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. . . . . A river or a line in the sand cannot separate two countries. Another side of the line, the United States Border Patrol, is the north side. . .
I was born on the Mexican border very near to Mexico, so I lived my whole life virtually on the border, hardly enough along Rio Grande at the far end, and then here again in New Mexico. Probably many things about the border I would take for granted that someone who had never lived on the border would not. It was always very interesting to me to live that close to Mexico. This was long enough ago that people referred to Mexico as old Mexico, and you hardly hear that anymore. You'll see it once in a while written, but you hardly hear it anymore. But in those days we referred to Old Mexico,
the differentiate between New Mexico core. I learned Spanish at a young age, and I was interested in the different culture that was evident there not only in Mexico, but on my side of the border as well. So I have had close ties to the border my entire life, and I still treasure many of those memories from my childhood, and my continued association with the border. I worked of course in the Border Patrol, I was dealing directly with another culture of people from a different country, and dealt with them on a daily basis, and learned to know them not only as a quarry sort of speak, or as the object of my profession, but as individuals as well, and really developed a pretty good relationship
with some of those people. I've heard from some of them from time to time that I had arrested as illegal aliens, and have heard from later on in later years, and it gives me lots of pleasure, and a certain sense of pride in the career I had, I had a great career and enjoyed it a lot. And I'm glad to have spent my career on the Mexican border, and my life as well. For one of the immigration service was founded in 1911. It was called the Mounted Guards. They were non-uniformed officers, principally charged with patrolling the immediate border area
from Brownville to California border. In 1926, they became a uniformed branch, and I'm memory correct from what I've heard and read. I think there was no force for about 450 men after it became a uniformed organization. And I just had the same job, and just gave them a few more men to do it with. And then as time went on, and the immigration service grew somewhat, and they also put border trolling on the Canadian border. And then began to remove some of the personnel from the immediate border area and put them at inland points, usually not too far inland, but from the border. But these were called backup stations,
and of course their purpose was to try to catch what may have gotten through the first line of descent. You know, one of the first things that almost any country ever does is pass some sort of immigration law, and what some control of the people that come to the country was good reason, that's for the protection of their own citizens. Well, that was the original purpose of the pork crow. And still is. I have to look at this from what I knew of the pork crow when I was in it, and I've been retired for 11 years. So someone who worked to come in today would possibly not be exposed to some of the work conditions or situations that I was. But if he doesn't ever know those things, he's not going to miss them if you know what I understand.
He comes into it, he sees it from his perspective from the day he comes in forward. And so I have told some of the young officers that I see nowadays, I said that, I sure wish they could have some fun, but it was too bad for them, because I had it all when I was in there. My job is to enforce the immigration laws of the United States. My name is David Gomez, I'm 23 years old. I was born and raised in El Paso, Texas. My name is Guillermo Gomez Jr. I'm 26 years old, and I was born in El Paso, Texas. I've been in the Border Patrol for approximately nine months. I joined the Border Patrol because my brother got me interested. The reason why I decided to join the Border Patrol is because I've always wanted to be in some kind of law enforcement. My wife, she's really excited.
My mother's the one that was really worried. I mean, she was hesitant for me to, I guess, be in law enforcement in any type of law enforcement and wearing a gun intimidates her. It's very exciting. You learn what the laws are there for, and the Academy prepares you for a lot of situations. The Academy lasted about five months, and it really prepares us for what to expect on the field. Of course, being on the field, it could be a little different at times. I once saw a dead person in the canal, and that just stigmatized me a little, and I never thought I'd ever see that. I've also encountered a man who drowned. The pacifier department pulled him out, and that was not a pretty sight, and that kind of stayed with me. The duties I've had so far, we have this operation hold lying, and it's just patrolling the border. The first time I made an arrest, I can remember it was at a circle. They call it the Monument One,
and it was about 13 undocumented immigrants, and to me, it really got my blood pumping in my heart. I was scared, but, of course, the senior agent I was with, he handled the situation almost single-handedly. I kind of just watched in the back. You know, every day is a different day. You experience different things. I can't really recall what I was thinking about. I was sort of surprised that we were arresting people. It was surprised as a first for me in real life. As soon as I joined this agency, I knew what I was getting into. So I said, you know, whatever happens, this is my choice, and I'm going to deal with it. As for now, my goal is to learn as much as possible. There's no ending to education. You know, I want to get educated more and further my education. Learn more about the Border Patrol. Learn more about the situations here in El Paso, and in Juarez, Mexico.
So far, my experiences with the Border Patrol have been positive. I like the agency. I like working for them. And I look forward to the future, I guess, Border Patrol. My name is David Portillo from Tortuga, New Mexico, and I've been in the Border Patrol for 22 years. My name is Arturo H. Burrito. And I am 53 years old. And I was born and raised in Presidio, Texas. I used to see the Border Patrol since around Los Cruces once a while. Not really when I was younger, not really knowing who they were, what they were until. Of course, I grew up somewhere and started going to school and getting into law enforcement and recognizing who they were and what they did more, more so than before.
But I think that had something to do with it. I used to see him quite often when I was younger. And I guess across my mind a couple of times, maybe I could do that someday. It was a dream that I had since I was in high school. I used to see the Border Patrol agents in my hometown. And I thought they looked kind of neat on the uniform and their work looked very interesting. And I always did want to join the Border Patrol. Unfortunately, I didn't get the opportunity until I was 37 years old. As far as enforcement goes, I think one of the things that stays in your mind most is the instances when you intercept drugs on the border at night, either by yourself or with a partner. The emotional highs that you go through, it's scary, but you have to do it. I think we remember, at least I remember, every one of those.
Other things that are on the opposite side emotionally are seeing the poverty. The poor people, how really desperately poor some of those people are that come to this country that you have to arrest and send back. There's instances that I've seen young 17, 18, 19-year-old guys males, well, it's absolutely nothing desperate for something. Their clothes were rags. They had no future, no expectations, no hopes. They were all gone. I mean, there's nothing that they could do to better themselves because of the situation they found themselves in. That's sad, because when you're 17, 18, 19 years old, you're full of life, you're out there looking for a girlfriend or a boyfriend or a boyfriend, or they have good times. When you're 17, 18-year-old and some of those instances
from the rest of the world, not the rest of the world, but the other parts of the world, especially the ones we see up close and personal, and they can't look forward to that because they know it's not in their future. They don't have a dime to their name. They're fighting for the next meal, much less picking up the girlfriend, going to the movies at that Friday night. So that's kind of sad. It stayed with you. Oh, there's so many things that happened to you while you're working as a board role agent. Some are funny, some are very kind of scary. There's so many, it's kind of hard to think of. I guess, probably trying to apprehend maybe 40 aliens by yourself at night, one time that happened to me, and I was with myself, I was wondering,
how was I going to control that? I had just come into the service, so I didn't, I was kind of a young, I guess, and knew, and I just didn't know how I was going to do that. And I was out in the middle of nowhere, about 10 miles away from anybody else. But that was in one of the outstations where you work for yourself a lot, and at night. And that's what we used to be back in those days. You know, this whole thing is a job, really. You believe in it, and you do it, but it's still a job. It's a way to make a living. Everybody has to work to make a living. We're human beings, we're people just like anybody else. I mean, all law enforcement, the general public may see us as something different, but we have emotions, we have problems, family problems, or whatever, just like anybody else, any other. But for some reason, we are set apart a little bit from the rest of the public, or at least in their eyes. Just being able to get to where I am right now,
has been very rewarding. I mean, I grew up in a little place, a little Mexican village, you know, right across New Mexico, the highway from New Mexico to the University, where I went to school in Las Cruces. I graduated in Las Cruces High School. But back in those days, I never thought that one day I would find myself in a position like I have now. That's been very rewarding for me. I feel very good with my career, and I feel that I have actually had some input to the ball patrol, even though it's very, very minute. But I hope I made a mark in maybe in the way that Hispanics have gone through the patrol and being able to get to a certain level of management in a short period of time. And at the same time, being able to manage people the way I do, which I think it's to me, it's unique,
to where you get the most out of people without having to actually fight or with them. You know, it can be done. I don't think I've ever had any negative feedback from my family or my friends either. I think nowadays, people are more aware of what's going on and why there's a need for immigration, board patrol, and the job that we do. So they're more tolerant of it. There'll always be those few people who don't understand or refuse to understand and don't like it. And that's understandable because, you know, maybe they've had some bad experiences or their family has been arrested and sent back to whatever. But I think the majority of people nowadays understand the reasons, and my friends and family have never been negative about the immigration situation and all they understand that this is the career that I chose and they've always supported me.
They're used to it now. After so many years of working different shifts and so forth, going on details. At the beginning, I guess, they thought it was going to be very hard, but it's been a good 17 years for me. I think I'll enjoy. I'll let them next five years or so and then call it quits, probably. Well, I've lived in El Paso for 20 years ever since I got here from New York City. There was an incident that occurred many, many years ago in that, of course, we're all human beings and we all, however, have, we all took a note to perform our duties to the best of our abilities. But every so often, we have, there come situations in which, in hindsight, we might have done things differently. In a situation occurred, I guess, 14, 15 years ago,
in which somewhat of a tragic situation occurred in that we came upon an individual who was illegally in the United States and we were charged with the responsibility of arresting and removing the person from the country. But as it turned out, this particular person was employed in a home as a caregiver to an individual who was suffering from a terminal disease. And then we were supposed to arrest and remove and that's what we did. In hindsight, I guess, of course, I was fairly new in the agency and unaware of perhaps procedures that we could have used to make the outcome somewhat different. But that's something that's been with me for a long time
and something that I'll always remember. There was an instant that comes in mind quite readily. There was an individual that we arrested. We detained that in our normal processing of aliens, there comes a point in our processing that we have to ask the background of the parents. And this particular individual indicated to me that his father was an American citizen. And of course, me being somewhat jaded, dealing with so many people who have a tendency at times to embellish. I listened to what he said, but not quite believing what he said. But I inquired further, and he gave me some information that made me think that perhaps I needed to check a little bit deeper.
And at the Paso de Norte Bridge, which is downtown El Paso, there are records of individuals, American citizens who were at one point in time required to register with the immigration service in the 30s or 40s or 50s. Whenever they left the country to live elsewhere, and primarily when we say elsewhere around here, it's whities. So I said, well, let me go double check the departure records. They call them the departure records. So I went out and checked the departure records and I found a photograph of an individual that was a spitting image of the individual that I had detained. And so I pulled out the little card and I walked it back to where the individual was. And I had, there was some vitals on it and a vital information on it. And I asked them certain questions, and he was able to respond to them. And I showed him his picture and he said, that's my father.
And as it turned out, we had to release him because we had reason to believe that it was possible that he was a United States citizen. Nowadays, as recently as a couple of years ago, I think the immigration service has changed its point of view in that before we were arresting people, concentrating on people that had entered the country illegally. But now what we're trying to do is to prevent or try to deter entry. So what we do primarily is try to keep people from entering the country illegally. And that's basically what the operation hold the line is all about. So there are issues that we needed to confront in terms of safety. And we have to, we inculcate in all of our agents that what is, and should be paramount, is safety. When you sit on a specific location for eight or ten hours a day, you have to always be vigilant
and you always have to be aware of your surroundings. And we have emphasized that to all of our board of patrol agents in this particular station, because we use, we are engaged in operation hold the line. The problem that sometimes you have at night is you wonder if you're ever going to come home because we do work alone by ourselves in Santa Teresa, our nearest backup, maybe 20, 30 minutes away. And you never know what you're going to come up on. You might come up on an individual who just was led out of a insane asylum or where he's drunk or high. He may have a weapon or might be 20 or 30 of them. And you're the only officer out there. It's something that you have to think about constantly. What is the next traffic stop going to be like? You're by yourself. And you have to remember that at all times. You just have to remember, I want to go home. I'm going to do everything I have to to go home tonight.
And you always have that in the back of your mind. Are you ready? Yeah. They're laying in the dirt on the side of the drawer. OK? Straight ahead about 0.4550 feet. So you can hit the light wherever you're ready. Good day, Scott. Some of the things that I think about in the evening or at night, a lot of times I'll have dreams being that I get into a situation where I do have to use force, deadly force, or a very combative individual or a group of individuals. And the thing I always dream about
or dream about quite a bit is when I pull my gun to protect myself for somebody else and all I hear is a click. And my gun's unloaded. And that's the thing that really, really gets to me. It's a peave I've always have. I've always checked my gun. I don't ever want to be in a situation where they always say the loudest sound in a gun is when you pull the hammer back or the hammer goes back and then falls and you hear a click. And that's the situation I never want to be in. There's a lot of times you hear a lot of stuff in the media about the negative sides of a border patrol and all the bad things about how we abuse people and how we harass and how we're prejudiced and all that. And once you step inside the uniform or you ride around with us, you'll see it's something
there are a lot of compassion of people working in this job. A lot of very religious people working in this job also. And there's been many times. I've seen it and I know the public doesn't see it very much. We've given our lunches. We've given money. Many of the agents will give their clothes. They'll take their old clothes and they'll bring them down to the port of entries or they'll give their old shoes away. There's a lot of compassion of people here. And the public doesn't see that. All they see is, all you ever hear in the media lot is today we see pictures or a videotape of somebody getting in a fight. Well, you don't know the background circumstances of that. You don't know what happened. But you hardly ever see agents helping helping the elderly or going into the schools or teaching young kids about drugs and alcohol. And that's just the side that I wish would come out. I mean, we do a lot of stuff
and it's not always related to protecting the border. I mean, it's a human job. It's a very human job. And incident that comes to mind readily would be about a year ago when one of the helicopter pilots informed me that there was two individuals walking through the desert about 25 miles west of the Santa Teresa PoE. He spotted them and he noticed that they were disoriented, walking, real, half-hazardly in circles. He called me out. When I responded, got to him. I began talking to him and found out that they hadn't had any water for going on two and a half to three days. Or what little water they did had had a mossy scum on top of it. They had gotten that water out of an old pickup truck that they found resting out in the desert. The only food that they had had was an orange peel that they had found inside that pickup truck.
And so they had been eating an orange peel for the past two or three days and drinking this very nasty water. I took the individuals and gave them the water that I had and took them down to the local dairy queen at which time the dairy queen manager helped me and we both gave them enough food enough water to sustain them until we can get them back and return to their country. And they were very grateful for that. Some of the things that really get to me is knowing that we as Americans take for advantage our way of life. You see many times on a day-to-day basis the people that come across that look at you and then see you with the things that you have and then you start talking to them about the city no way to cook their food or cook their food
over burning tires and I know that's not too healthy. The clothes they wear usually hand me down where we're given to them or three or four sizes bigger than what they should have the shoes, many of the medical problems they have over there. It's not a problem of it from the other countries, Central America. People coming from European countries, Russia, or Asian countries, we do have it very well as Americans. And we should really stop and don't take for granted, but never take for granted what we have. This is a special country, and we've got a lot. And that's one thing that bothers me as how we as Americans can take that for granted. Hi, my name is Michael E. Jordan,
and I'm originally from Douglas, Arizona. I'm a super-easy-bore patrol agent out of the Santa Teresa, New Mexico Station, and I'm in charge of the horse patrol unit. The horse patrol has been around since the inception of the beginning of the borough patrol itself. They had the horse patrol unit mounted unit all the way up to 19, I believe, was in the 70s, and it was disbanded for some reason or another. And it was brought back in 1987 in this area here. There's a lot of childhood dreams or fantasies that are fulfilled, even being a cowboy, riding the range, and all the stuff that you used to see on TV. It's somewhat comes true riding horses being around them. Also, you learn a lot of things from horses and the people are on horses. They're totally different breed of people.
You have to be an animal over to start, but also, besides being an animal over, you've got to be an animal predictor. You've got to know exactly what that animal's going to do. It changes your outlook on life and people and animals, and it impacts you quite a bit as a person, as a whole. Makes you a more general or person, too, I think. The horses, while they can traverse any terrain around here, and they can go up hills, they can go down hills, they can go in areas that vehicles can't get in, or even four-wheel drive vehicles. We use them extensively at night. They're very good at night that we utilize their instincts. They can see people, 100 yards of ways. They can detect people, 100 yards of a way. And also, they're fairly good night vision, they don't have a very good depth perception,
but we use them, you know, they usually write up to the areas where we need to write up to very safely. And during the daytime around here, well, I don't think yet there's a human yet that can not run a horse. And usually people, you know, they'll give it a try, but 10, 15 yards, they realize they're not going to run a horse, and they usually give it. The area here that we actually patrol, which would be a sanitarious area, and it has a lot of history. At Poncho Villa, used to ride in and out of this area, and go into El Paso. And it was also prior to him, the Indians lived a lot along this area here. There was quite a few tries, because of the close proximity to the river, they had a lot of, you know, game at one time in this area. But as far as newer history, Poncho Villa, and all your bootleggers used to come through here also during the prohibitionary times. And now we have other people, like bandits that
hit the trains, and also you have your drug smugglers that like to use these areas, because of the wide range that we have here, and the open desert. And of course, your people seeking entry into the United States also use this area, too. These are the ones that you see here. These up here, right up here. They break them open, and then they just drop all the merchandise. And when they're coming this way, they'll start dropping that merchandise left and right. And then they have a whole bunch of people come over, and they start taking it back. And it only takes, believe it or not, it only takes seconds. Because you're bigger, they throw a box down about 5-10 guys come over, but 10 seconds. If you're not right on top of it, they're gone. OK, the close proximity of the tracks or the railroad to the border is a prime area for bandits to hit the trains.
And you know, it's only a hop-skip and jump. But as you can see right in this area here is maybe not less than 20 yards between the border and the fence itself. So it lends itself to being an area where all these bandits will be able to hit and go south real quick. I've seen so many people cut up at these. It's ridiculous. Yeah, trying to jump on, jump off, they get maldered to the tracks. It's an ugly sign. Good or bad, mostly a lot of the incidents as we do have are not as nice as I'd like for them to be. But there's been instances where agents have been hurt by other people. And those of always stuck in my mind is I hate to see anybody hurt. But more so, a board patrol agent that gets hurt, and those of stuck in my mind. And the incident that really sticks in mind is an agent that was stabbed by a man. And the end result was not very, very pretty.
The person ended up dying and agents ended up being hurt really bad. And one that's affected me quite a bit and sticks in my mind. Plus, there's been other good things. I've seen children delivered. That's a pretty neat on the bright side of it. I've seen a lot of good things also, people and met a lot of people, both sides. Legal and illegal. That's probably about the upside of it. We meet a lot of good people here. I just hate seeing all the people being on their bad side, down and out as far as financially and having to come to the United States to find work. That's a downside. It makes me very sad to see that happen. A lot of, I think, my own, if it's our fault or not. But sometimes we do a lot of good around the community.
A lot of acts that we do, the heroism. But we don't do our own drum, our own horn, or bang our own drum. A lot of enough, I guess. I think the whole, everything in a ball of wax would be is that what counts is what really is what's inside your heart and how it satisfies you and what you do. You don't, everybody doesn't have to know what we do. So what's it, how you feel inside and what you're morally obligated to do? There's been a lot of things that have gone on, which maintain my enthusiasm to stay in the board of control. I've had several opportunities to use my other background. I've been involved in firefighting and emergency medicine and searching rescue. So in 1987, I was able to start a search and rescue team. It was the first one in the board of control. And at that time, we had, oh, there were four or five agents. And by the time I was done, whether we had about 30 agents,
all of them were EMTs, all of them were search and rescue trained. They were high-angle rescue trained as well. And we established ourselves where the board you'll haven't been before. And it's come a long way. Now we have search and rescue teams along the US border out in San Diego, and I believe out in Arizona. We've started a few teams down in the lower end of the Rio Grand down in McAllen and also in Marif, I believe. So we put our footprint on something that hadn't been done before. We often have drownings in the river. The aliens don't understand how rotten and water can be. There's a lot of currents. We started a program about three years ago where we've issued life rings to the agents. So instead of being helpless and not being able to do something, now our agents can go and throw life rings to the aliens and pull them out and get them to medical support without losing somebody.
And that's come a long way. We've saved many, many people in just past couple of years, just with the life ring program we started. We have agents that are trained as paramedics. They can do IVs out in the field. They have a medical director. So there's a lot we can do versus of what we couldn't do years ago. Getting back to search and rescue, there was an incident involving one of our agents set on his way back from a checkpoint, hit a horse. And totally demolished the vehicle, crushed him inside the vehicle, and where this was located was an area where there was no EMS. But I was an EMT, and I received the call. And I went down to where the accident was, and was able to get no pass of city in. But it took three hours to do that. And this guy had a broken neck. And I had to take care of him. For the three hours, they were holding him in traction until I could get help to cut him out of the vehicle.
And that was a catalyst to get the search and rescue program started. Of course, it still went up against several walls. But we eventually did it. Other incidents with drug trafficking gained into shootings. That's enough to put some gray hairs on people. And it has highway pursuits, same thing. We get into those and the adrenaline rush and the impacts that can happen in a pursuit and armchair core back in the whole thing afterwards will lead on you. And also, when you're dealing with the public, dealing with traffic fatalities or people that have been shot and killed on a border or aliens that have been shot, it's not like we haven't seen any of this we have. And it can eat on you. But you have to take a different perspective of it and just try and make things better. The most rewarding aspect of my career was starting that search and rescue team.
Because that was an impact that you could measure the impact on that by statistics. By the number of incidents you were involved and the number of people you actually saved, having agents trained to take care of a situation that comes up, that was important. My name is Debbie Hines. I'm a supervisory board of patrol agent with the US Border Patrol in El Paso, Texas. And I've been with the service since 1986. I started out in California. I worked other areas of immigration and came back to Border Patrol in 1991. And I'm currently assigned to the Isletta station here in El Paso, Texas. And along with supervisory duties, I'm also the commander for the search, trauma, and rescue team, our star team here in El Paso. And we do that as a community service to the El Paso, Texas area, as well as New Mexico areas. And we have a 30-man unit right now on the star team.
Any time someone's lost or in the mountainous areas and the surrounding areas of El Paso, New Mexico, we respond. We do that as a community service. We don't charge any money for it. As an agent with the Border Patrol, I was given the opportunity to work foot patrol. And this has been a few years ago, but a group of agents were selected to work with the El Paso PD walking the beach downtown. And I found that really rewarding because she did meet the public face to face. And they got a chance to come up and talk to us and ask questions that normally they wouldn't because we would be in vehicles. So it's not so personal. But when you're walking downtown, the people feel more comfortable. And I think it gave them an opportunity to learn a little bit more about the Border Patrol agents and realize that we are human beings. And we're not always just trying to stop someone or cause any negative effects in people's lives.
They start realizing we're there to help them. Gave them information, assisted them. The police officer I walked with, we apprehended several of the personatures and shoplifters, and sometimes there were people who were attacked, right there in the downtown area. I think that was one of the most rewarding times in my career because I felt like I was really able to help people out in the position I was in. And probably the other most rewarding times was as the start team command or just being on the start team. We've been called out this year alone about 10 times. Anywhere in the Texas area as well as New Mexico areas, and we've gone up and rescued children that were lost for several days. And to return them back to their parents, it's a really good feeling when you see the parents and the kids finally meet up after two or three days
being separated. And the parents are so grateful to us. And there's a lot of times there were other search teams that were called out also, but maybe due to them having a lack of equipment or manpower, they weren't able to go in to the search area as far as we did. So it felt very good not only as an agent, but as a human being that you could do that a little bit of extra and find the person and bring them back safely, the ones that were injured, were extremely happy to see us and be able to put them on a stretcher and bring them down to where maybe a few hours before we found them, they didn't think they could. They were going to live through the evening again. So those are probably the two most memorable times. And I was given the opportunity as a volunteer to work with Levi and Wrangler factories. And they had about 120 people that wanted to become a citizen. And I taught the US citizenship class,
as well as the English as a second language to help all these people go through their naturalization tests. And it was done on a volunteer basis. But if I didn't have the training and background in Border Patrol and immigration, I would not have been able to do as good a job as they said I did. So those were just probably three to the times that really made me glad I was with the Border Patrol and with immigration. And I was able to help other people out. Currently in the El Paso area, we only have approximately 30 females. And unfortunate enough to have been selected as one of three female supervisors that the El Paso sector has. In the El Paso sector are 12 stations. And probably around 1,000 agents now we're doubling up on getting new agents in. And when I started out, there was even less females. I believe the Border Patrol now has about 6,000 agents. And out of that, there's only about 150 females.
So when I came into the Border Patrol was a real challenge. I think any of the females can tell you that they do the same work that any male agent does. And the same opportunities are there. I've never had a problem with anyone, any of the male agents treating any different or special. And the work itself is very rewarding. The experience that I've had through not only working Border Patrol but immigration are tremendous. I think anyone that has, that's in the Border Patrol that male or female, that has any future plans moving up and what the Border Patrol does present them to you. I think a lot of the public, a lot of people here in the United States, the ones that sometimes, you know, are a little bit against the Border Patrol, I wish that they could come out and either work with us
just one night, you know, work with the agents and see how tough the job is at times and how dangerous. And also see that it's not easy for the agents to always stop these people from Mexico who they're leaving in a country because they do want a better life and they do need a job to support their family. The agents understand that and have that compassion. When they took on this badge, you know, they were very privileged to have this job and very honored to do the job that a lot of people wouldn't do for this country. And there are a lot of agents that I have seen personally get their sandwiches away, their lunches away, gone to their house or called their wives to bring sweaters or clothing for the aliens to help them out. Christmas time, I've seen the agents bring in toys
and bicycles and clothing and pile them up in boxes full. And then all the aliens that they may catch, people from Mexico that have come here across within a week before Christmas, they've given all these toys and bikes and goodies, you know, to families that we've caught. So they have something to go home with. They've given a doll to a child who's never owned a doll in her life or a bicycle to a little boy who would probably never ever have his family be able to afford a bike. And I just wish that some of the public would see both sides of the coin that, yes, we have a tough job to do. And, you know, if we weren't here to do it, I think that the public would see a lot more problems within the United States. But along with some of the hard things that we have as agents have to face every single day, you know, there's a lot of good feelings they take home with them when they have helped someone out. Some of the bandits out here that prey on the females
and molest them or rape them, I've seen agents death. It's bothered them so much to see little kids mistreated or the women beat up that, that including myself, there's times you want to take off the badge and say, you know, this is really tough for me to handle. But somewhere you muster up the strength and you feel that, you know, your job, what you're doing for this country is worth it. I, myself, I immigrated here from Holland. And for me, it is. It's a great honor to work for the United States government. As hard as it is, some days to face all the things that you do on a daily basis. I came under the board of parole in 1961. I went through the last training academy that was held in El Paso, Texas. This place we're in now is called Apache Spring in Apache Canyon. It's a little bit west of Pikachu Peak right up out of the Macia Valley.
And my earlier days in the board of parole when the country wasn't so saturated with illegal aliens like it is now. And like it was later in my career, we just spent a lot of time out patrolling the countryside looking for any signs of illegal aliens. And of course, a spot like this where there's water would track them just like it did the Apache and whatnot that lived here a hundred years ago or so. So that's how I came to know this spot. And it would be used today, you know, it would illegal alien if he were traveling cross-country in this day and age. And of course, new of this location, he would likely come to it for water, just like the Apache did and just like you and I would do. It would do if we were out here foot and knew there was a water source here. Water is a collecting point in the desert country
for everything, be it human or animal and precious and rare. This is the spot I enjoy coming to. I came here frequently during my career and still do, just because I enjoy it. It's nice and quiet and peaceful and you can think about the history that took place here. I'm always interested in history. In my earlier days in the board of parole, there were not near the quantity of illegal aliens. They tended to be a little different class of aliens in that they were predominantly rural type people. Might call them probably the peasant class of working field type individuals from rural Mexico. These people were used to hard work and they were used to hardship.
When they entered the country, they were pretty secretive. They didn't want to broadcast their presence. So they tended to walk through more desolate, isolated areas. And as the trend changed throughout the years, less and less of the illegal entrance were the rural farm workers and there were more and more of the city type aliens entering. So they were not quite used to the same hardships that those earlier aliens were. And they tended to walk maybe the highways and the roadways and were not quite so elusive and secretive. We used to catch aliens commonly that would enter somewhere west of El Paso between El Paso and Anilope Welles and possibly walk two or three weeks to their destination up around Sacoro or points north of Los Cruces and walk entirely through the desert.
And depend on whatever water they could find like the little train that we looked at down this same canyon or whatever windmills they could find and subsist on whatever they could obtain in the way of food. They really carried a little bit of water with them. They carried a small amount of food. But they were tough people. They were used to hardship and they could walk and walk and walk and walk and walk. You have to have great admiration for them because they certainly made an effort to better themselves regardless of the fact that they were on the other side of the law from us. And we were so to speak on opposite sides of the law. You still had to have great respect for their abilities. I guess part of the interest of our job were some of the relationships that we got to have with some of the very people that we arrested.
And sometimes it was a good bit of camaraderie between us even though we were on opposite sides of the fence, so to speak. But back where we were earlier today, back in that area around Apache Canyon, there was an alien by the name of Antonio. It was about 50 years old. And he lived in those rugged old rocks, summer and winter and twisted the heat and the summer and the cold in the winter and a very, very makeshift little camp. They brought supplies to him from time to time. And he spent the whole day every day quarrying rock out of those bluffs there with a sledgehammer and a pry bar. And then he'd roll it down the hill. And if he couldn't roll it far enough for the truck to get to it when they sent a dump truck for it, he'd have to pick up the rocks individually and move them down the air, roll them down the hill with a pry bar. When the dump truck came to pick up his load, he picked up each rock individually
and put it in the back of that dump truck. And for that, he got paid $5 a load, the dump truck load. That's a hard way to make a living. He was a tough, hard individual, but a real nice guy and enjoyed his acquaintance. And we had, like I say, we had a pretty nice relationship, even though he was nearly alien. And I was one of those out there to arrest him, a lot more of a human side to some of these Border Patrol associations and the average person would think. A lot of those people that come over here, and so it's always been, they're not doing anything much different from what you or I would do if we were in their shoes. But nonetheless, those people were in violation of the laws that were enacted in this country
to protect the citizens of this country. So there'll always be someone out there to quarrel with you. But if we can't take care of our very own first, and then worry about the other parts of the world, we'll dump them wrong there, too. So that's about the way I feel about it. And always did, I can say this. And I don't know if we're fixing to wind this thing up or not, but I can say this in closing for my part, that I was always honestly sincerely convinced that my job was important to the well-being of the United States. And I felt that during my whole career, and I'm sure I had my frustrations, of course, but I felt that when I started, and I felt it even more
so when I retired, that I believe that the board of control job is essential to the well-being of our country, and I still believe it today. You're right, you're right. So yeah. . . . .
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Another Side of the Line: the US Border Patrol, Paso del Norte
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KRWG (Las Cruces, New Mexico)
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Program Description
This show features a history of the Border Patrol in the southern New Mexico area and includes interviews with several border patrol officers.
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Producer: Beauford, Amy
Producing Organization: KRWG
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KRWG Public Media
Identifier: cpb-aacip-25e696fa3a8 (Filename)
Format: 1 inch videotape
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:57:46
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Chicago: “Another Side of the Line: the US Border Patrol, Paso del Norte,” 1997-01, KRWG, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed April 25, 2024,
MLA: “Another Side of the Line: the US Border Patrol, Paso del Norte.” 1997-01. KRWG, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. April 25, 2024. <>.
APA: Another Side of the Line: the US Border Patrol, Paso del Norte. Boston, MA: KRWG, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from