"Ban on patrol translators
A May 1 civil rights complaint by the Seattle-based Northwest Immigrant Rights Project to the U.S. Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security spurred the ban on Border Patrol translators, which was imposed in December.
“They are chipping away slowly but surely as to every part of the job that we can do,” Moran said.
Jim Buckley of Port Townsend, who runs the website www.bpfree.org, which stands for Border Patrol Free, saw the sequester cuts in a positive light.
Buckley is “all for” a reduction of Border Patrol activities on the Peninsula, he said.
“I wish they would just go home and stop.
“I don't mean that personally,” he added. “But we don't need more Border Patrol hanging around without anything to do.”
While the Department of Homeland Security has told us that they are expanding their presence on the Olympic Peninsula to make us safer—that their primary objective is to stop terrorism and to stem the flow of illegal goods across our borders—their activities tell a different story...
IN THE LAST YEAR, under the auspices of Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Border Patrol force has undergone rapid expansion on Washington State's Olympic Peninsula, a quiet and rural area of the U.S. which does not border any foreign country.
As the number of Border Patrol agents increased from 1 to 4, then to 25, none of this increased manpower was used to provide full or part-time staff at our small international points of entry that currently lack federal inspection (such as Jefferson County Airport) to check for possible illegal goods being transported or to thwart terrorism. The places where smuggling or terrorism are most likely to surface remain unguarded by the agency which claims that their expanding presence is to prevent these threats and to make us more secure.
Instead, checkpoints began appearing throughout our region, in places that have no connection with any “border” or international point of entry—at the Water Street ferry to Keystone, on our highways, and at the Hood Canal Bridge.
Activities were directed away from our most vulnerable areas; enormous resources were put into stopping everyone using our highways. Raids began occurring in our immigrant communities. These violations of our civil liberties and targeting of minorities are occurring further and further inland, far from border areas.
“ALL OF A SUDDEN we have these random searches and seizures of everybody and this is happening within 100 miles of our borders. It just shocks me that this is legal, it strikes me that it's immoral, and it violates our sense of community.” — Scott Wilson, Publisher of The Leader
It is reported that there are plans to add an additional 125 or more agents on the peninsula, “based upon the threat”. Full page color ads in area newspapers to entice local residents to become BP agents have reinforced those reports. Sector Chief John Bates told us at the Border Patrol Public Forum in November that 25 agents is the “minimum” he needs. For what? Their goal, he said, is to “push that border out”. Plans include building a multi-million dollar Homeland Security headquarters and possible detention facility on the peninsula.
How are all these new agents addressing the purported threat that defines their mission?
“THEY TARGET PEOPLE OF COLOR, specifically.”— Melisa Eyle
A former Peninsula Daily News employee, Eyle was riding from Port Angeles to Seattle when two Border Patrol agents boarded the Dungeness Line bus at Fat Smitty's at Discovery Bay, on Highway 101 at the intersection to Port Townsend. She said the agents went straight to the back of the bus to question an Asian man and a Canadian woman. Then they questioned her, a Native American.
“I WAS SHOCKED and surprised. My family has been here since the dawn of time. The bus was full of people—there must have been 30 of us—and they only questioned three of us. We had dark hair and dark skin.”"
Port Townsend News