The union for US Border Patrol agents is blasting a policy shift by upper management. This shift ends random spot checks for illegal immigrants at ferry and bus terminals. The Washington branch of the American Civil Liberties Union however welcomes an end to what it called "random questioning." Correspondent Tom Banse reports.
US Border Patrol agents got the directive from headquarters via an email. No more routine checks of ferry passengers, bus riders, airports and transit hubs. Such sweeps should only be conducted now if there's intelligence pointing to some threat.
Shawn Moran is a vice president with the Border Patrol's labor union, the National Border Patrol Council AFL-CIO. Moran says frontline agents in the Northwest feel hamstrung by the order.
"One of the most effective tools we had was this transportation check," he says. "Illegal aliens get into this country and they have to have ways to move about. So they use our buses, trains, planes."
But spot checks at Washington State Ferry terminals and Border Patrol bus boardings on the Olympic Peninsula provoked outrage from some U.S. citizens. A statement from U.S. Customs and Border Protection portrayed the shift away from those kinds of things as a strategy adjustment to "improve operational effectiveness."
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