SEATTLE — U.S. Border Patrol agents will no longer serve as interpreters
when local law enforcement agencies ask for language help.
The new decree issued by Homeland Security says agents should refer any such
request to a private service if it’s solely for interpretation.
Immigration advocates in Washington state say Border Patrol agents who often
interpret during traffic stops or other minor local law calls eventually end up
asking immigration questions and in some cases arresting immigrants suspected of
being in the country illegally.
The use of interpretation is one of several contentious practices immigrant
advocates have fought against in Washington since the Border Patrol agency
expanded the number of agents in the state.
Border Patrol has said it’s enforcing immigration laws and doing its job of
securing the border.