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.



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?



...perhaps a rusty 1995 minivan with seating for 15


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


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.