The Border Patrol's build up on the Olympic Peninsula is complete. Or at least the agency's deluxe new station is.
As we've reported over the last year, the Border Patrol has dramatically increased its operations on the peninsula, using questionable methods that became the subject of a class action lawsuit and a civil rights complaint, the latter of which was vindicated by a federal ruling yesterday.
According to the Daily News, the new station is a "a sprawling, 19,000-square-foot remodeled building surrounded by a security fence and featuring a kennel, three dog runs, a 40-foot radio tower and a fitness center."
The paper also took a look at a list of furnishings the Border Patrol has requested:
The miscellaneous furnishings on the list include a self-cleaning oven, a coffee maker, two refrigerators, two DVD/Blu-ray players, 19 picture frames, an 8-foot-by-20-foot wall of mirrors and a mobile television stand for a TV screen of up to 64 inches.
Blu-ray players and a huge TV screen?
Apparently, the agents need something to relieve the boredom that whistleblower Christian Sanchez has spoken up about. Seems there's only so much racing around the peninsula--nicknamed the "Baja 500," according to Sanchez--that agents can do. And even the traffic stops and "interpretation" agents engage in, netting longtime Hispanic residents in the process, may not keep them busy enough. (See the lament by an agent caught on a dash-cam video.)
The Border Patrol's top brass, nonetheless, still maintains that the expanded presence on the peninsula is worthwhile. The New York Times, writing about the issue on Monday, got this response to its questions:
What they're focused on up there are the same things that we're focused on around the country," said Ronald D. Vitiello, the deputy chief of the Border Patrol. "That's, you know, the threat of terrorism, the criminal organizations that use the border for their own gain and being prepared to combat those threats, eliminate the vulnerabilities that we know about and mitigate the risk where we can.
The agency's insistence on making the peninsula a major outpost costs money, naturally. The station's construction, originally projected to cost $8 million, came in at nearly $10 million, not including an extra $2 million paid for the property.