APNewsBreak: Border Patrol to stop interpreting - New York News

APNewsBreak: Border Patrol to stop interpreting

Posted: Updated:

By MANUEL VALDES
Associated Press

SEATTLE (AP) - U.S. Border Patrol agents will no longer serve as interpreters when local law enforcement agencies request language help, according to a new decree issued by the Department of Homeland Security.
 
The new guidance said agents should refer such requests to private services often used by government agencies.
 
Seeking language help is a common practice among local law enforcement agencies in Washington state. If a person is pulled over and can only speak Spanish, the U.S. Border Patrol is often called.
 
However, immigration advocates complain that Border Patrol agents ask people questions about immigration and in some cases arrest immigrants suspected of being in the country illegally.
 
"The concept of language access should be without people being questioned about their immigration status," said Jorge Baron, executive director of the Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, a legal aid organization.
 
Immigrants have grown apprehensive about calling local law enforcement agencies if they knew the Border Patrol is going to respond, he said.
 
The new Border Patrol guidance should help, even though it leaves agents some room for decision-making, he said.
 
The Border Patrol said Thursday it is trying to use its resources efficiently.
 
"The new guidance related to requests for translation services helps further focus CBP efforts on its primary mission to secure our nation's borders." a statement by Customs and Border Protection said. "CBP remains committed to assisting our law enforcement partners in their enforcement efforts."
 
The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project sent a letter in May to the Department of Justice and Homeland Security saying the interpreting practice violated the Civil Rights Act.
 
The letter included dashboard camera video in which a Border Patrol agent is heard using a derogatory term for illegal immigrants.   
 
After the Sept. 11 attacks, President George W. Bush ordered U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which oversees the Border Patrol, to beef up its presence on the U.S.-Canada border, which is almost twice as long as the U.S.-Mexico border.   
 
In 2007, the northern border had about 1,100 agents. Now it has more than 2,200. In the same period, the number of agents in the Blaine sector, which covers the border west of the Cascades, went from 133 to 331.
 
Along with providing language services, Border Patrol agents often assist local law agencies that are short on personnel and equipment. In addition, highway checkpoints have been implemented.
 
The American Civil Liberties Union and Northwest Immigrant Rights Project filed a lawsuit earlier this year seeking to bar Border Patrol agents from doing traffic stops on the Olympic Peninsula, claiming people were being pulled over and questioned over the way they look and without reasonable suspicion. The lawsuit is pending.
 
The Border Patrol has denied any discrimination.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Baby found in teen's shopping bag called homicide

    Baby found in teen's shopping bag called homicide

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 11:07 PM EDT2014-04-17 03:07:27 GMT
    The New York City medical examiner has ruled that the death of a baby found in a teenager's shopping bag was a homicide.
    The New York City medical examiner has ruled that the death of a baby found in a teenager's shopping bag was a homicide.
  • Chelsea Clinton: I might run for office

    Chelsea Clinton: I might run for office

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:36 PM EDT2014-04-17 00:36:50 GMT
    Chelsea Clinton says she might run for office someday - if she becomes dissatisfied with the job her elected representatives are doing.
    Chelsea Clinton says she might run for office someday - if she becomes dissatisfied with the job her elected representatives are doing.
  • NJ mom charged with trying to kill her 3 teens

    NJ mom charged with trying to kill her 3 children

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 8:25 PM EDT2014-04-17 00:25:35 GMT
    A southern New Jersey woman is in custody on charges she tried to kill her three children by driving her car into the Delaware River.
    A southern New Jersey woman is in custody on charges she tried to kill her three children by driving her car into the Delaware River.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices