Throughout the video, which shows part of a 2007 town hall-type meeting between agents and their boss marketed as an opportunity for them to speak candidly, officers accuse Aguilar of having expressed support for amnesty. He denied it, of course, but the agents clearly didn’t buy it.
One officer in the audience proceeds to read a quote from Aguilar’s congressional testimony where he called for “comprehensive immigration reform,” a term which is often considered synonymous with amnesty. Aguilar also advocated a “temporary workers program” and a measure to “bring illegal immigrants out of the shadows without providing amnesty.”
Despite the ex-border chief’s semantics and denials, however, numerous agents continue to press the issue. “You openly advocated legalizing all these people, sir,” said one of the officers in the audience, obviously upset.
Another speaker echoed the accusation. “By you supporting any phase of this publicly, you’re inadvertently supporting the amnesty act,” the agent charged. “What you’re doing - instead of gaining control of the border, assisting us in limiting the flow [of illegal immigrants] - you’re actually burying us.”
A third audience member quickly added that Aguilar was making it “more dangerous” for the agents. More than a few others can be heard grumbling at Aguilar’s responses throughout.
“When the chief of the Border Patrol stands up and says ‘I support comprehensive immigration reform’ … as the leader of this agency, of course we view that as a back stab,” said another agent. “Of course we do. How could we not?”
Aguilar responded to the concerns by claiming several times that the “interpretation” of his statements was flawed. Though he acknowledged that most people - including the majority of Congress - would have understood it that way, he insists that his public statements have not been in support of amnesty.
The former chief, promoted to Deputy Commissioner of U. S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) last year, also defended his positions by noting that other officials in the Bush administration felt the same way. And finally, he asked an agent to come to the front of the room and read a statement from the Border Patrol union chief at the time, who also apparently called for a “guest-worker program.”
The debate between agents and Aguilar dealt largely with the controversial “Illegal Immigration Enforcement and Social Security Protection Act” (H.R. 98), originally introduced in 2005. Sponsored by Congressman David Dreier, a key supporter of NAFTA and other misnamed “free trade” agreements, the bill has been introduced in every Congress since. But it still has not passed.
According to supporters of the legislation, it would reduce employment of illegal immigrants by introducing new security features on Social Security cards and forcing employers to verify the eligibility of prospective employees to legally work in America. It would also add 10,000 Homeland Security personnel responsible for enforcement while increasing penalties for hiring illegal workers - fines of up to $50,000 and jail sentences of up to five years.
But critics, including the border agents heard throughout the video, believe that the bill is seriously flawed - especially as it relates to the so-called guest-worker program. In the leaked footage, for example, the 1986 amnesty law which legalized millions of illegal immigrants was also a hot topic. Despite assurances, it failed to stem the flow of people crossing the border.
“They use such bills so they can then claim that, since everything is secure, now they need ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform,’” LNN’s Ramirez, who has testified before Congress about border-security issues, told The New American. “The reality is that such bills are fools gold as we've learned over the years and are nothing more than a gateway to amnesty.”
After showing part of the video, obtained from a source within the Border Patrol who must remain anonymous for obvious reasons, Ramirez offered his analysis. “You got to wonder, does this lead to amnesty?” he asked, referring to H.R. 98. “Here’s the problem: Nobody is enforcing illegal immigration - enforcement is not being done.”
Ramirez also noted that the Department of Homeland Security was still seeking ways to bypass Congress and grant amnesty to illegal immigrants already in the country. “So you have all this non-sense happening, and the laws aren’t being enforced - that’s the problem,” Ramirez explained.
“Rather than creating more bills that 'do something,' how about just letting the agents get out there and do what they’re trained to do?” Ramirez suggested. Taking “the handcuffs off the Border Patrol” and easing fears among agents that they could be prosecuted for doing their jobs - not more flawed legislation - would lead to a more secure border, he concluded.
Watch Ramirez’ report and the leaked video footage below:
Andy Ramirez is the founder and president of the Law Enforcement Officers Advocates Council, the next step in advocacy after his previous organization known as Friends of the Border Patrol. Liberty News Network is an affiliated news group of The John Birch Society. Stay tuned for more explosive revelations.