The U.S.-Mexico border has been shored up with thousands of new agents in what appears to us to be the Obama administration's attempts (and Bush's before that) to get right wingers to STFU when it comes to immigration enforcement.

While it might have been a good move as a prelude to serious immigration reform, it seems to us the flip side of having so many green recruits is this: alleged misuse of force against border crossers and, perhaps, vulnerability when it comes to corruption.

On Friday Charles Edwards, acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, delivered some bad news about bad behavior among U.S. border agents:

Testifying before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Disaster Recovery and Intergovernmental Affairs (video), Edwards said U.S. border agents have been bribed by drug cartels using sex and cash to get them to look the other way when it comes to drugs and illegals.

The agents have also helped protect traffickers and given out sensitive info about border agent deployment in exchange for the favors, Edwards said.

Customs and Border protection has doubled its force since 2004 with 20,700 agents. Also since 2004: 127 Customs and Border Protection employees have been arrested for alleged corruption.

Houston, we have a problem.

CBP commissioner Alan Bersin told the subcommittee:

The accelerated hiring pace under which we operated between 2006 and 2008 — and, frankly, mistakes from which we are learning — exposed critical organizational and individual vulnerabilities within CBP.

Ya think? CBP officials say they're on it, using a 2010 border agent corruption law to ferret out shady agents and instituting new lie detector tests and background checks for new employees.

That said, we understand the new motto of Customs and Border Protection is, “Ass, grass or cash — nobody gets through for free.”

[Spotted at CNN].


LA Weekly