Judicial Watch has released a memo from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to Border Patrol on how to deal with illegal alien drunk drivers, which was turned over to the publication in response to a public records request.
The document expressly tells agents to ‘send (drunk drivers) on their way,’ unless the stop is within the scope of their jobs (working with an police agency that has asked them to stop a suspect):
“(T)he notice is titled ‘Enforcement Options With Alcohol-Impaired Drivers’ and directs the 4,000-plus U.S. Border Patrol agents in the Tucson, Arizona sector to ‘release’ individuals under the influence and ‘allow them to go on their way.'”
The DHS outlines several scenarios to agents working in Tucson, Arizona, the busiest border sector, to ease concerns and drive home the new rules:
“If you allow this driver to continue down the road and they kill someone, aren’t you liable?
There is no legal requirement for a Border Patrol agent to intervene in a state crime, including DUI, therefore there is generally no liability that will attach to the agent or agency for failing to act in this situation.”
“(D)etaining the impaired individual at the request of state or local law enforcement officers.
‘There is no duty to detain the alcohol-impaired individual,’ the memo says, ‘but if you do this option can raise potential liability for the agent and the agency.’”
“The last scenario offered in the recently issued decree has a Border Patrol agent detaining a drunk driver in Arizona without a request from a state or local law enforcement officer.
‘This option poses the greatest liability for both the agent and the agency,’ according to the order. After revealing that private citizens in Arizona can make felony and misdemeanor arrests, it nevertheless prompts Border Patrol agents to stay away from drunk drivers. ‘Be advised, this option poses the greatest threat to an agent for a civil lawsuit,’ the memo warns.”
Although this rationale may seem off to many, the fear of lawsuits is certainly real. The Associated Press reports that the ACLU is suing the Border Patrol for ‘roving patrols,’ on behalf of illegal aliens who have been caught 80 miles north of the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing.
However, there are other, seemingly more important, threats faced by Border Patrol agents that can’t be reduced by simply allowing illegal aliens to go on their way. For example, just this week, agents caught a man who had been deported multiple times trying to get back in the U.S. to kidnap his children.