Forest Service Hit for Border Patrol Call

Stephen Dinan, Washington Times, June 4, 2012

A federal department ruled last week that the Forest Service violated a Spanish-speaking woman’s civil rights by calling the Border Patrol to help translate during a routine stop, saying it was “humiliating” to Hispanics and an illicit backdoor way to capture more illegal immigrants.

The ruling by the Agriculture Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights could change policies nationwide as law enforcement agencies grapple with how far they can go in trying to help the Border Patrol while not running afoul of racial profiling standards.

Assistant Secretary Joe Leonard Jr. said calling the Border Patrol automatically “escalates” encounters between Hispanics and law enforcement. He ruled that the Forest Service cannot routinely summon the Border Patrol for assistance and said the agency now must document suspected racial profiling nationwide.

“Given the increased risk of being questioned about immigration status during an interaction with [Border Patrol], the policy of using BP for interpretation assistance is problematic in all situations because it places a burden on [limited English proficient] individuals that non-LEP individuals do not experience,” Mr. Leonard ruled.

The case stems from a 2011 incident in Olympic National Forest in Washington in which a Forest Service officer encountered a Hispanic couple who he said appeared to be illegally harvesting plants on the federal lands.

The couple didn’t speak English and he didn’t speak fluent Spanish and, anticipating that situation, he called the Border Patrol for backup and translating.

But when a Border Patrol agent arrived, the couple fled. The woman was apprehended, but the man jumped into a river to try to escape and drowned. The Border Patrol took the woman into custody but released her several days later, reportedly on humanitarian grounds.

The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project complained to the Agriculture Department, which oversees the Forest Service, and last week’s ruling was the result.

{snip}

Last week’s ruling relies in part on an executive order issued during the Clinton administration that says language is interchangeable with national origin, which is protected by federal law.

Groups that push for English-language policies in the U.S. called the new ruling illegal and said the government appeared to be granting special language rights to illegal immigrants.

“The ACLU and illegal alien rights groups are well aware that American courts have never upheld their argument that language and national origin are equal, so they battle out these disputes in private between the agencies in order to come to a settlement where both the courts and the taxpayers are absent from the table,” said Suzanne Bibby, director of government relations for ProEnglish. “This is their new strategy because they know they will lose in the courts.”

{snip}

Underpinning the ruling were some key legal arguments: First, that the complainant was entitled to visit the national forest; second, that a law enforcement stop affects the availability of the serviceprovided by the national forest; and third, that the Forest Service must take steps to protect those with limited English, including making them not feel unduly threatened.

“A policy that causes individuals to actually flee from the service being provided does not provide meaningful access,” Mr. Leonard wrote.

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  • “Given the increased risk of being questioned about immigration status
    during an interaction with [Border Patrol], the policy of using BP for
    interpretation assistance is problematic in all situations because it
    places a burden on [limited English proficient] individuals that non-LEP
    individuals do not experience,” Mr. Leonard ruled.

    Law enforcement agents enforce the law?  How dare they.

    The case stems from a 2011 incident in Olympic National Forest in
    Washington in which a Forest Service officer encountered a Hispanic
    couple who he said appeared to be illegally harvesting plants on the
    federal lands.

    Their names were Mary and Jane, no doubt.

  •  “A federal department ruled last week…”

    ALL FEDERAL gov is staffed and run by coloreds
    EXCEPT for the Forest Dept., which is the only dept. rural whites can get there.

    NO SURPRISE

    • No sit at a desk jobs all day doing nothing there

  • LOL they run from the borderpatrol and claim racial profiling. The profile was running from the cops

  • IF they are not illegal alien invaders harvesting weed plants then they have NOTHING to fear.  I suppose I would do almost anything to escape being sent back to the country I love so much and brag about every day!

  • This is madness… just stark raving lunacy…

    I have no words…

  • Johnny Reb

    Well, the guy drowned so the score is still one to nothing.  Here’s the thing:  Every federal department that operates in the field has a We/They mentality . . . “we” being the guys with the muddy boots and “they” being the guys who never get their shoes dirty.

    Most patrolmen and rangers will see this exactly the way we see it and will first laugh and then second, ignore it.  I also suspect Assistant Secretary Lenard will be looking for a new job since the word will go out that the guy has zero commonsense, and/or tilts too far Left.

    And . . . can anybody explain why the Department of Agriculture (meat, corn and potatoes) is paying some guy big bucks with my tax dollars to sit around and pontificate on “civil rights?”

  • Southern__Hoosier

    “Agriculture Department’s assistant secretary for civil rights”
    Now that is about as worthless position as if there ever was one.

    “could change policies nationwide

    So some two bit punk of a bureaucrat is going to set national immigration policy. Maybe the cleaning lady at the Agriculture Department’s civil rights division could just declare the border open and citizenship for anyone that wants it.

  • Anonymous1397

    The office of the “Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights” is anything but diverse.  Of the 136 people in the office, 114 are minority and 102 (75%) are Black. If the numbers were reversed, someone would be suing for racial discrimination. Over all, in the Department of Agriculture, of the 307 people in the “Equal Opportunity” business by job title (Equal Opportunity, EO compliance, EO assistance), 244 are minorities and 186 (61%) are Black.  According to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Blacks should account for 9.4% of the overall total DoAG workforce and they currently are 11% so the numbers involved in “Civil Rights” are way out of whack.

    As to Dr. Joe Leonard (PH.D), his doctorate is in civil rights history and before his political appointment, one of his jobs was the Washington, DC Bureau Chief of the Rainbow/ PUSH Coalition and he served as Executive Director of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).  Why is it that the only people “ensuring” civil rights or diversity seem less diverse than America? I would expect that if 77% of the civilian workforce is White and 10% is Black, then these numbers would be reflected in the diversity business as well. Oh well, some races are more equal than others when it comes to definitions of diversity.

    •  These Federal “civil rights” bureaucracies attached to almost every Federal agency are nothing more than hiring agencies for blacks who were in the bottom third of their law school classes.

  • joewest666

    Jesus H Christ on a fucking pogostick.