- The Washington Times - Thursday, November 30, 2017

An illegal immigrant tried to wrestle a Border Patrol agent’s gun away then was shot and killed by the agent’s partner, officials said Thursday, in the latest of a growing series of assaults on agents.

Two agents were tracking a group of illegal immigrants in southern Arizona and when they moved in to make the arrest, one of the illegals attacked and grabbed an agent’s gun. The other agent shot the immigrant, who later died of the wound, said Tucson Sector Chief Patrol Agent Rodolfo Karisch.

Three other men, all Guatemalans, were arrested for immigration violations, Agent Karisch said.

“The incident highlights the threat and dangers our agents face daily in protecting our borders and communities,” he said.

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, the union for line agents, said the number of assaults is up dramatically compared to a year ago, and he said it’s a signal that the agents are succeeding in putting pressure on the smugglers.

“When we’re doing a good job, there’s a lot more pressure on the smugglers to get their product through and they become a lot more aggressive,” Mr. Judd said, crediting the Trump administration for setting a new tone that’s helped convince migrants they may be caught and deported.

But Mr. Judd said the Justice Department isn’t doing enough to prosecute those who assault Border Patrol agents, saying illegal immigration has become so politically charged that U.S. attorneys are “scared to touch it.”

“Here’s the simple fact — until appropriate changes are made within agencies, they continue not to prosecute assaults on Border Patrol agents. And that’s because we have the same U.S. attorneys in place that we had under the Obama administration,” he said.

Indeed, in a second assault out of the Tucson Sector this month, it is local prosecutors, not federal ones, who are bringing charges against an illegal immigrant who resisted arrest, said Customs and Border Protection.

A supervisory agent was trying to arrest three illegal immigrants on Thanksgiving when one of them became “combative.” The agent had to use pepper spray, the border patrol said.

Both the agent and the 17-year-old immigrant had to be taken to the hospital.

The 17-year-old is being prosecuted for assault in Pima County, CBP said in a statement. All three of the immigrants were from Mexico, and were charged with federal immigration violations.

Meanwhile one agent died in Texas last week in an incident still under investigation. Fellow agents said Rogelio Martinez was killed in an ambush, but local authorities have suggested it may have been a fall.

“While we do not know for certain the circumstances of his death, we do know that he courageously chose a dangerous job with DHS because it was so important to our nation’s security,” acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke told Congress on Thursday.

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