Border Patrol No Longer Interpreting For Law Enforcement

By Diana Guevara
|  Monday, Dec 17, 2012  |  Updated 6:06 PM PDT
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BP No Longer Interpreting For Law Enforcement

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is tightening up their policy when it comes to helping local law enforcement.

According to the Department of Homeland Security the border patrol will no longer provide interpretation services.

This comes amid accusations that the border patrol was abusing their role as interpreters while interrogating people who may not be here illegally.

But advocates for border patrol call this decision a huge disappointment that only prevents them from doing their job.

Shawn Moran is Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council. He says when police pull someone over and they have no identification or a problem communicating, most of the time that person is here illegally.

Although border patrol agents provide interpretation for local law enforcement in those cases, ACLU attorney Sean Riordan says the practice is not only discriminatory, but that it is used as a tactic to get border patrol to investigate someone's immigration status.

He applauds CBP’s decision to stop providing the service.

“From both the perspective of communities feeling secure and from preventing a form of discrimination based on limited English proficiency this is a very good development,” said Riordan.

Earlier this year the ACLU filed a lawsuit to stop border patrol agents from doing traffic stops in the state of Washington, claiming that many were being pulled over for the way they looked.

Although Border patrol will no longer provide interpretation services to local law enforcement.

For those in support of the largest law enforcement agency in the country, the decision is a big mistake.

“If a local or state law enforcement officer comes upon someone that they feel might be illegal, they have every right and in fact, they have a duty to call the U-S border patrol,” said Moran.

The decision does not affect the border patrol's authority when it comes to other immigration related calls from local law enforcement.

But as for interpretation requests, CBP says police and sheriff's department officials will now have to use their own staff or a private interpreter service.
 

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