Although a native-born Tejano, Edward Caballero grew up not liking the Border Patrol. Now he's in it:
Growing up along the Texas border, Edward Caballero remembers fearing the green-uniformed agents of the U.S. Border Patrol.
Now, the 32-year old Caballero – a former schoolteacher in the Rio Grande Valley – is one of thousands of new agents who have swelled the force's ranks to more than 18,000, a product of an historic recruitment blitz.
And unlike the Border Patrol of his youth, which was overwhelmingly Anglo, the expanded border agency is now 54 percent minority. Hispanics like Caballero comprise 52 percent of the agents.
''It seems like most Border Patrol officers were Anglos, and I hate to say it, not too friendly towards Hispanics," Caballero recalled. ''It's not so much that way anymore." [Hispanics bolster Border Patrol | They now hold 52 percent of agents' jobs, By JAMES PINKERTON, Houston Chronicle December 29, 2008]
Pinkerton allows critics to point out some of the potential problems with this:
What critics say But there are some concerns about thousands of new agents enforcing laws in the same communities where they have strong family ties, some that extend across the border.
''The problem I think that will come up are with people who are born and raised there, and have associates on both sides of the border. I don't think that's especially good from an integrity standpoint," said James Dorcy, a director of the National Association of Retired Border Patrol Officers.
''The drug cartels are trying to do everything they can to infiltrate the Border Patrol right now," Dorcy said.
His organization and the National Border Patrol Council worry that the rapid buildup of the Border Patrol, along with an outsourcing of background investigations of applicants to private contractors, has allowed unsuitable candidates to become federal agents.
The problems aren't just theoretical, they're already here—see Pinkerton's article for recent examples, or see Hispanic Border Patrol Corruption and The Wall Street Journal & Border Patrol Corruption.
Note also that this displacement of American-Americans by Hispanic-Americans is fueled by the bilingualism requirement, see my Spanish (Or An Immigration Moratorium) For Police Officers.