Pictured above: Some of the uniformed U.S. Border Patrol agents at political meeting in Douglas, Arizona. (Seated are Rep. Gabriel Giffords, D-AZ, Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-MS, and U.S. Border Patrol Tucson Sector Chief Victor Manjarrez Jr.)
Uniformed Officers Attended Political Meeting Glenn Spencer -- America Patrol Report -- July 11
Rep. Gabriel Giffords, D-AZ, held a town hall meeting in Douglas last Friday. Few people, except those she invited, knew about it because the public announcement didn't appear in the local newspaper until 4 minutes after midnight Friday morning. (A friend e-mailed me about it.)
I went to the meeting and said my piece.
Later that day I was talking to a lawyer about the meeting and when I said that U.S. Border Patrol agents where there, he reacted immediately. "Were they in uniform?" He asked. I told him, yes. "That's a clear violation of federal ethics, if not law," he barked. He said the Border Patrol had no jurisdiction in the City of Douglas meeting hall and that they were attending a political gathering, not an official federal government activity.
I checked on this, and sure enough, there are clear guidelines as to when uniforms should not be worn at a public meeting, and Giffords' meeting was political, not official government business.
Besides, he said, if this was a meeting to discuss the performance of the U.S. Border Patrol, many in the audience might well have been intimidated by the presence of armed, uniformed agents in their midst. "Those who wore their uniforms to this political gathering should be terminated or suspended," he said.