TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) – Many lawmakers and Arizonans have long been calling for more boots on the ground – actual patrol agents to secure the border – but Cochise County Sheriff Larry Dever said Border Patrol is actually retreating from dangerous border territory.
"I've been told by Border Patrol agents and agent family members that that in fact is the case. There have been places they are instructed not to go work because it is too dangerous. Now Border Patrol command people will deny that," Dever told KGUN9 News. "I heard it from the horse's mouth on enough occasions to believe that is the case in some places."
However, the head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection disagrees.
"I have great regard for Larry, but I did check out specifically with the people in the Douglas station whether or not his speculation regarding that was true. And I think with all due respect, the Sheriff is mistaken," said Commissioner Alan Bersin.
Dever said Border Patrolmen aren't the ones retreating from dangerous spots; rather, middle and upper management are telling them to avoid certain dangerous areas, partly to avoid an international incident.
"I have been misinformed over the years on a lot of things. Mr. Bersin may be the one misinformed here. The truth is the truth. The fact is regardless of what instructions they are, they're inadequate to solve things at the border," Dever said.
Bersin said law enforcement at the border has more resources than they've ever been – and that the border is more secure than it's ever been.
"In fact, there are no places in Arizona that agents have not gone. That's why we should honor them as people on the front lines who put their lives on the line as they serve the American people, the people here in Arizona," Bersin said. "The Sheriff needs to look into the facts a little better on that score."
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