I told him that I appreciated his enthusiasm, but unfortunately, he was too young and his citizenship status would be a problem for someone seeking employment with U. Customs and Border Protection. Hear him out, Lenihan. I ignored Jack and turned my attention to a third boy who was drinking from a jug of filthy water he had likely refilled at a cattle tank. I told him to dump it and promised I would give him a fresh bottle back at the truck. He examined his container of bacteria-infested sludge, trying to understand what the problem was, before regretfully dumping the water onto the parched earth.
We waited for more than an hour and finally decided to call it a night when one of the boys started snoring. I had to kick his foot more than once to keep him from giving away our position. Jack led the procession down the mountain, while I took up the rear. In the middle of our descent, a helicopter abruptly banked over the ridgeline and headed south for the border.
My young would-be recruit stumbled over the loose scree as he craned his neck to see the chopper fade into the night, awed by the mechanized thunder of the U. Department of Homeland Security. When we reached the base of the mountain, we loaded the men and boys into our trucks, and I handed them a crate of fresh water jugs. We then dropped them off at a prisoner transport bus that was idling along the side of State Route The boys shook my hand one by one, and the young recruit gave me a salute. One boy winked, another flashed a thumbs-up. The Tucson processing center is a temporary holding facility for recently arrested undocumented immigrants.
In the sally port, private security guards pat down migrants, place their belongings in cubbies, and escort them inside the processing facility. Sometimes phones ring in the cubby area—parents looking for their children; smugglers coordinating their drop sites. The interior of the processing center had the feel of an underground bunker. Doors buzzed open and closed with an electric hum while rock music blared from a boom box above a printer. On this occasion, there had to have been more than 70 people in the various holding cells—Mexicans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Salvadorans, even a few Chinese at the end of a journey from across the Pacific Ocean—and the stench of soiled clothes and fetid bodies hung heavily in the air.
Others slept on the benches and floors of their cells. A door buzzed, and a boy walked cheerfully across the processing center with his mother. He wore a pair of shiny sneakers that lit up in a display of red pulsing lights with every step—not the best choice of footwear for a journey that required hiding from federal agents at night. A woman, her beauty in stark contrast with her surroundings, convulsed with gentle sobs in her cell. In another cell, two young brothers stared through the window with an unsettling vacancy in their eyes. Some of these people would successfully claim asylum and be allowed to stay, but most would be sent back home.
A little girl with skin as white as my own walked freely from cell to cell. Several agents looked up from their computer terminals to watch me hand her a package of crackers. A horrific stench of stale sweat and excrement suddenly overwhelmed my senses, and I lurched back. The room erupted in laughter as the little girl thanked me and scampered back to her cell. She handed the crackers to an indigenous woman sitting on a bench. A Hispanic agent seated at the computer terminal next to mine watched this take place. He seemed irritated by my curiosity, but then explained that the girl had come alone in search of her parents somewhere on the East Coast.
The other prisoners were strangers she met along the way. The agent stopped typing.
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An agent standing to my right pulled a latex exam glove from a box and stretched the opening over his head. He exhaled through his nose to inflate the glove. The result was a tall, lanky clown of a man wearing an absurd cockscomb. He danced a jig as the latex fingers flopped from side to side. The prisoners exploded into applause, and the children giggled and pointed. The agent took the glove off his head and bowed theatrically while his audience called for an encore. The jeep trail into the mountains was trenched and gutted, making progress interminably slow.
The engine roared and the suspension grunted as the branches of overgrown mesquite trees ripped paint off the doors. Twenty minutes later, I parked near an abandoned mine shaft and stepped out to stretch and study a trail that climbed from a ravine to the south, crossed the road in front of me, and headed up the hill to a saddle a couple hundred yards to the north.
The soil on the trail was a mosaic of sneaker and boot prints, sharp and fresh. Someone yelled from down the road, and I turned to see a man jogging toward me. He waved his arms in frantic arcs, then pointed back into the ravine and spoke in rapid Spanish with an awkward, grimacing smile. His brother was very sick, he said, and needed urgent medical attention.
Smugglers tended to wear heavy-duty boots whereas migrants usually wore street shoes. I grabbed my rifle from the truck and followed cautiously behind the stranger. As we walked, he told me that he had crossed the border with his brother and his cousin in search of work. Later, they had linked up with another group of migrants in the desert and paid a coyote to guide them. When his brother fell ill, the coyote continued on with the others and abandoned his family. We turned a bend in the rocky canyon and found an elderly man cradling a young man in his arms in the shade of a mesquite tree.
They were both muscular and rugged with the leathery skin of men who had spent their lives outdoors. The introductions began as my guide turned and shook my hand with respectful formality.
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His name was Rogelio. His sick brother, Roberto, lay in the arms of Miguel, their cousin. They thanked me profusely for coming and explained that Roberto had fallen ill two hours ago. Piles of corn tortillas, baggies of homemade salsa, carne seca, and jugs of fresh water lay scattered about.
I keyed my radio and contacted the dispatch center to request a medical helicopter. As I waited for a reply, I realized a helicopter would not be able to land here. Our best bet was the flat turnabout where I had parked. Roberto vomited black bile onto his chest, which rolled off his rib cage and onto the arms of his brother and cousin. Tired from struggling through the sand, I called a break.
We rolled the young man on his side to clear the vomit from his throat. The bile rolled onto my arms now, too, and I pretended to ignore it. My backpack and rifle strap pinched the muscles in my neck as we grunted on through the dry heat. I could feel his coarse, calloused fingers locked like a vice onto my smooth hands. Then my radio began to crackle and buzz on my shoulder, and I was a stranger once again, saddened and scared by the intimacy of death. Roberto vomited, this time followed by a thin trickle of bright red blood from the corners of his mouth.
Reaching the road, we placed him in the shade of a mesquite tree, and I sprinted to the truck for a CPR facemask. By the time I returned, his chest had stopped moving. A noise like water draining from a bathtub gurgled in his throat. His right eye had turned red, bubbles frothed in the corners of his mouth. Rogelio shook his head. He said his brother was all right, he just needed to get to a hospital. But it could not. That night at a bar in central Tucson, my fellow agents hugged me and punched me in the shoulder. I thought about Rogelio, who no longer had a brother, and repeated their words—it was all just part of the game.
The next day, I received a phone call from my supervisor. He was a good person, like most of my fellow agents, and I appreciated his concern. He informed me that upon further investigation, Rogelio, Miguel, and Roberto were not migrants but drug mules. They were related but had lied to me about everything else. He said this as if it changed everything. I thanked him for his consoling words and pretended they made a difference.
I stood in silence next to Alejandro, watching the twilight hour come and go. For a fleeting moment, our bodies cast two soft and opposing shadows—one from the residue of the sun over the hills to the west and another from the rising moon in the east. I studied the Mexican seated at my feet, so far from his home in a distant village. Technically, I suppose, he was my prisoner, but considering the circumstances, he seemed more like a fellow companion in a desert hostile to us both. Like Alejandro, almost all of the migrants I arrested were short and dark-skinned, indigenous people from the south of Mexico and Central America.
If we were in the middle of nowhere, and we usually were, we shared whatever snacks we had while waiting for transportation. I traded protein bars for dried jerky, Gatorade for spiced candy. I talked with Mexicans about the cathedral in downtown Morelia and the street food of Mexico City. He told me of his home and his children and asked me if I had children of my own. I shook my head, and he paused, perhaps struggling to comprehend how a lawman who might be faced with taking a life knew nothing of creating it.
Sometimes you can hear her screams. I spat into the grass and looked at the little old man. Then he said that the souls of many dead Mexicans roamed these borderlands. You could hear them in the night. It occurred to me how very differently we saw the landscape. To me, the desert was beautiful but defined mainly by its features—trees, cacti, dirt, and snakes. To Alejandro, it was filled with fateful significance.
Maybe that was why I found him sitting on the side of the road—his destiny was beyond his control, so why fight it? Alejandro turned and sat facing Mexico as if in meditation, legs folded and palms up. The creases in his hands stood out in the moonlight like the lines of a topographic map. In the dimness, my own hands appeared to be the same color as his, and I imagined the old man I would become. Some fragment of a memory from long ago—a nostalgic feeling that I could not quite put my finger on—swelled in my throat. In that moment, wrestling with the cognitive dissonance that plagued my mind, I did something out of character: I asked Alejandro if he thought I had a right to patrol the border.
He took a moment to mull it over, then said, yes, I did have the right. Then he quietly asked me if I thought he had the right to seek a better life than that which was he was born into. I told him he did. We left the contradictions of our shared existence at that—two righteous and justified men finding consensus on a border that has no patience for moral ambivalence. A processing center near McAllen, Texas, holds migrants who were captured by the Border Patrol while trying to cross into the United States illegally. Every day that I spent patrolling the border was a reminder of how arbitrary my good fortune in this world really is—how but for the circumstances of my birth, I myself might easily be the one trying to sneak across that line in the sand.
By July , I had seen enough and turned in my badge and gun. I left the Border Patrol because I was exhausted by the tragic stories and the damaged people; and because the more I saw, the less affected I was by events that had once seemed shocking. Returning to civilian life, I began to reflect on my years in the desert. Strangely, the images of traumatized men, women, and children bothered me more in my memory than they ever had in the moment.
Time does not always blunt the edges of past experience. Sometimes it sharpens them. Soon I entered a graduate program in Latin American studies. On the first day of a class on immigration and education policy, the professor asked us to introduce ourselves and explain why we were there. The young man to my right confessed that he had crossed the border illegally as a little boy with his family. To assist border services officers in their examinations, detection tools such as Remote Operated Vehicles and Vehicle and Cargo Inspection System are used. One hundred percent of marine containers in major ports are scanned for the presence of radiological material using radiation portals.
Border services officers' conduct an inspection of international mail items to determine whether further processing e. To assist border services officers in their examinations, detection tools such as X-ray, and detector dogs may be used. The importer is advised of their appeal rights, and Canada Post is advised that the item has been taken from the mail stream.
All other items that are deemed admissible, after examination, are released to Canada Post for delivery. The importations, which are conducted by approved courier participants, enter at designated sufferance warehouses. If a physical examination is required, the item is presented to a border services officer upon arrival.
To assist border services officers in their examinations, detection tools such as targets and detector dogs may be used. CBSA investigators review potential border legislation violations and gather evidence using a variety of investigative techniques, including search warrants, production orders and digital forensic analysis.
These violations include criminal offences under the Customs Act, the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act, various food, plant and animal legislation, and other border-related legislation. In conjunction with the Public Prosecution Service of Canada, the CBSA pursues the prosecution of individuals or business entities who violate Canada's border-related legislation. Foreign nationals and permanent residents of Canada believed to be inadmissible are investigated and may have a report written against them by a CBSA inland enforcement officer.
Subsequent to this review, a removal order may be issued against the foreign national or permanent resident in question.
Removal orders issued against refugee claimants are conditional and do not come into force until the claim against the removal order is abandoned, withdrawn or denied by the IRB. The Immigration Investigations Program investigates, reports and arrests foreign nationals and permanent residents already in Canada who are or may be inadmissible to Canada as defined by the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Investigation techniques can include data analysis of information collected regarding an individual's immigration application, physical surveillance to locate fugitive inadmissible persons and field searches of residences and belongings for evidence.
Depending on the type of inadmissibility and the status of the person in question, inadmissibility reports are reviewed by either a Minister's Delegate or the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. When a person fails to appear for an immigration proceeding such as an examination, admissibility hearing or removal interview, a warrant for their arrest may be issued. Warrants may also be issued against a foreign national or permanent resident where a CBSA inland enforcement officer has reasonable grounds to believe that they are inadmissible to Canada. Foreign nationals and permanent residents may also be detained upon entry into Canada for an examination or where the individual is suspected of being inadmissible for security reasons.
They are entitled to an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing after being detained for 48 hours, 7 days and 30 days. The Immigration Hearings Program ensures that the Government of Canada's interests are represented at immigration proceedings before the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada IRB which determines the immigration and detention status of foreign nationals and permanent residents already in Canada, in accordance with the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.
This function ensures that foreign nationals and permanent residents who are inadmissible to Canada are denied status, and removal orders are issued where appropriate. The Removals Program ensures that foreign nationals and permanent residents with an enforceable removal order are removed from Canada. Once a person is removal-ready, an interview is conducted to ensure that a travel document is available and that a pre-removal risk assessment is offered by a CBSA inland enforcement officer.
Where a valid travel document is not available, CBSA inland enforcement officers liaise with foreign embassies to secure the required travel documents. The CBSA may have to make further arrangements for removal, which could include arranging for travel e. The Recourse program provides the business community and individuals with an accessible mechanism to seek an impartial review of service-related complaints, program decisions and enforcement actions taken by the CBSA.
This program ensures that their decisions are fair, transparent and accurately reflect the Agency's policies and the Acts administered by the CBSA.
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Individuals can complete a written submission if they disagree with an enforcement action or a program decision made by the CBSA or wish to submit a complaint or compliment about services. Clients are provided with a timely acknowledgement of their correspondence, before CBSA officials conduct a thorough review, taking into consideration the legislation administered by the Agency, CBSA policies, the client's point of view and, where necessary, technical opinions from CBSA experts or legal advice from the Department of Justice. Individuals who are not satisfied with the CBSA's review can appeal to the appropriate court, tribunal or external review body.
The Recourse Program also facilitates the review of external complaints of discrimination filed with the Canadian Human Rights Commission and assists the Department of Justice representing the Agency on appeals to the Federal Court, various tribunals and other external bodies. The Revenue and Trade Management Program administers international and regional trade agreements and domestic legislation and regulations governing trade in commercial goods. The Program ensures that appropriate trade data is collected and that the duties and taxes owed to the Government of Canada are remitted in accordance with Canadian trade laws and import requirements.
Commercial importers must accurately report on their goods at the time of importation, and remit the required payment, or self-correct their entries, and pay any additional amounts owing, when they have reason to believe that trade-related reporting errors have occurred. Its role is to provide assistance to Canadian producers who face unfair foreign competition from dumped or subsidized goods in the Canadian marketplace.
SIMA provides measures of redress against such goods when they have caused injury to the Canadian industry, and is in keeping with Canada's international obligations as a signatory to the World Trade Organization. Protecting Canadian industry against the injury from dumped or subsidized imports requires a two-track approach, with the CBSA responsible for determining whether imports are being dumped or subsidized, and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal CITT making the decision of whether these imports have caused injury to Canadian production.
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The Trade Policy Program is responsible for interpreting the legislation and regulations that govern the tariff classification, origin and value of imported goods, and the related assessment of duties and taxes, so as to ensure that persons engaged in the importation of goods into Canada fully understand all of the trade-related requirements in order to promote self-compliance. The Program also administers Canada's trade incentive initiatives e. Further, the Program is responsible for the negotiation of the origin procedures that are included in all of Canada's free trade agreements, which serve to strengthen international trade rules and open new markets for Canadians.
Finally, the Program is responsible for representing the views of Canadians businesses in international trade fora, such as the World Customs Organization and the World Trade Organization, in order to ensure a fair and accessible global trading environment. The Trade Compliance Program works to ensure that Canadian importers accurately account for the commercial goods that they bring into Canada and pay all of the duties and taxes owing.
The results also provide valuable information that often lead to more focused, risk based verification in instances where non-compliance is suspected. These trade compliance activities are supported by robust monitoring and administrative penalty programs that are aimed at maintaining a level playing field for all Canadian importers by making certain that the rules apply equally to everyone and that the appropriate duties and taxes are paid in full.
Internal services are groups of related activities and resources that are administered to support the needs of programs and other corporate obligations of an organization. Internal services include only those activities and resources that apply across an organization, and not those provided to a specific program. Acquisition services involve activities undertaken to acquire a good or service to fulfill a properly completed request including a complete and accurate definition of requirements and certification that funds are available until entering into or amending a contract.
Communications services involve activities undertaken to ensure that Government of Canada communications are effectively managed, well coordinated and responsive to the diverse information needs of the public. The communications management function ensures that the public—internal or external—receives government information, and that the views and concerns of the public are taken into account in the planning, management and evaluation of policies, programs, services and initiatives.
Financial management services involve activities undertaken to ensure the prudent use of public resources, including planning, budgeting, accounting, reporting, control and oversight, analysis, decision support and advice, and financial systems. Human resources management services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction, allocating resources among services and processes, as well as activities relating to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures. They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies and plans.
Information management services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective information management to support program and service delivery; foster informed decision making; facilitate accountability, transparency and collaboration; and preserve and ensure access to information and records for the benefit of present and future generations.
Information technology services involve activities undertaken to achieve efficient and effective use of information technology to support government priorities and program delivery, to increase productivity, and to enhance services to the public. Legal services involve activities undertaken to enable government departments and agencies to pursue policy, program and service delivery priorities and objectives within a legally sound framework.
Management and oversight services involve activities undertaken for determining strategic direction and allocating resources among services and processes, as well as those activities related to analyzing exposure to risk and determining appropriate countermeasures.
They ensure that the service operations and programs of the federal government comply with applicable laws, regulations, policies or plans. Materiel services involve activities undertaken to ensure that materiel can be managed by departments in a sustainable and financially responsible manner that supports the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs.
Real property services involve activities undertaken to ensure that real property is managed in a sustainable and financially responsible manner, throughout its life cycle, to support the cost-effective and efficient delivery of government programs. Travel and other administrative services include Government of Canada travel services, as well as those other internal services that do not smoothly fit with any of the internal services categories. The Government of Canada encourages the release of information through informal requests.
To obtain information informally, an informal request may be submitted to the Canada Border Services Agency. Please consult the instructions for information on formal access procedures under the provisions of the Access to Information Act and the Privacy Act. To make a formal request:. For additional information about the programs and activities of the Canada Border Services Agency, please contact:. In accordance with the Access to Information Act, an area on the premises of this institution has been designated as a public reading room.
The address is:. Information collected for identification and authentication purposes includes the employee's name and Simple Mail Transfer Protocol SMTP mail address, which are published to the X. Consistent Uses : The information gathered prior to the issuance of PKI certificates is for identification and authentication purposes only.
Canada Border Services Agency CBSA correspondence Subscribers' Agreements and any identification and authentication information and reports are archived for a minimum of six 6 years. All records are considered Protected B and destroyed as per guidelines. Use of Force and Incident Reporting — Personal Information Bank Description : This bank describes information that is related to assault incident cases, investigation reports, other reports and correspondence completed by Canada Border Services Agency CBSA officers who have drawn defensive equipment, including the duty firearm.
The personal information collected in regards to the officer may include: name, badge number, contact information.
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