National Border Patrol Council Local 1613 president Terence Shigg takes a question from a member of the Intermountain Republican Women Federated. — Karen Brainard

Answer questions from GOP women’s group

By Karen Brainard12:24 p.m.Feb. 2, 2016

Two U. S. Border Patrol agents gave the Intermountain Republican Women Federated a startling glimpse into the challenges agents face, dangers at the border, and the effects that government policies place on their jobs.

Terence Shigg, president, and Joshua Wilson, vice president, of the National Border Patrol Council Local 1613, were guest speakers at the Republican women’s Jan. 25 meeting in Mainstage Theater. Shigg stepped in for Border Patrol Agent Shawn Moran, who was called away to Washington D.C.

Shigg talked about drug cartels, smugglers, human trafficking, illegal aliens and the frustration agents face when policies prevent them from carrying out their duties.

He told a story of an agent who had processed a person in the country illegally and not only had to let him go, but see that he was cleaned up and had a bus ticket.

Shigg said they take an oath to protect the borders.

“It’s as if they don’t want us to do that job,” he said. “It’s humiliating and it’s frustrating when that happens.”

Shigg talked about the inhumanity of Mexican cartels, saying they smuggle people and drugs across the border, use every resource to make sure their business is not disrupted, leave people to die in the desert, and infest U.S. neighborhoods with drugs.

When necessary, Border Patrol must rescue those left in the desert, said the agent.

Some in the country illegally are forced into human trafficking, said Shigg, adding that Border Patrol is taking a hard look at combating that.

“Coyotes are concerned with their business, their product,” said Shigg, referring to the term used for humans who are paid to smuggle people into the United States.

In many cases, the coyotes rob and kill their customers, never intending to get them across the border, he said.

Border Patrol agents also find their jobs hindered by additional authority that has been given to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which he said does not have the manpower.

Shigg said it’s as if the government puts up roadblocks between what Border Patrol agents are told to do and what they are allowed to do.

“It’s not securing the borders,” he said. “It’s not securing the country and it’s not making us better.”

Members of the Republican women’s group asked questions about checkpoints, border fencing, sanctuary cities and “Fast and Furious,” the name given to a botched federal operation that allowed weapons from the United States to pass into the hands of suspected gun smugglers in efforts to trace them to Mexican drug cartels. Instead the government lost track of hundreds of weapons, many of which have been linked to crimes, according to reports.

More documents are being released about Fast and Furious, Shigg said, but added, “I don’t think we’ll ever know the full story.”

As for border fencing, Shigg said it is effective in San Diego County, but to work in other areas along the U.S. southern border, agents must be present because illegals will attempt to go over, under and even create holes to go through the fence.

Shigg was asked if San Diego is a sanctuary city, the term applied to cities that shelter illegals. The agent said no, but he believes there are some communities in the county that are sanctuary cities. There has to be a political will, he said, to refuse federal funds for cities that do not abide by the law.

After the talk, Sandy Hurlburt, Intermountain Republican Women Federated president, summed up her reaction to the presentation: “The more you really learn about the job, the more empathetic you are to their position. We’re not as protected as the government leads us to believe.”