Mexican Government Pitched In To Help The CBP Spy On Journalists, Activists, And Lawyers
from the odd-coupling dept
The CBP has an unlikely partner in its surveillance of journalists, activists, and lawyers: the Mexican government. It’s not going to pay for The Wall™, but it’s apparently willing to help out in other ways.
A government review of how journalists, attorneys, immigration advocates, and activists were monitored and tracked by U.S. border agencies confirms the Mexican government had a major role in the controversial tracking program.
In a letter dated May 9, 2019, Randy Howe, Executive Director of Field Operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) notes that “…CBP partnered with the Government of Mexico [to] address developing threats…” posed by the Central American Migrant caravan.
“A number of journalists and photographers were identified by Mexican Federal Police as possibly assisting migrants in crossing the border illegally and/or as having some level of participation in the violent incursion events,” CBP’s letter states.
Mexican government officials originally stated the government was not involved in this controversial surveillance. These assertions have been undercut by a statement written in response to a letter from a coalition of press outfits and rights groups demanding to know why the CBP and DHS were adding First Amendment violations to their long list of Fourth and Fifth Amendment violations.
Here’s the Mexican government’s original statement, which has suddenly aged very badly.
“The government of Mexico disapproves of all acts of illegal espionage against any person, domestic or foreign. The Mexican government does not conduct illegal surveillance on anyone, for any type or category of activity,” a statement read.
I guess it all depends on how you define “illegal.” Or “surveillance.” Maybe the federal police limited themselves to adding people to the CBP’s watchlist. Perhaps this sort of surveillance isn’t illegal in Mexico. But it’s definitely on the illegal side here in the United States. If it’s not a legal issue on the other side of the border, then the CBP and DHS are basically using a foreign government to engage in surveillance they’re not allowed to perform on this side of the fence.
It doesn’t appear the CBP and DHS are all that concerned about the possible Constitutional violations they’re engaged in themselves. The letter the CVP sent says the agency was only trying to round up people trying to assist migrants in crossing the border illegally, which somehow included journalists covering the border caravans and immigration lawyers trying to help people through the asylum process.
The CBP does admit it will periodically violate Constitutional rights, but it claims these violations are only minor speed bumps on the road of American life.
Occasionally, CBP may inconvenience law-abiding persons in our effort to detect, deter, and mitigate threats to our homeland.
Well, I’m glad that’s all cleared up. The CBP does not engage in illegal surveillance (except when it does) and does not target protected First Amendment activities (except those occurring near the border) and only in the interest of national security does it ignore rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States. And it’s doing all this with a foreign government’s help — a government that denied it had anything to do with this surveillance when first asked about its involvement.