Signs cheer, jeer opening of new Port Angeles Border Patrol station

By Paul Gottlieb
Peninsula Daily News

PORT ANGELES — About a dozen protesters outside the tightly controlled ribbon-cutting ceremonies for a new Border Patrol station were countered by Border Patrol supporters two blocks away who generated appreciative honks from passing vehicles.

Protesters at the invitation-only grand opening ceremony Friday stood outside the iron-fenced facility on South Penn Street — directly across from a Port Angeles police sport utility vehicle — holding up signs, including one that said “Border Patrol Protects And Serves Empire.”

“They don't guard the border; they harass people who already live here,” said protest organizer Lois Danks of Stop the Checkpoints.

A two-page, single-space statement the group provided decried the Border Patrol's “inherent racial profiling and harassment of people of color by excessive number of agents with no constructive work to do” and “the horrendous misuse of tax dollars” spent on building the $9.8 million facility.

Danks said protesters included a Port Townsend resident.

By 11:30 a.m., an hour and a half after the station's grand opening began, only Danks and another protester remained.

But at that time, a dozen supporters of the Border Patrol were still going strong about two blocks away at the busy area where Golf Course Road converges with U.S. Highway 101.

Signs such as “Illegal Aliens Are Illegal” and “Thank You God Bless Border Patrol” were answered by a steady stream of drivers honking their horns.

Protestors, supporters

One participant, who declined to spell his name, said the highest number of people at the rally at any one time was 37.

Sequim resident Doug McClary's sign said, “Let Them Do Their Job Thank You Border Patrol!”

“We're concerned about what's happening in our country,” McClary said.

“It's become socialist. It's pretty obvious.

“We're frustrated with what's going on,” he said.

Border Patrol critics have compared Border Patrol agents to Nazi Germany's secret police, he said.

“To compare them to the Gestapo is ridiculous,” McClary said.

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Senior Staff Writer Paul Gottlieb can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5060, or at paul.gottlieb@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 15. 2012 6:29PM
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