Back in 2007-2009, Richard told me many hair-raising stories about his time in the southern Border Patrol. He was there while Clinton was president. Here’s what he told me:
- Clinton told them to shoot the illegal immigrants on sight, through a secret Executive Order that drove many border guards to emotional distress, drinking, etc.
- Many border guards were corrupt, taking their own piece of the drug smuggling and human trafficking going on there.
- He shot somebody. I won’t go into more detail. But the guilt drove him to leave the job.
- He left before Bush came into office. Other border guards told him that Bush saw the EO, was horrified, and rescinded it.
For many years–including when we were still friends–I have searched the web for answers, trying to find out if the “shoot on sight” EO was for real. I have never found anything–though I have dug up lots of confirmation of corrupt border guards. I’ve found plenty of people saying that Bush should implement “shoot on sight” (I think one was Richard’s own wife). I’ve found plenty of confirmation that Clinton’s border policies were just as harmful as Trump’s, causing deaths by forcing people to take dangerous routes, militarizing the border. I’ve found confirmation that some guards have indeed killed people–but zero confirmation that such an EO ever existed to cover their actions.
Of course, Richard told me confirmation didn’t exist because the government wouldn’t allow anybody to talk about it. If he posted about it online, he said, he would get a Visit….
But if anybody would talk about such an order, it would be the human rights groups who report on deaths caused by border guards and whether or not they lead to justice. I found reports of such deaths caused during the Clinton era, but Richard was nowhere listed. If he really had killed somebody, wouldn’t they have mentioned him on one of their lists? They don’t care if governments don’t like what they say, and don’t give Clinton a pass for being a Democrat–wouldn’t they have mentioned the EO as one of Clinton’s harmful policies?
Recently, I posted about it on Facebook, wondering if anybody knew anything about this. One friend said Richard is so full of sh** that his eyes are brown (making me wonder if this person knew him). Another friend said that she knew somebody who’s been a guard for years, and that such an EO never existed. But this person was not a guard during Clinton’s era, so I didn’t know what to think, especially as confirmation of border guard abuses back to the 1920s keeps coming out.
Well, finally I found somebody who WAS a guard on the southern border during the same time Richard was (she was in from 1995-2001), and here is what she, Jenn Budd, writes about it:
It’s been some time since you left the force, what are some of the things that have changed? What are some of the things that have remained the same since you left?
When I became an agent, there were just under 5,000 agents and 1.3 million apprehensions. Today there are about 20,000 agents for just over 300,000 apprehensions. Judging by those statistics, I honestly don’t know what today’s agents do all day. When I was an agent, I played soccer with the kids in the flat fields of Tecate. Today they shoot them for getting too close to the fence. The Patrol is far more militarized and has greater extraordinary powers than in my day, yet there is little accountability.
After 9/11, agents told me they had the authority to do whatever in the name of “national security.” For example: before 9/11, we had a no pursuit policy if it endangered lives; no high speed chases that could result in the loss of life. After 9/11, agents stated they could justify it because it was a national security issue. This is the same excuse given when they pull over vehicles without cause, when they shoot children playing too close to the fence, to justify caging infants. The Patrol has also become aligned with anti-immigrant hate groups and promotes their websites to their agents through the union. This did not exist when I was an agent.
Some things have not changed though. The agency still refuses to admit they have a serious issue with sexual harassment and assault perpetrated by its male agents on its female agents. That helps explain why there are so few female agents. Agents are routinely found to be taking bribes and engaged in corruption, smuggling drugs, and people. They are also often charged with murder. Yet the Border Patrol prefers to defend their agents even when there is clear video evidence they have committed crimes. The agency is more concerned with bad press than it is about enforcing laws and holding their agents accountable.
So yes, the corruption stories were true. Yes, guards sometimes commit murder, then as now. But this contradicts Richard’s claim about Clinton’s EO. This would suggest that if anybody made such an order, it would’ve been Bush, not Clinton.
And that makes me wonder why the heck Richard would make such a claim. Why would he say he murdered somebody if I can find no proof that he ever did? Wouldn’t he have gone to jail for this? Even if the EO had kept him out of jail, wouldn’t the human rights groups have mentioned him someplace in their long lists of guards accused of murder? Why would guards even be accused of murder in the Clinton era, if they were acting under orders? Jenn Budd now blogs about border issues and has an open letter telling border guards to either quit or fight back against human rights abuses; wouldn’t she say if such an EO ever existed when she was a guard?
The only reason I can think of for Richard’s claim of murdering somebody, is political, to suit his usual narrative that Democratic presidents are evil and only conservative presidents can be trusted to do the right thing. Or maybe it was from some narcissistic desire to paint an image of himself as bigger and badder than he really was, in order to impress people.
A mutual friend has confirmed some of the other stories Richard told which are just as hard to believe, such as the Mafia gem smuggling–but this particular story keeps falling apart no matter how many times I try to confirm it.
UPDATE: I asked Jenn Budd about this. Her response is here.