Federal legislators weigh in on Border Patrol allegations

Two of three federal legislators representing this area of Ohio have weighed in on a federal lawsuit that accuses U.S. Border Patrol agents of racial profiling in the Sandusky Bay region.
Jessica Cuffman
Jan 31, 2013


While U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican, did not respond to the Register’s request for comments on this issue, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, D-Toledo, offered brief responses through their spokespeople.   

Attorneys have filed two lawsuits — representing nine individuals and two organizations — accusing Sandusky Bay Border Patrol agents of embracing a culture of racism and using racial profiling in this region.     

One of the suits references Border Patrol emails and internal documents in which agents use the term “wets” or “wetbacks,” a derogatory term for Mexicans or Hispanics.

More to the point, the suit points to data showing more than 60 percent of the Sandusky Bay Border Patrol’s arrests or stops have targeted Hispanics.

A federal court has sealed most of the documents in the case at the request of the Border Patrol.  

The Register obtained one of the documents prior to a judge’s decision to seal it. The document references correspondence in which Sandusky Bay Border Patrol’s lead agent, Cory Bammer, used the term “wets” when referring to undocumented Hispanic people in the U.S.   

While the document is no longer available on the court website, the Register has published it online at sanduskyregister.com.

Through his spokeswoman, Meghan Dubyak, Sen. Brown said Customs and Border Patrol should take action in this matter if the allegations prove true.   

“Sen. Brown believes that there is no place for racial slurs in our society, particularly among public servants,” Brown’s office stated in an email to the Register. “If the allegations are true, then Customs and Border Patrol should take action to ensure that this type of behavior is not repeated.”

Brown also cited a community meeting he held in Cleveland last June with high-level Immigration and Customs Enforcement representatives and about 50 other community stakeholders from across Northern Ohio, “where these allegations and others were raised.”  

Through spokesman Steve Fought, Rep. Kaptur largely declined to comment because of the pending litigation.

Her office did, however, say she remains concerned about the allegations.   

“Obviously the congresswoman is concerned about allegations that would involve potential infringements on anyone’s civil rights,” Fought said in an interview with the Register. “I don’t think it would be wise to comment at this time precisely because it’s the matter of legal action.”

“There’s a lot that’s not known about this. The use of slurs by anyone in position of authority is a matter of concern to any individual,” he said.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the Border Patrol have refused to provide the Register with the names of people agents have arrested over the years.

Any documentation the agencies have provided have been heavily redacted, with names of arrested individuals removed.

The Register’s editorial board has called on Brown, Kaptur and Portman to address the concerns raised in the community about the Border Patrol’s tactics and lack of accountability.

Kaptur has responded twice, expressing concern, and she and Brown have assured the Register they’ve shared their concerns with Border Patrol administrators.

Still, neither of them has promised any sort of action.

Portman remains unresponsive.


There you go again

Seems to me it's "Lawyers Gone Wild! "

Phil Packer

Of course the canucks look just like us regular Americans. Not fair to the illegals from down south.

2cents's picture

(the suit points to data showing more than 60 percent of the Sandusky Bay Border Patrol’s arrests or stops have targeted Hispanics)

DA! Most Canadians cross at the boarder legaly spend some money and then go back home!

John Harville

Soo can we expect a fence across Sandusky Bay and drones in the skies overhead? Cuz we've been told immigrants from Mexico come across the Rio Grande.


You want fences and drones for legal crossings?

The Big Dog's back

I didn't know it was legal to cross the lake (border) from Canada.


To everyone but you!!!!!

2cents's picture

You do it with the "wet back" stroke :)

BajaRat's picture

Triple-layered 30-foot fences with an alligator-filled moat in the middle will do.

BajaRat's picture

I hate the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino," garbage language developed by the corrupt feds and La Raza a couple of decades ago. Both terms really refer to one who speaks Spanish. That's it. Yet La Raza and their ilk claim that it's an "ethnicity," thus "profiling" these folks is discriminatory. Ludicrous.

Since about 58% of the illegal alien population is from south of the border it makes sense to give those suspects more scrutiny. Of course the Mexican government teaches students in school down there that they have the right to cross the border anytime they want to because the US "stole their land." Go figure.


Enjoyed reading Comrade Sen. Brown's PC answer.

It seems that the further away a state is from the Mex border, that the politicos can afford to sound stupid and “caring.”

Kinda like back in the 19th Century when the "know-it-alls" in DC told the Western states to understand and get along better with the Indians.

2cents's picture

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Personal attacks (including: name calling, presumption of guilt or guilt by association, insensitivity, or picking fights).


BTW: The East had already "re-located" many of their Indians with the "Indian Removal Act" of 1830.


John Harville

Thank you Andy Jackson... That made them 'legals' before the 1846 war... and white folks the illegal aliens.


I hope you have your green card John Harville


I think you all are missing the real issue. I do not know the actual stats but Hispanics are not the only ethnicity that are here illegally. There's africans, asians, germans, irish and others that are also illegal. You cannot tell just by looking at a person. That is the problem with racial profiling!


Anyone read about the ICE agents suing the Obama Admin. for illegally preventing them from doing their jobs?


What are your thoughts on that Comrades Brown and Kaptur?

BajaRat's picture

Those two stooges are more concerned that some may have been referred to as "wets" rather than the fact that they have invaded this country and proceeded to squat and filch.

This PC BS is over the top and is yet another red herring. Mexican illegals often refer to each other as "wets," or "mojados". They also refer to us as "gringos", another term that is technically disparaging. Of course nobody ever complains about that.


Let's see if I get this.......
Brown and Kaptur called the hispanics "wets" and that makes them "commies"?


@ Kimo:

Nah. Both Comrades Brown and Kaptur erroneously believe in the "wisdom" of centralized govt. planning and that makes 'em authoritarians.

Has Fed. Chair Bernanke sent you a "Thank You" card for allowing his ZIRP policy to balance his printing on the backs of savers in cds and other low yielding financial instruments?

Swamp Fox

According to a PEW study published in an AP article 02/2011 the breakdown of illegals were;
Hispanic 81%
Asians 11%
Europe/Canada 4%
All other nations 3%

Clearly the major problem are Hispanics, so wouldn't the officers target the PROBLEM. To solve a problem, you go to the source. You can always tell when Brown is playing politics, his mouth moves, he talks a lot, says very little........ A few years ago I observed two Border Patrol officers enter one door of a Wal Mart, and within minutes a large group of Hispanics run out another door, if the officers would have chased them would that have been "Profiling?" It appeared that the officers didn't even notice the subjects, they appeared to be in the store for personal reasons. I didn't observe any Asians, Europeans, or Canadians flee the store.

John Harville

Who's hiring/paying these?


I don't think Portman remained quiet because it was the SR. I think he remained quiet because of the ISSUE, and rightly so. When you are sitting in a mine field, you don't throw a hammer!

Perhaps the best thing to do is remain silent until one sees how the courts react to this first lawsuit. This does not look like it will end well for the Border Patrol at all. The country doesn't like what appears to be gustapo tactics and that is the impression the Border Patrol has given according to the charges. It is best to let the courts hear the charges and the defense before Senators and House Members State spouting their positions.

I think Portman wise to remain silent. He can't be held accountable for his silence later on. Smart man.


Moderators have removed this comment because it contained Remarks that discriminate based on age, race, religion, disability, etc..


If 81% of all illegals are Hispanic (as of 2011, roughly 800,000 nationwide) then wouldn't the percentage of them being arrested be higher than 60? Seems like if there's that many here then they would arrest that many or more anyway.

John Harville

I thought McCain and Rubio said there are 11 million ...?


Typo, I meant roughly 8,000,000 not 800,000. That would be 160,000 on average for each state. Sorry I forgot a zero.


Seeing as how local 7777 never furnished proof, McCain and Rubio could be right.


I forgot a zero, I meant roughly 8,000,000. I have no proof, just what I see/hear on the news like everyone else.


IL recently passed legislation to issue "undocumented Democrats," driver's licenses.

Maybe the Repubs should "up the ante" and throw in a free taxpayer funded vehicle for their future support at the polls after they become citizens?



What I find strange is that a Border Patrol officer can not just walk up to someone that looks Hispanic for documentation because it is profiling, but in Mexico they can come up to you and ask for visa/identification at anytime. I know, it happened to me.

The Big Dog's back

And your point is .........

BW1's picture

In case you didn't notice, there are a lot of differences between the US and Mexico, especially dealing with the powers of law enforcement versus the rights of the people.

BajaRat's picture

That's happened to me too, especially in Mexico and southern Thailand. It's happened in Singapore, Costa Rica, and Colombia.... but they're not quite as pesky as the Mexicans are. In Mexico some of those goons actually try to shake you down, too. I quit fishing in Mexico in 1994 because of that and the widespread crime.


Our Border Patrol officer's hands are tied behind their back and can't do their job properly. I am not defending the slang term used by our officers here, but towns near the border can not do their job if they suspect someone in illegal unless they see them committing a crime. If it's fair for Mexican officers to profile white Americans, is it unfair for American officers to do it in border towns?


By profiling, they mean they question people who are obviously Mexican and can't speak English? Imagine that?

BajaRat's picture

It's PC-itis gone wild.

By the way, it’s the job of the lousy feds to deport these invaders, is it not? Comrade O, Big Sis, John Morton, and the rest of their collection of socialist vermin have decided (outside of Congress) that this corrupt regime won't deport most criminal invaders until they've had as many chances as possible to victimize you and your families. See: http://qr.net/j8PF

2cents's picture

Profiling is everywhere; it just depends on the year, month, day hour, or event of the second! A nurse friend of mine told me about a prominent doctor she knew from the Cleveland Clinic that was strip searched at Hopkins airport and detained for a number of hours, he never filed a lawsuit but was a little ticked off. He happened to be Arabic!


I think this situation is just like what happen a few years ago at the Sandusky Post of the State Highway Patrol. Bottom line "heads' rolled" out there.

I think the same will happen here. Somebody and that is probably is in the plural is going to be the fall guy. Not what has happen is not wrong for it is wrong. You can't be a professional in a job if you do not act, speak, think, etc your job like a professional. Some of these people who have lawsuits against them are in the GS - 16 category in pay and we are talking about upwards of $90,000 + in pay and bendefits. I think we as taxpayers deserve professionism to include cleaning up ones language when they are being paid that kind of salary.

Geesh you get congressman into this and those legislators (Brown and Kaptur) into it and these are not low guys on the totem pole in senority and you got big problems. I can not imagine folks in that Border Patrol office are going to lose jobs or at the very least be transfered out of the area. If the later its pretty much a given they will be pretty much non promotable. What they are now in rank they will be till the day they retire.


Seeing as though MOST of the illegals in this country are of Hispanic decent.....One would imagine that most illegals questioned and arrested are going to be hispanic. 60%? Come on, its not like its 99%. This is just the media trying to stir the pot. Poor illegals, lets feel bad for them.

Don S

Profiling !!! What a stupid alligation. So what is the Border Patrol to look for ?? If they are looking for Mexicans, are they supposed to look at all black people insted ??? This is stupid,stupid, stupid !!!!!!


The liberal media groups and civil rights groups want 90 year old white women walking their dog in the park questioned. Its comical isn't it.

If your house is being overrun by mice, you wouldn't target bees would you?

BajaRat's picture

All of this “racial profiling” BS is just another red herring commonly used by the open-borders crowd as a means of distraction, and invaders don’t get deported for ‘minor offenses’ as the loathsome La Raza always whines about; they get deported for unlawful entry or overstaying a visa. Their additional crimes are prosecuted separately.

If someone is here illegally they are deportable for unlawful entry or overstaying a visa and shouldn't get a "get out of jail free card" as if breaking into the country is no big deal just because a bunch obnoxious and vile radical left wingers pi*s and moan about the so-called “human rights” of the criminal involved. I say build a wall and deport 'em all.