Trouble on the borders

JOE RAEDLE/Getty The case of the walking tuberculosis bomb keeps getting stranger. The latest, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that Andrew Speaker, who has a rare case of TB, somehow made it across the U.S-Canada border even though he triggered the proper warning signals: According to investigators, it appears that when the man ...

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601553_070531_cbp_05.jpg

JOE RAEDLE/Getty

JOE RAEDLE/Getty

The case of the walking tuberculosis bomb keeps getting stranger. The latest, according to the Wall Street Journal, is that Andrew Speaker, who has a rare case of TB, somehow made it across the U.S-Canada border even though he triggered the proper warning signals:

According to investigators, it appears that when the man arrived on May 24, at the crossing on Champlain, N.Y., his passport was swiped, activating the flag on his records and the warning. Records show that man spent less than two minutes at the border post before being cleared to enter the country.

It’s another black eye for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal entity in charge of securing the United States’ lengthy borders. The agency is under a great deal of strain recently, though I’ve seen few news outlets report that the Border Patrol (which is a distinct unit from the Office of Field Operations, which staffs ports of entry such as the Champlain crossing) is basically in revolt.

The National Border Patrol Council, a union that represents the United States’ approximately 11,000 border control agents, filed a symbolic no-confidence vote in late April against David Aguilar, who heads the Border Patrol. And more recently, the council filed a complaint against Aguilar with the Federal Labor Relations Authority for allegedly intimidating employees regarding the vote. The council’s main beef appears to be about the treatment of two border patrol agents who were convicted for shooting “an unarmed Mexican drug smuggler” on federal land in Texas. With the immigration debate heating up and with today’s fatal shooting outside of San Diego of a suspected smuggler of illegal immigrants, tensions within the Border Patrol are unlikely to subside anytime soon.

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