Forest Service rapped for using Border Patrol

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SEATTLE (AP) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the U.S. Forest Service's use of Border Patrol agents as language interpreters and for law enforcement in stops involving Latinos on Washington's Olympic Peninsula is discriminatory.

The Seattle Times reports ( http://tinyurl.com/7qe78ks ) that the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights within the USDA, which oversees the Forest Service, has ordered the agency to establish a new national policy so non-English speakers can use national forests and parks without "an escalated risk of harm."

The USDA's decision is the result of an investigation into a complaint filed by a Hispanic woman in Forks.

Jorge Baron, executive director of Northwest Immigrant Rights Project, said the decision vindicates complaints about discriminatory practices of the Forest Service on the Olympic Peninsula.