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We want Taft! Human rights and border security in 1910

7 November 2007

From Mexico Trucker:

WASHINGTON – Pablo Rosario, a former U.S. Border Patrol Agent stationed in El Paso, Texas, was sentenced today in federal court in El Paso to 24 months imprisonment for violating the civil rights of two illegal aliens. After release from prison, Rosario will be on federal supervised release for one year.

Rosario worked as a Border Patrol agent from 2000 to 2006. On July 26, 2007, Rosario pleaded guilty to two counts of violating the civil rights of two female undocumented aliens, a mother and her 15-year-old daughter. Specifically, Rosario admitted that he apprehended the two women on March 7, 2004, and fondled the victims’ breasts and genitals during the course of a search incident to their arrests. After the assaults, Rosario released the aliens without processing them.

Where’s William Howard Taft when we need him? In the course of writing God, Gachupines and Gringos (my editor is now madly trying to straighten out my baroque sentences, and we’re already looking at cover art), I’ve become somewhat fond of President Taft.

Taft looms large over Mexican history — hell, the poor man weighed about 340 pounds during his presidency and loomed large everywhere — having served in office at the start of the Mexican Revolution. Taft, the first president of the United States to visit Mexico (he had lunch — presumably a very large lunch — with Porfirio Diaz in Ciudad Juarez, then returned to El Paso for dinner) was quite the cabellero when he dealt with women. He once quipped that, riding to work on the streetcar, he would always stand up — giving his seat to three ladies!

In Taft’s day, the border issue was gun running to revolutionaries. Gun running is less noble today, but — given that our favorite narcotics aren’t going to get in without our guns, the Bush administration doesn’t seem much interested. Taft’s motives (protecting U.S. corporate interests in Mexico) weren’t all that different from what’s done now, but at least Taft’s version of “Homeland Security” gave some thought to practical matters — and to keeping jerks like Pablo Rosario out of the loop.

From Gods, Gachupines and Gringos:

Where Mexican women had always accompanied the army, and in the Revolution were to serve as soldiers and officers, the United States had always reserved uniformed service for men. In the thinking of the time, women were afforded special protection, and it was improper for a man to touch a woman. Women in those times did not seem to have legs—at least they were never mentioned in polite conversation. Women, both in the United States and in México, wore long skirts. The customs service was unable to stop the arms traffic by 1910, and they knew that Mexican, and Mexican-American women were crossing the border with rifles, pistols, and even hand grenades tied to their unmentionable legs. President Taft, with great reluctance, and some uncomfortable discussions with his advisors, authorized training and hiring the first female uniformed service personnel in the United States—female customs agents.

With our new “border security” up and running, it’s Homeland Security’s Border Patrol agents we run across today. I think I have only been stopped by ONE female agent (at the Comstock, Texas checkpoint outside Del Rio). Incidentally, I was pulled over by a Border Patrol agent about two weeks ago at two in the morning — smugglers and I both make our livings by driving around the border region in white Ford vans at weird hours of the night

The BP stop wasn’t what was odd. It was being pulled over by an Anglo agent. Since BP agents have to be able to speak Spanish — and U.S. language education is so piss-poor — most agents are Hispanics. Which makes me wonder what we’re going to do to fill all those new positions the rest of the country is demanding… hire illegals?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Dennis permalink
    7 November 2007 5:45 pm

    “Pablo Rosario”

    Must be his heritage.

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