duty stations of the applicants to compile a matrix on each agent (the matrix’ were not negotiated and at times management refused to admit that they used them. The NBPC found out about the matrix through management. A matrix was not used on all selections). In many cases, they were looking for specific qualifications or certifications such as Firearms Instructors, Boat Patrol Certifications, Horse Patrol Certifications, etc., and they made their selections based upon those certifications and other factors, including overall seniority. About 4 or 5 years ago, we saw a great many Firearms Instructors selected in the VRPs even though in many instances they were some of the most junior agents on the “consideration list.” We also saw an awful lot of senior agents passed over because management claimed they weren’t the most qualified agents when they made their selections.
Albeit a big factor, seniority isn’t the only component to being selected under the VRP.
What is the ROB? The Relocation Opportunity Bulletin is almost the same as the VRP. The biggest difference is that the VRP is a funded program and the ROB is a non-funded program. There are a few other subtle differences such as:
- Agents will be able to apply for three locations instead of five.
- Agents will be required to submit a resume.
- There are no seniority limitations to make the consideration list. Seniority will still be a factor and must be considered when making a selection, but it’s not the only factor.
Another reason the ROB is considered a non-funded program is because it doesn’t provide the same moving benefits as the VRP. Under the VRP and prior to moving, an agent is given 5 days of admin leave to take a house hunting trip. At the time of moving, agents are given three more admin days to pack their household belongings and another three admin days to unpack upon arrival at their new duty location. Agents are also given admin leave for travel to get to their new duty station, but there is no per diem.
Most Commonly Asked Questions:
- Is the ROB a location swap program?
- No, you do not have to find someone to trade locations with you. It is an application and selection program just like the VRP. It is anticipated that Nationwide ROBs will be announced on USA Jobs and that in sector ROBs will be announced via memorandum.
- Is every station going to have slots available?
- Staffing levels are determined by the agency and, like the VRP, those levels will determine the openings.
- How many agents will be able to leave one station?
- Just like the VRP, there is no hard number. Because this is a test program that will last only two years, and if the agency wants it to continue after the initial expiration, they will make proper selections regardless of the number of agents from one station that will be reassigned.
- How much time in service must an agent have to participate in the ROB?
- Eligibility begins once an agent is off probation.
- If an agent accepts a ROB, is there a waiting period before an agent is eligible to apply for another relocation?
- Like the VRP, there is a two-year waiting period.
- Will management prevent agents in focus sectors such as Tucson and RGV from being selected under the ROB?
- If management wants this program to continue beyond the initial two-year trial period, they will not exclude anyone from being selected. As management did with some provisions of the VRP, however, they can violate provisions of this agreement and the NBPC will have to take appropriate action. Unfortunately, there are no provisions the NBPC can add that will ensure management does not violate an agreement, but we retain the right to file grievances, ULPs and EEO complaints.
- Can an agent apply for the same number of stations under the ROB as he/she could under the VRP?
- No, under the ROB an agent may apply for up to three stations per announcement and under the VRP an agent may apply for up to five stations per announcement.
- Will the ROB inhibit or replace any other negotiated agreements, whether national or local.
- No, the ROB does not replace or inhibit any agreement already set forth.
- Is the NBPC working on a location swap program?
- Yes, the NBPC proposed a location swap program to the agency more than a year ago and we’re still in negotiations.
As you can see, the ROB is an inferior program when compared to the VRP, just like the VRP is an inferior program to fully funded moves, but when the ROB is coupled with the VRP and hopefully a location swap program in the near future, the possibility of agents being able to move will be greatly enhanced. We haven’t had any mobility announcements in almost three years and this agreement ensures there will be regular mobility opportunities for the next two years. If you have any other questions, please get with your local and they will get you an answer.