(CNSNews.com) - Sheriff Larry Dever of Cochise County, Ariz., one of four Arizona counties contiguous with the U.S-Mexico border, said Friday that the U.S. Border Patrol has pulled back from parts of the border in his and neighboring counties because manning those areas has become too dangerous.
“And you frankly have Border Patrolmen--and I know this from talking to Border Patrol agents—who will not allow their agents to work on the border because it is too dangerous,” Dever told CNSNews.com in a videotaped interview. “Now what kind of message is that for crying out loud?”
Dever, a native of Cochise County, has been in local law enforcement in the county for three decades. He was elected the county sheriff in 1996.
Dever stressed that the Border Patrolmen are ready and willing to perform their mission of securing the border, but that Border Patrol managers had determined that in “some places” the danger was too great and they wanted to avoid the risk of an international incident such as a cross-border firefight.
“Now, I am telling you, the agents, you give them a mission, you tell them what you want them to do, they will go do it,” said Dever. “I mean, these guys for the most part are warriors, they are soldiers.
“Then you have middle management and upper management that says: No, it’s too dangerous right there and we’re going to cause an international incident if there’s shooting across the line, back and forth,” said Dever.
“Well, I say: Come, bring it on. Let’s cause the international incident,” he said.
Dever said there were places where the Border Patrol had pulled back from the border in his county and in neighboring areas both in Arizona and New Mexico.
He pointed out that in Pinal County, 70 miles north of the border, the Bureau of Land Management has put up a sign along a drug smuggling corridor to warn American citizens away from the region because it is too dangerous.
CNSNews.com provided Customs and Border Protection with a transcript of Sheriff Dever's statement about the Border Patrol pulling back from parts of the border in his area because it is too dangerous.
"There are areas down there in the Tucson Sector where for officer safety reasons, officers aren’t up on the line. For whatever reason--it may be a remote area," said a CBP spokesperson. "We still have the means to detect entry, whether it is a sensor or a scoped vehicle. So the entry is detected, but the apprehension of the undocumented migrant isn’t affected until they reach a safe area.”