Q: There are an awful lot of white and green border patrol vehicles around the Sandusky area. Must be looking for problems on our coastline. Sandusky police have their arrests and other actions printed daily in the Register. But have never seen one word published about Border Patrol arrests or activities. How come? — Charlie on Cleveland Road
A: Truth be told, Charlie, the Register has put in requests for documents regarding the Border Patrol's local stops and arrests. But unlike local police departments, which must follow Ohio public records laws, the Border Patrol is a federal agency that is supposed to abide by federal Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) rules. And, in a post 9/11 world, the federal government has seriously locked down what information it makes available on federal policing activities — even down to the names of those arrested locally by Border Patrol. Taking a different tack, we also asked for the dates, locations and nationalities of those arrested instead of names just to get a gauge on how many people — and from where — were being picked up in our area. That request was turned down too. While we understand the need for national security, having zero access to information on what's happening in our own back yard seems wrongheaded too. For all we know, Sandusky could be a major illegal immigrant or drug smuggling thoroughfare. Or we're the squeakiest clean town in these United States. Without access to records on the number and types of arrests federal agents are making locally, we just can't know either way.
The Mailbag is a daily feature on SanduskyRegister.com. Every weekday at noon, we will post one question-and-answer from a resident.
To ask a question, send a letter to The Mailbag at 314 W. Market St., or e-mail mailbag@ sanduskyregister.com. Please include your first name and a location in the e-mail, e.g. “John from Decatur Street."