Military and Police

Think Being a Cop In America These Days is Tough? Try Being One In Mexico

Everyone knows how tough it is to be an American cop these days. If you aren’t among the “everyone,” contact me; I’ll be happy to fill you in. Yes, in the United States, law enforcement officers are under siege by the various factions of the anti-cop, political left. And even though some of the onslaught involves violence, including cops killed by anti-cop group supporters, I’ve been thinking about what our Mexican counterparts have to deal with lately.

I’m at the point where I ask why anyone would want to be a cop in America these days, especially in leftist-run jurisdictions? What’s even more curious is why would anyone want to be a cop in Mexico, on any day, anywhere? Mexican police not only have to deal with everyday police duties but also rampant violent gangs, drug cartels, human smuggling, and local, state, and federal corruption.

Not that American cops have it good. I’m not saying that. Police in the U.S. have their hands full, to be sure. But it’s good to recognize, we’re not alone. We’re not the only cops in the world with serious problems. It’s a tough occupation anywhere, and too many societies see law enforcement officers as necessary evils to be tolerated rather than respected. I’m sure some places are better than others, but the occupation seems to be a thankless one all over.

More recently, without the proper tools or apparently rules of engagement, their leaders expect Mexico’s police officers to handle thousands of illegal immigrants disregarding their orders. People are flooding over the border from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, and other countries, assaulting Mexican cops while violating the country’s southern border.

Now, few people outside Mexico care about the massive, pervasive corruption that leads to tens of thousands of murders each year. But get a couple thousand people together in a “migrant caravan,” and suddenly the international leftists turn their virtue-signaling spotlight on full-glow in the form of the mainstream media.

These sanctified watchdogs have their biased eyes focused on the Mexican cops to assure they don’t “abuse” these poor “refugees.” I’d bet Mexican law enforcement officers are under “hands-off” or “kid glove” orders. I’ve been under such orders, and I recognize what it looks like. The result is criminals among the caravan injuring Mexican officers, some severely.

According to a report in theblaze.com, Alfonso Navarrete Prida, Mexico’s interior secretary, said the police were not armed (as if that were a good thing). He added, “The police did not have weapons, did not intend to attack any person, and the instruments used were deterrents so that no women, children, or young people would suffer any harm.” Well, except for the cops.

The Mexican officers perform their duties despite the injuries they must absorb from the caravandals. ICE reported over 600 known criminals are traveling with the caravan, including violent gang members. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reported arresting a previously deported, self-described MS-13 member who’d crossed the border illegally after arriving with the caravan. And CBP also arrested a convicted murderer from Honduras, who’d been travelling with the caravan and had crossed the U.S. border illegally.

But what about the Mexican police and their impossible mission to control the illegal immigrant caravandals? It has turned into a literal invasion. Yes, literal, which, if you look up the definition, describes exactly what is happening at Mexico’s southern border and what is happening on America’s southern border. Yes, an invasion is also literally what has happened in Mexico by Central Americans. What else can you call military-aged males assaulting Mexican police, illegally crossing the border, while waving the flag of another nation?

Just ask the mayor of Tijuana what he calls the caravan. Oh, forget asking him. You can infer from this image: Mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum stated his concerns about the caravan by wearing a tacitly pro-Trump red “Make Tijuana Great Again” ball cap. So, there’s that picture-thousand-words thing for ya.

Now, as far as invasions go, this is not the U.S. invading Iraq in the 90s. But it is significant because of the sinister tactics used by these invaders’ sponsors. Apparently, these caravans are supported by far leftist billionaires and their chosen well-funded groups.

It doesn’t hurt that an amenable media happily provide positive public relations. And the caravandals utilizing women and children as human shields makes this type of invasion unique and difficult for authorities to handle.

It’s ironic that if there were a wall, which most leftists oppose, CBP would not have had to use chemical agents to keep thugs from throwing projectiles at them while attempting to breach the border.

I was talking about the caravan with someone the other day. He tried to correct my calling the members of the caravan “illegal immigrants.” He said, “They haven’t entered America yet, so they’re not illegal.” Really? What about in Mexico? Speaking Spanish doesn’t make a Honduran any more a Mexican than speaking English makes a New Zealander an American. Guatemalans, Hondurans, and El Salvadorans are foreigners in Mexico. And if they didn’t enter with permission, aren’t they illegally in Mexico?

Mexico, which normally has very strong immigration laws, offered many of these folks, even though they’d crossed illegally, a chance to apply for political asylum. It appears most have ignored or refused offers of asylum or work permits, preferring to cross another border illegally into the United States. Makes them economic migrants, not asylum seekers, right?

So, Mexican police have an, at least, threefold mission: One, attempting to prevent migrants from illegally crossing their southern border with Guatemala. Two, attempting to keep those same people from crossing the northern border with the U.S. Three, dealing with the chaos the caravandals create as they snake northward through Mexico’s interior. This is no easy challenge. I feel bad for those Mexican cops I see on TV, getting pelted with rocks and bottles and struck with clubs.

According to Townhall.com, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen recently released an extensive account of what has and has not occurred, regarding the use of force against the caravandals. Nielsen is concerned about so many rumors and myths painting a false narrative, which a complicit American media eagerly report.

That CBP is targeting tear gas at women and children, that the migrants are peaceful, and that President Trump is the only president to authorize these tactics. Reports have the caravan’s makeup as 90 percent young males. Other reports have some of those males intentionally using mothers and their children as human shields, placing them in front for the cameras when they charge the border. And, CBP reports that during the Obama administration, the CBP used tear gas routinely to thwart attempted mass border incursions. Where’s the mainstream media on this disparity? Utterly silent.

Nielsen affirms my view of what Mexican police are facing. Nielsen said the recent caravan violence against U.S. personnel at the border, which required CBP agents to deploy tear gas, had not surprised her. She said people in the caravan acted similarly against Mexican border security forces. And there were also reports of caravan members assaulting Guatemalan border cops.

Nielsen, whose primary concern is with the safety of American law enforcement and military at the border, said the following: “First, the violence we saw at the border was entirely predictable. This caravan, unlike previous caravans, had already entered Mexico violently and attacked border police in two other countries. I refuse to believe that anyone honestly maintains that attacking law enforcement with rocks and projectiles is acceptable. It is shocking that I have to explain this, but officers can be seriously or fatally injured in such attacks. Self-defense isn’t debatable for most law-abiding Americans.”

But that’s how it is with the left and self-defense, isn’t it? They say you have the right to self-defense until you use it. For example, the left believes in your right to self-defense but not to the best means for that defense: a firearm. Apparently, they believe in CBP agents’ rights to self-defense, but only if certain people attack them. If you’re a rock-throwing, gang-banging caravandal who uses women and children as human shields, agents should…what? Hand them a bus ticket to San Francisco, a $20 Starbuck’s gift card, and serenade them with a rousing rendition of “God Bless America” as they ride off into the sunset?

Last night, Geraldo Rivera, often a strong supporter of Hispanic and Latino causes, was on Hannity. Well, he supports Hispanics, I guess unless they are law enforcement officers. He had an idea about how the CBP could handle the border violence. While he was responding specifically to the U.S. Border Patrol’s use of pepper spray and tear gas, this issue also extends to similar migrant caravandals’ attacks on Mexican police.

I should mention that, generally, I like Geraldo. I think he means well. I just wish he’d more carefully think through some of the issues about which he’s hyper-emotional.

Geraldo was all worked up about the CBP using tear gas on “women and children.” That part we get. Not a lot of people are pro-gassing little kids. So, yes, we know what Geraldo doesn’t like about the border confrontations. He doesn’t like the myth his mind, and the media, conjured about what actually happened.

But when former NYPD officer, Secret Service agent, and NRA contributor Dan Bongino asked him what he would do, Geraldo’s immediate response was, “What I wouldn’t do is…” Bongino interrupted, saying, “Geraldo, I didn’t ask you what you wouldn’t do. What would you do?”

When Geraldo finally answered, he replied with platitudes and generalities. But he also offered this strategical gem. He said Border Patrol agents should talk to people in the crowd, bringing “Spanish interpreters” with them.

Hey, Geraldo. I know several Border Patrol agents. They do speak Spanish, and many are of Hispanic descent, including some who are legal immigrants. What’s more, CBP agents are required to learn Spanish while they are in the Border Patrol Academy.

Can anyone picture Geraldo’s suggestion taking place? Amid caravan hooligans (uh oh, is my using an Irish term to describe Hispanic thugs, cultural appropriation? Well, I’ll worry about one virtue signal, micro-offense at a time) hurling rocks, bricks, and bottles at them, CBP agents and their interpreters are to approach the caravandals to… what? Have a chat?

You know what? Geraldo is welcome to use whatever magic he has that will make them stop throwing rocks and bottles at the cops. Go ahead and walk on out there. Find out what’s bugging them. You won’t even need to risk the life and safety of an interpreter.

On the other hand, I’d suggest any interpreters dumb enough to volunteer for such an assignment be pretty damned good at dodging flying chunks of concrete, rocks, and bottles. Oh, and they should also be ready to go alone because no competent CBP agent or National Guard soldier is about to risk his or her safety on such an insane mission.

So, since experience matters, my unit was once ordered to do a special operation in a city park. Let’s just leave it at… some members of the public weren’t at all happy with our interrupting their, um…diversions. Though our lieutenant had ordered the operation, because of the public “outrage,” the official version given at a public meeting was that we’d conducted the operation without a supervisor’s knowledge.

So, what’s the final analysis? Who knows? Maybe every person, American or Mexican, is crazy to be a cop these days. No matter what type of government you work for, cops are the most convenient scapegoats for politicians. Even when things go as they’re supposed to, but the public reaction is not what’s expected, they can always blame the cops—and they do.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Steve Pomper

Steve Pomper is an OpsLens contributor, a retired Seattle police officer, and the author of four non-fiction books, including De-Policing America: A Street Cop’s View of the Anti-Police State. You can read a review of this new book in Front Page Magazine and listen to an interview with Steve on the Joe Pags Show. Steve was a field-training officer, on the East Precinct Community Police Team, and served his entire career on the streets. He has a BA in English Language and Literature. He enjoys spending time with his kids and grand-kids. He loves to ride his Harley, hike, and cycle with his wife, Jody, a retired firefighter. You can find out more about Steve and send him comments and questions at www.stevepomper.com.

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