From: A Retired Border Patrol Agent [Email him]
I was still in McAllen when a Mexican-American BP airport agent caught Farida Goolam Mahomed Ahmed at the McAllen Airport in 2004.
Working the airport was very different than working out in the field and required two different sets of skills. In one, you are out on your own sign cutting (the BP term for following footprints or tracking) with few if anyone around to see you. In the other, you are in the public eye trying to guess which person coming at you is an illegal alien either for having swum the river or overstayed a visa. A lot of agents hated working the airport and didn't do it well. Others loved it. I can recall one agent who was terrible and lazy out in the field who seemed to come alive at the airport enjoying talking to so many people.
The messed up thing was that same month that this agent caught the suspected terrorist, the agent who got employee of the month busted a thousand pound load of marijuana. Busting thousand pound loads of marijuana was not uncommon, but it also showed where the BP's priorities lay. It was regarded as cool to catch drugs. That's what our immediate higher ups loved to hear. The fact that one of the agents made an arrest of a suspected terrorist that made national headlines was nice, but they were more interested in boosting the amount of drugs being seized.
One of my BP academy classmates got the assignment to drive Ahmed to the FBI office. He told me she cried almost the entire way. I was later told that it was determined that she was not the suspected terrorist we had initially thought she was. The problem with everyone in the Middle East having some version of Mohammed or Ahmed in their name meant that she had the same name as the wife of a terrorist but was supposedly determined not to be her. The fact that she had pages ripped out of her passport was unusual but not that rare. Sometimes, the smugglers would rip them out to make it harder to track how she got to the border with the U.S.
This speaks to a larger issue about how the Border Patrol does not publicize its successes. It's one of the many problems with Border Patrol management I saw. Back around April of 2019 when Trump was having a massive problem of his own with waves of illegal aliens surrendering at the border, a father came through with his pregnant thirteen year old daughter. The agents separated them and interviewed them. It turned out the father was the father of his own daughter’s unborn child, a sort of Chinatown story. (Ann Coulter has covered this aspect of Mexican immigration repeatedly.) I thought the Border Patrol should have publicized that this is what we have coming up from the southern border, but the Border Patrol sort of swept that under the rug. I wonder what the motivation on the part of Border Patrol management was. Was it to protect the child, soon to be a mother, or, were they just not interested?
My feeling was that anything that made the illegals look bad helped the Border Patrol to publicize the madness that had been unleashed. One of my friends on detail to Texas said they found a three year old wandering by himself on the U.S. side of the border. The smuggler or the parents had just left the kid there. Sometimes they crossed children with groups but at least put a telephone number or address in the United States where the kid was to be sent, but in this case, there was absolutely nothing. Did the Border Patrol publicize that? No.
There's some speculation that one of the reasons might be that Border Patrol management is so embarrassed by what a poor job it does of controlling the Southern Border that it doesn't want the majority of Americans to know. Of course, by hiding how bad it is, it only makes it harder to get resources to control the border.