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Border Patrol agent charged with lying about U.S. citizenship to secure job

March 14, 2018  |  Posted by: Francesca Falzarano
Border Patrol agent charged with lying about U.S. citizenship to secure job

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A Mexican immigrant allegedly claimed to be a U.S. citizen to secure a job as a Border Patrol agent.

The man was employed for six years before the truth came to light.

Federal prosecutors charged 37-year-old Marco Antonio De la Garza Jr. for falsely telling U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials that he was born in Texas and was a U.S. citizen when he applied to become a Border Patrol agent.

The Mexican citizen also reportedly lied on an application to obtain a U.S. passport, The Star reports.

The discovery was made after a background check update carried out by the CBP in October. The update was required for his job. It is not apparent how the discrepancy was missed during his first background check when he was hired.

CBP officials revealed that they arrested De la Garza in February.

Prosecutors indicated that De la Garza said that he was born in Brownsville, Texas, when it was found that he was actually born across the river in Matamoros, Mexico. Authorities also obtained school records where his parents used Mexican birth records to enroll him.

A midwife also stated that De la Garza was born in Brownsville. However, she has a conviction for conspiracy to provide false statements on a birth certificate stemming back to 1984.

CBP officials verified that they hired the man back in 2012 but did not comment any further on the case, which seems to reflect on the agency’s screening process.

Almost one year ago, Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson discussed how the CBP could employ 15,000 new agents and adequately screen them. James Tomscheck, who serves as the head of CBP internal affairs for eight years, was a guest on the show. During that time, Tomscheck faced the difficulty of hiring and adequately screening 10,000 prospective applicants between 2006 and 2008.

Attkisson asked the former director of internal affairs about drug dealers and cartel members being hired inadvertently during the increase.

“We believe that to be the case,” Tomscheck responded. “We do know that in the thousands of polygraph exams administered after the background investigation, more than half of those that cleared that background investigation failed the polygraph and provided detailed admissions as to why they failed. Included in that group of more than 1,000 were persons who admitted that they were infiltrators, working for a drug organization, either on the U.S. side or the Mexican side of the border, who had been directed to infiltrate CBP and compromise what they do.”

“What we found in those first 100+ exams was shocking,” Tomscheck added. “We found persons failing the polygraph at a higher rate than other agencies, but not dramatically. What was different was the nature of the admissions obtained from those who had failed. They had included many who were actively involved in smuggling, persons who frequently used drugs were currently using controlled substances and included persons involved in serious felony crimes.”

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