Former agent suing U.S. Border Patrol for wrongful termination
A former U.S. Border Patrol Agent of the El Paso Sector is suing the USBP for termination from the agency over his personal and political beliefs.
Bryan Gonzalez, 26, is represented by New Mexico’s ACLU chapter in a suit filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas. The USBP El Paso Sector covers West Texas and New Mexico.
Gonzalez alleges his October 2009 termination, shortly before expiration of his two-year probationary period, was for exercising First Amendment free speech rights while speaking to a fellow agent regarding drug legalization and immigration.
The ACLU-NM references an April 2009 incident in which Gonzalez was patrolling near Deming.
“Gonzalez pulled his vehicle up next to a fellow CBP (Customs and Border Protection) agent who was in the same vicinity,” the press release reports. “In the course of a casual discussion concerning the drug-related violence in Mexico, Gonzales remarked that he believed that legalization of drugs would be the most effective way to end the violence. He also related to the other agent that, as a former dual U.S.-Mexican citizen, he understood the economic factors that drive migrants to cross the border without documentation to seek work.”
Gonzalez was a dual citizen until age 18; his mother is a Mexican citizen.
“Word of Gonzalez’s opinions on these matters quickly spread to his supervisor, who informed the Joint Intake Command in Washington, D.C.,” the release continues. “Internal Affairs launched an investigation soon after, and the Border Patrol terminated Gonzalez in October 2009.”