Tuesday, May 23, 2017
Guest post by Sarah Jensen, a rising 2L at the University of North Dakota School of Law.
With dark tint glasses and his hands tucked into the bullet resistant vest of his green uniform, the Border Patrol agent declared, “It’s the Russian hackers!”. The computer in the division headquarters’ press room refused to comply. Add it to the list of resources the agents would like to see funneled their way. Critically understaffed, the agents see their time and resources spread thin over the immense border territory that they are tasked with patrolling. Facing an ever evolving and sophisticated adversary, dead set on bringing narcotics and people into the United States, the agent refers to his patrol location as a “different kind of animal”. There he relies upon his tracking skills to identify the path of the drug smugglers or migrants. An overturned stone. A freshly broken stick not yet bleached by the sun. Clues to him that someone had been through the area within the past week. One man alone, miles from backup, he speaks of the underestimated danger of the job.
Standing between the border fences the sound of cockerels floats up from what appears a sleepy Mexican town. Discarded trash hurled over the first fence shares the space between with the agents. But there are spotters watching right at this moment, the agent tells us. Watching and recording the Border Patrol’s movement. Waiting for that perfect opportunity. The tall metal fence suggests many have tried to take that opportunity. Battered and scarred, thousands of wounds dot the imposing barrier. Under the ever-present glare of the cameras and infrared monitors, hands equipped with cutting tools attempt to make their way through the metal. Do they make it, or are they just testing the response? A distracted border agent here, may mean another’s success further along the border.
It’s hard to deny the task of securing the borders is impossibly difficult for Border Patrol. What would be their answer to the challenges? More agents. “With people comes money,” the agent tells us. Money for the necessary resources, and intelligent resources such as drones. Maybe even a new computer for the press room.
-posted by KitJ on behalf of Sarah Jensen