Border Patrol acts like 'football team'
By Duane Barbati
Alamogordo Daily News
ALAMOGORDO, N.M. — The Republican Women of Otero County on Wednesday had guest speaker Senior Patrol Agent Rick Holmes talk about the U.S. Customs and Border Protection's mission and successes in apprehending illegal aliens during 2007.
Holmes spoke to the group during their monthly meeting and luncheon at the Desert Lakes Golf Course's 19th Hole Grill & Bar banquet facility.
Holmes said during 2007, the most recent statistics available, the Border Patrol had 876,700 arrests and 144,000 of those involved people with a criminal history.
"We had close to 19,000 with major crime offenses," he said to the group. "We had 304 homicide or murder, 134 kidnapping, 465 sexual assault, 5,492 aggravated assault, 841 robberies and almost 12,000 for dangerous drugs."
Holmes said Border Patrol prosecutes immigration and criminal violations.
"The agency's mission statement has changed since 9-11," he said. "Our mission has changed to stress more on the threat of terrorism. For the most part, our mission hasn't changed much."
The Border Patrol falls under the Department of Homeland Security. Border Patrol has implemented a strategy of technology, infrastructure and personnel.
Holmes said the U.S. Border Patrol is the largest uniformed agency in the United States.
"We're like a football team," he said. "We're the defense. The line stations are right on the border. Those are our linemen. The checkpoints are the linebackers. The interior stations, such as Albuquerque, Amarillo, Lubbock and Tucson, further into our interior, those are our free safeties."
Holmes said it's a safeguard to "helping us apprehend the criminal element and illegal aliens" entering the United States.
"We're trying to cover all our bases," he said. "The checkpoints try to patrol any route that might circumvent the checkpoint."
Republican Women of Otero County chairman Marcia Stirman said she had Holmes speak to keep people informed about the issues of the border.
"Mostly people like to hear about the statistics," Stirman said. "With statistics, people have a feel for it. Somebody can relate to a certain number matched to a crime."