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Could Customs and Border Patrol Agents be at Risk from Restrictive Rules of Engagement?
By Harold Hutchison

Under the Obama Administration, our troops in Afghanistan have been hampered by very restrictive rules of engagement (ROEs). Now, Customs and Border Patrol agents may be receiving similar ROEs – and that could mean trouble on the border.

According to a report by National Law Enforcement Examiner Jim Kouri, the new rules of engagement have come after Customs and Border Patrol agents used deadly force 43 times since 2010, resulting in ten fatalities. To put that into perspective, the Obama Administration reported that agents had been assaulted by thrown rocks on 1,713 occasions.

The memorandum released, urges the use of “less-than-lethal equipment” and “tire deflation devices” as ways to avoid the use of deadly force. The memo, from USCBP Chief Michael Fisher, drew praise from Jen Johnson, the Secretary of Homeland Security. “I want to commend Chief Michael Fisher on his directive on the use of safe tactics and techniques released today, which provides further guidance to the Border Patrol workforce to lessen the likelihood of deadly force situations as we meet our dual goals of ensuring the safety and security of our dedicated agents as well as the public that they serve.”

Shawn Moran, the Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents agents serving with Customs and Border Patrol, defended Border Patrol agents who responded to deadly assaults, saying, “There has always been a rush to blame Border Patrol agents for rock assaults that end in the suspect being shot and killed. These suspects chose to be criminals and to assault Border Patrol agents and they are to blame. If you don’t throw rocks at Border Patrol agents, you won’t be shot.”

Do you think Border Patrol agents will now be at greater risk – both physically and legally – as a result of the new ROEs?