Last week’s endorsement of Donald Trump for President by the National Border Patrol Council, the AFGE association representing 17,000 border patrol agents, has set off a firestorm.
We would like to have your opinion about the endorsement. Below, we’ve included three articles. The first is a general news story about the endorsement from CNN. The second (audio only, but worth listening to) is an interview that the president of the association, Brandon Judd, gave to NPR. The third is an extremely critical editorial from today’s New York Times about the endorsement and some of the association’s podcasts.
Washington (CNN) A U.S. Border Patrol agents’ union is endorsing Donald Trump for president, offering the Republican front-runner support on his signature issue of immigration while praising him as a break from the current political system.
The National Border Patrol Council, which says it represents 16,500 agents, made its first-ever endorsement in a presidential election, touting Trump in a letter as a break from “the perfect Washington-approved tone.”
“We need a person in the White House who doesn’t fear the media, who doesn’t embrace political correctness, who doesn’t need the money, who is familiar with success, who won’t bow to foreign dictators, who is pro-military and values law enforcement, and who is angry for America and NOT subservient to the interests of other nations. Donald Trump is such a man,” the union said.
Trump had scheduled a tour of the border with agents from a local chapter of the union, but that tour was canceled due to pressure from the group’s national headquarters. Yet the endorsement, which Trump’s campaign touted Wednesday, came from the national union.
The Border Patrol union said Trump’s list of opponents includes “all the people responsible for the problems plaguing America today,” while Trump has backing from workers and law enforcement officers.
“Mr. Trump will take on special interests and embrace the ideas of rank-and-file Border Patrol agents rather than listening to the management yes-men who say whatever they are programmed to say. This is a refreshing change that we have not seen before — and may never see again,” the union said.
In a statement, Trump called himself “deeply privileged” to get the union’s endorsement.
“This endorsement represents a total rejection of the corrupt politicians who have allowed transnational gangs and cartels to terrorize American communities,” he said.
NPR Interview with Brandon Judd, president of the Border Patrol Agents union
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, talks to Mary Louise Kelly about his group’s endorsement of GOP front-runner Donald Trump.
Via the New York Times:
The Border Patrol’s Bizarre Choice
Turn away, for a moment, from the generalized idiocy of the presidential campaign to consider a specific instance of monumental dimness. It happened Wednesday.
The National Border Patrol Council, which says it represents 16,500 border agents, endorsed Donald Trump. It says it has never endorsed a presidential candidate in a primary before, but these are dire times.
“There is no greater physical or economic threat to Americans today than our open border,” says the endorsement, signed by the council’s president, Brandon Judd. The union “asks the American people to support Mr. Trump in his mission to finally secure the border of the United States of America, before it is too late.”
Too late for what? The collapse of America, apparently, from the “gangs, cartels and violent criminals preying on the innocent.”
It’s tempting to dismiss this as the usual politicized cop-talk, par for today’s course. But it’s far more dangerous and fraudulent than that. The lies behind it have preoccupied the country for a generation, consuming billions of dollars for miles of walls, razor wire, drones, sensors and a surge of agents and troops.
Despite the union’s apocalyptic warnings, the border is more militarized than ever, and arrests there are at historic lows. Illegal immigration has been falling for years. More Mexicans are leaving the country than entering. President Obama, far from abandoning immigration enforcement, has deported more people—more than two million—more quickly than his predecessors. A recent migrant influx in Texas consists of terrorized mothers and children fleeing Central America, trying legally to seek asylum. They deserve protection and the due process of law, not the administration’s aggressive efforts to deter and deport them.
The vast proportion of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants who are already living here are not criminals, don’t think or behave like criminals, and deserve a chance to stay, as immigrants have always done.
This is the truth, but truth hardly matters to politicians who prey on fear and hate. Those were the emotions Mr. Trump was summoning when he built his campaign on a cry about rapists and drug smugglers from Mexico and a promise to build a wall, deport the 11 million in two years and keep out Muslims.
Mr. Trump’s immigration views are driven by defiant ignorance. That they should be embraced by a union whose taxpayer-paid members are the face of the immigration policies of the United States is appalling.
If union leaders had their members’ interests in mind, they would not be aligning with vigilantes and nativists, birthers and borderline lunatics. They would know better than to view all unauthorized migrants as a class of hardened criminals, and they would treat as a delusion Mr. Trump’s plan to deport 11 million people in two years and to let “the good ones” back in.
But instead of informed discussion, there are Trump-level tirades. Listen to the national council’s podcast, “The Green Line,” and you can hear the hosts denounce the Black Lives Matter movement and assail Mr. Obama for supposedly not saluting the Marines who guard his helicopter. Their podcast begins with a ludicrous bit of audio from “Game of Thrones,” a character reciting a watchman’s oath: “I am the shield that guards the realm of men.”
That is the fantasy claptrap that feeds the thinking that dehumanizes migrants, that tolerates reckless violence by border agents, like the shooting of an unarmed child, in the back, through the fence, into Nogales, Mexico—one disturbing episode among many. It reveals an attitude that condones abuse and cruelty toward those in custody and justifies the profiling and harassment of drivers on the highway. And that perspective, not surprisingly, finds common cause with Mr. Trump.