Border Patrol agents pursue smugglers one moment and sit around in boredom the next. It was during one of the lulls that Bryan Gonzalez, a young agent, made some comments to a colleague that cost him his career.
Stationed in Deming, N.M., Mr. Gonzalez was in his green-and-white Border Patrol vehicle just a few feet from the international boundary when he pulled up next to a fellow agent to chat about the frustrations of the job. If marijuana were legalized, Mr. Gonzalez acknowledges saying, the drug-related violence across the border in Mexico would cease. He then brought up an organization called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition that favors ending the war on drugs.
Those remarks, along with others expressing sympathy for illegal immigrants from Mexico, were passed along to the Border Patrol headquarters in Washington. After an investigation, a termination letter arrived that said Mr. Gonzalez held “personal views that were contrary to core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication and esprit de corps.”
LOL. Like the Border Patrol has a lock on "patriotism, dedication and esprit de corps." Frankly, nothing could be more patriotic, dedicated and do more to engender esprit de corps than to speak out against the insane drug laws that have been on the books in this country for over 30 years.
Also, his statements were just that: "personal views." The agent never acted on those views (i.e. refusing to enforce the law). That would have been insubordination and grounds for termination. But merely saying, our drug laws are ignominious? Our immigration policy a blunt-force disaster? Those are political views, and terminating him would be a strict violation of his 1st amendment rights.
Luckily, there are organizations now which support law enforcement officers who dare to speak truth to power.
After his dismissal, Mr. Gonzalez joined a group even more exclusive than the Border Patrol: law enforcement officials who have lost their jobs for questioning the war on drugs and are fighting back in the courts.
In Arizona, Joe Miller, a probation officer in Mohave County, near the California border, filed suit last month in Federal District Court after he was dismissed for adding his name to a letter by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which is based in Medford, Mass., and known as LEAP, expressing support for the decriminalization of marijuana.
“More and more members of the law enforcement community are speaking out against failed drug policies, and they don’t give up their right to share their insight and engage in this important debate simply because they receive government paychecks,” said Daniel Pochoda, the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona, which is handling the Miller case.
Crazy. Anyone who thinks that the drug cartel violence, which is destroying Mexico as we speak, isn't connected to the draconian U.S. drug laws we have passed and enforced over the past 30 years, is a person who can't be taken seriously.
Sadly, the Obama administration's justice department is defending the Border Patrol's discriminatory actions.
Since his firing, Mr. Gonzalez, who filed suit in federal court in Texas in January, has worked as a construction worker, a bouncer and a yard worker. He has also gone back to school, where he is considering a law degree.
The Justice Department, which is defending the Border Patrol, has sought to have the case thrown out. Mr. Gonzalez lost a discrimination complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which sided with his supervisors’ view that they had lost trust that he would uphold the law
Yes, we can. What else do you expect from an administration and justice department that is rounding up and deporting 400,000 immigrants every year, destroying families from one end of the country to another, and funneling billions to private sector dungeons in the process?
Toe the line, stooge, or else...