The unprecedented crisis on the US southern border appears to be taking a toll on Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officers – approximately three agents took their own lives during the month of November. This brings the total number of suicides in 2022 at the agency to 14. More than any year in over a decade.
“This is a very serious epidemic going on within the agency,” said Congressman Tony Gonzalez. Although there is no single cause of suicides, Gonzalez points out that the ongoing migrant crisis – with more than 2 million people crossing the border in the last year, hundreds of migrant deaths, children arriving alone at the Great Crossing, long working hours and dealing with high stress situations – causes him .
“The job has become very difficult,” explained Gonzalez, who is in contact with Border Patrol agents daily. “I’ve seen it in their faces. I’ve heard it in their voices for months. It’s almost, ‘How much can a person take?’ And often, they carried a long time before they broke.”
Border Patrol Agent Robert M. Boatwright, who was stationed in Las Cruces, New Mexico, was identified Monday as the latest agent to kill himself. The other two deaths happened on adjacent weekends. Rocky Sarina and Javier R. Fabla, took their lives on November 6 and 13 respectively.
The National Border Patrol Council, the union representing 18,000 Border Patrol agents, confirmed there were 14 suicides in 2022 by its count. They include eight Border Patrol agents, five Office of Field Operations officers and one support team agent. In recent years, the number of suicides has been between 5 and 12 suicides.
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