The Border Patrol is one of the country’s most powerful law enforcement agencies; it can stop travelers within 100 miles of the border without probable cause.
It’s also one of President Donald Trump’s favorites. He boasted on the campaign trail about his support from agents, and frequently tweets about its work. While he regularly trashes the FBI, his praise of the Border Patrol is unstinting.
Now, the Border Patrol could become even more potent. The Daily Beast can confirm that officials in the Border Patrol’s parent agency, Customs and Border Protection, are quietly advocating to join the country’s powerful collection of intelligence agencies. And some former CBP officials are warning that this combination of border agents and spies could present an “Orwellian problem with law enforcement becoming both investigators and intelligence collectors.”
Sources familiar with the effort tell The Daily Beast that efforts within Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to join the Intelligence Community are significantly more advanced than those within ICE (The Daily Beast reported last week that ICE officials are also looking to enlist). A former senior DHS official said this effort is especially promising under the Trump administration.
This means that both ICE and Border Patrol would have full access to the nation's post-Patriot Act intelligence resources, to be used increasingly against people already in the country.
Now to be fair, the Obama administration was already considering this, but ran into problems with civil liberties and Republicans refusing to take action on immigration reform.
Jeh Johnson, the secretary of DHS for the last three years of the Obama administration, told The Daily Beast he supported the change when he headed the Department.
“I thought it was a pretty good idea, because what CBP has to offer and contribute to the IC is travel data,” he said.
As shaky as the Obama administration was on deportations and civil liberties at times the Trump regime on the other hand definitely doesn't care about civil liberties protections. If anything they are looking to make sure intelligence resources can be used to track down, say, undocumented immigrants or to profile everyone entering the country.
This would have been a pretty bad idea under Obama, but will be an abysmal abuse of government power under Trump.