Border Patrol: Web spoof ad

“Think we won’t hire you? Think again!” said an advertisement for Border
Patrol agents posted on the Web. “We have recently hired known criminals, drug
smugglers, gangbangers, people out of drug rehab, pizza delivery guys … people who
write on a fifth-grade level, and, yes, even illegal aliens.”


Although the ad appeared on the Web site of a Border Patrol agents’ union, it was
not an official want ad for the agency. It was a spoof, created and posted by a Border
Patrol agent critical of what he considers his agency’s lax hiring policies.


Neither the Border Patrol nor its parent agency, the Immigration and Naturalization
Service, were amused and initially launched an investigation of the San Diego Border
Patrol agent, Joseph Dessaro.


Dessaro said he posted the fake ad in mid-July after he heard complaints from Border
Patrol instructors about the caliber and qualifications of some recruits.


Dessaro posted it on a Web site belonging to the National Border Control Council Local
1613.


The posting followed the recent discovery by the Border Patrol that it had hired
several agents with criminal pasts, including officers found guilty of murder and drug
dealing and one officer suspected of being an illegal alien, Dessaro said.


Dessaro told senior Border Patrol officials he was not out to denigrate the force. He
said he wanted to draw attention to inadequate background checks of new hires.


As part of the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996,
Congress ordered the INS to hire 1,000 Border Patrol agents each year over five years.
Lawmakers essentially want to double the force, said Bill Strassberger, spokesman for
INS’ western region.


Some agents complained about the mock posting, Strassberger said. INS dropped an
investigation of the posting after it learned Dessaro designed the Web page on his own
time using his own equipment, Strassberger said.


The American Civil Liberties Union’s San Diego Office had agreed to defend Dessaro
if INS had pursued the investigation, Dessaro said.


The Border Patrol has about 7,800 agents and eventually could have about 11,000 agents
under the recruitment ramp-up, Strassberger said.  

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