Legalization: An Alternative to the Costly, Failed U.S. War on Drugs
Interview with Terry Nelson, retired U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agent, conducted by Melinda Tuhus
In October 2009, the U.S. Border Patrol fired a probationary employee, Bryan Gonzalez, just before his two-year probationary period was up. He was terminated for the personal opinions he expressed several months earlier to a fellow officer. Gonzalez told his co-worker that the best way to reduce drug-related violence on the U.S.-Mexico border was by legalizing narcotics. He also stated that as a Mexican-American, he understood why many Mexicans felt they had no choice but to try to enter the U.S. without documents in search of jobs. On Jan. 20 of this year, the American Civil Liberties Union of New Mexico filed a lawsuit against the Border Patrol for firing Gonzalez on the basis of his personal beliefs expressed in a casual conversation, rather than his job performance.