WASHINGTON (MNS) — A senior Democratic senator said Tuesday that he was disturbed that Border Patrol agents are facing disciplinary action for publicly criticizing security along the U.S.-Canadian border and vowed to protect agents who speak out to reporters and politicians.
"It's hard enough to swim against the tide without being punished for it financially and professionally," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.
Levin made his comments at a committee hearing investigating how the Immigration and Naturalization Service treats detained illegal immigrants. The senator put the immigration agency on the hot seat for not knowing how many illegal immigrants fail to show up for hearings after being released into the country pending a hearing.
Michael Pearson, an INS executive associate commissioner, could not say how many illegal immigrants never return for their hearings.
"Why in heaven's name are we releasing people (on their own recognizance) after they have been arrested for trying to enter the county illegally?" Levin asked. "That is a totally absurd policy."