Seven words Border Patrol Agents should never use

Matt Westerhold
Jan 23, 2013

Maybe it's George Carlinish, but Border Patrol agents should not use the word "wetback." 

Agents and every law enforcement officer of any stripe also should not use words like: Nigger, retard, faggot, kike, slut or bitch. 

That’s seven words they should never use. There are others.

Journalists, and most other people also would be wise not to use the words, but police officers, a taxpayer funded community service armed by the government, should excise them from their own personal vocabularies. 

Register reporter Jessica Cuffman is following up a story she reported Saturday headlined “Agency profiles ‘wetbacks.’” It detailed a lawsuit in Erie County Common Pleas Court that appears to document instances in which the Border Patrol Sandusky Post commander used the racial slurs "wets" and "wetbacks" in communications and emails with subordinates at the federal agency.

The local Border Patrol has been out of control for years and accountable to nobody for its actions. Federal officials have done nothing to address abuses that occur.

Since the Border Patrol is a federal agency, Cuffman emailed a copy of the story to U.S. senators Sherrod Brown and Robert Portman, and U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur, the area’s federal representatives. Here are the questions she posed for them:

1. Is it appropriate for Border Patrol agents, particularly the agent in charge of the local office, to use the term "wetback" when referring to a Hispanic person? 

2. If it is inappropriate, what would be a suitable course of action or discipline for agents who use this term? 

3. What action or study should be undertaken to identify the tactics and alleged profiling used by Sandusky Bay Border Patrol agents?  

4. If, as the lawsuit alleges, Border Patrol agents use racial profiling to identify possible suspects, would your office take action to address this issue? 

We're looking forward to receiving responses from our federal representatives. In the meantime, please feel free to share how you might answer the questions, or how you believe Kaptur and the senators should answer them, by commenting below. 



Oh , and it's MexiCANS not Mexicants . Because Mexicans can do the jobs that others refuse to do .


It seems that the public wants the text book example for every police officer, teacher and office holder in the country. That perfect text book person doesnt exsist. Unless Jesus comes back here in the next few minutes, I dont think you could find a human on the planet that could exersize the commitment it would take to not commit the sins and biaseness presented to each one of us each day. I personally am glad these border patrol agents are doing the job they do, ever meet one of them? Takes a special person. Just sayin'


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

Rod Farva

Please give some examples of how, as you say, the local Border Patrol has been out of control. Other than the recent slurs

Matt Westerhold

Thanks for the comment Rod Farva. This is the second of at least two lawsuits filed against the local Border Patrol for alleged wrongdoing in the last few years. A Register staff member witnessed an incident two years ago in which two Border Patrol agents singled out a Hispanic teenager who was walking with seven white teenagers. The agents detained the Hispanic teen but none of the other teens, who objected to the treatment of their friend by the agents. The agency at that time refused to comment on the detainment of the boy. 

The agency also has refused to provide any information on any of its other activities, arrests, detainees, prisons and prison systems, its reports or any other information. A community with a police force that can take people off the streets without being accountable to the community it serves is an agency out of control, or one that has no controls.

The local Border Patrol, in my opinion, operates in an anti-American way. 


Rod Farva

Thanks for the further elaboration. Personally I think they are a part of a bloated bureaucracy that needs to be cut back a little

Good 2 B Me

If I used one of those words in a comment, the Sand Paper would censor me.


I wonder if the cost of the Border Patrol is worth it? Is this County any safer for having them here? If we don't know what they do and how they operate how can we decide if they are worth it? I think they once detained an older Chinese woman, who didn't speak any English, and was caught shoplifting in Macy's. What ever became of her?


I apologize if any think I am making too light of the subject , But I have been on the receiving end of racial slurs from time to time in my life and have come to the conclusion that racism will never entirely fade from this Earth . Sometimes you just have to laugh at morons and hope they don't breed too many new ones . ; )


So have I Bluto. I laughed at them for the most part because to react in the way they expect you to only makes matters worse. Rise above their ignorance and hold your head up high.


See , White people DO get offended when the shoe is on the other foot .


If someone is a "Czech" is it ok to ask: "Rice or Wheat".....


If you read the story from Saturday or the link for the lawsuit filed in court, it never actually said the term referred in this or the other story was actually used, however a term was (from my understanding by reading other comments on that story) most commonly used for illegal immigrants in general. If that is true, then what was done wrong? Don't we all refer to certain things at ours jobs that others may not know about? It said he was questioned about it so if something was found to be wrong, the courts can deal with it. Posting this story in the first place seems ridiculous and the Register, as always, didn't check the facts, their own facts in previous stories and documents. Seems a little shady to me.

Matt Westerhold

Thanks local7777, but your suggestion the term is not referred to in the documents as having been used is incorrect. There also is no logical conclusion to what you suggest.

The news story referred to, and correctly stated what was in the court documents. It's better to rely on the documents for information than opinions expressed in the comments section. 


Read page 34 of the court document. It says the word w**s was used not the word we***ck. Whoever prepared the document didn't state an exact email that used the word but put it in the court document, the fist sentence of this story directly makes it sound as if that word was used, tell me where it was used? If it was used between co-workers then what's it matter? Was it said in public or to a person? Sounds like normal office work emails to me, short sweet and to the point. As I stated above, it appears the term was used within the office? I have never heard the word w**s referred as derogatory before these stories, have you? Google it.

Back off

I agree with you! The headline and article 2 different wordings!


C'mon guys!!!! The term "wets" or "wetbacks" is a racial slur against Mexicans. Period!

BW1's picture

Maybe in some people's imaginations. The strict meaning of the term refers to the antecedent's actions in entering the country illegally, and if that is the meaning intended (something for which no contrary evidence has been offered) then it does not indicate racial animus as the suit asserts.

Back off

All you people pin pointing out local border patrol obviously Dnt have skeletons in your closets and have never used a racial slur.... It's ok for you yourself to call each other names as a joke but because they are federal they aren't human and cant make. Mistake! People need to back off yes bammer made a mistake but now it's being taken too far and our community is saying they are out of control .. Let them do there jobs and back off! Instead of sit here and bash them get the whole story .. That's right the Sandusky register never does that!


I agree, I looked at what the story provided with the court documents and it seems like they are attacking the border patrol. They are spinning words into things to make them look bad. I was on rt 2 and my vehicle broke down, the only law enforcement vehicle to stop to see if I needed help was a border patrol official. When he came up to me, he asked me if I was a us citizen, I laughed and said yes but he said he had to ask everyone. He sat for about 10 minutes until my tow truck showed up and then left. I would like to think he saved me from getting hit and offered to make a call for me. I read earlier that they are making local area law enforcement look bad but I would disagree, hs was the only one I saw and stopped like any of them would. No one is perfect but he was that day, whoever it was.

Back off

They are human when they aren't working! Badge or no badge! People don't realize what they do sometimes ... Half these lawsuits get dropped that you see in the paper that's why there is no follow up! I support them 100% and I think instead of the register keeping this going they need to let it be! Everytime someone says something inappropriate or a public official does it doesn't need to be reported. Back off paparazzi !


I agree.


Is this love that I'm feelin' .... Sounds like somebody needs to get a room ; ))))


Any police agency that is not held accountable, that frequently detains people in secret, does not respond in any reasonable fashion to public inquires seems a bit fascist.
Sounds like Amerika has it's own secret police.....but which agency is the secret police that detains people all the time in secret? FBI, CIA, Border Patrol, Secret Service??? How about ALL OF THEM!

Who among you feel as if secret police behaviors are fascist? Does anybody really care? Hmmmmm....don't think so.

But sure as all heil a lot of people care about the Stupor Bowl, American Idol, and NASCAR. Meanwhile your tax dollars are used for repugnant things by our agencies sworn to protect us.

Just what are they protecting us from????

I'm so scared....OMG!!!! We have so much to fear! Shut down the borders, lock up all Muslims, make them Hispanics remain invisible, but only if they will still harvest our crops dirt cheap.

All this talk about freedom...just pass the beer and the platter of wings, move right along sheeple.

BW1's picture

And that's the point - this lawsuit alleges plenty of actual conduct by the Border Patrol that is constitutionally problematic, and invites important questions about abuse of power, all of which are being ignored as everyone gets the vapors over a word.

Words can't really harm people, but federal overcriminalization and the militarization of domestic law enforcement kill people every week.

Look over here - I'm spelling nasty words with my right hand so you won't notice me stabbing you in the back with my left - and everyone, even the newspaper editor who's supposed to be the watchdog, falls for the misdirection.


i cant help but notice a derogatory term for white people wasn't part of the list... so is mat saying that "Cracker," "honkey," "and whitie" are acceptable terms to use in publications?

i've never been a fan of political correctness. why have to bend around every word to ensure you're not hurting anyones feelings? the more we try to enforce being PC the stricter the rules get, and the harsher the penalties for breaking them...

really the stigma we put behind "bad words" perpetuates the problems. they're only bad because people make them that way. i know that when you drop the N-bomb on someone it's like you just smacked that guys mother, but call a white person a "Cracker" and most of use look at you and think "does this person really think they are hurting my feelings right now." people need to grow a thick skin. if you have a problem with people calling you names and using aggressive language... you're going to have a bad time... sack up and realize that words are just words, and even if people use them aggressively, they are still just words.

if we keep using words as a way to describe the differences between people and races, then we'll always have differences between people and races. if we treated all words equally, then we'll be a bit closer to treating all people equally.

hell, even last week i hit my arm on a door knob and i felt the impact all they way down to the bone and i said, "good god that one was a boner!" and people looked at me all confused... and for some reason started staring at the crotch of my pants... strange.


Haha , You said boner ; )))) Sorry , that's all I really got out of that comment .

Back off

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


Ha , You said boner to !!! Why , so serious ? 8P


In the words of Vicarioulsy Alive , You need to "sack up" and grow some thicker skin . You're crying just as bad as anyone on here .