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.


(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!!!!!


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.


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


Give Rob Portman credit for not getting involved with the Sandtown Rag's most recent witch hunt.


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.