Editorial: Border Patrol union’s misguided act
The National Border Patrol Council, the union that represents more than 16,000 Border Patrol agents, sent a toxic message by endorsing Donald Trump for president.
When an individual or group endorses Trump, they are endorsing and embracing the whole package – including the racist, misogynist, vulgar and xenophobic language that has characterized his campaign.
“Backing someone who refers to Mexicans as ‘rapists’ and ‘killers,’ who has blamed violent crime in American cities on ‘blacks and Hispanics,’ who wants to spend tens of billions of dollars on additional border walls at a time of record-low apprehensions does not reflect the values of the outstanding Border Patrol agents that I know here in El Paso,” said Rep. Beto O’Rourke, D-El Paso.
We agree with O’Rourke that the vast majority of Border Patrol agents don’t share Trump’s sentiments about border crossers from Mexico. These are dedicated, hard-working agents who are trained to respect the people they contact while doing a difficult job.
The union endorsement of Trump makes the agents’ jobs more difficult and potentially more dangerous. The endorsement sends a message to border crossers – with or without proper documentation – that Border Patrol agents view them as an enemy.
Aligning itself with Trump and his beliefs is an ugly step.
By endorsing Trump, the National Border Patrol Council cuddles the lie that the reality TV star used to kick off his campaign last June: “When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best. ... They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.”
The National Border Patrol Council has played footsie with Trump almost from the moment he announced his candidacy.
Undoubtedly, the union believes it is serving its self-interest in backing the candidate who more than any other has distorted the national view of the border. Union leaders likely envision thousands of new members in a Trump administration.
A senior policy adviser to Trump has promised the union an outsized voice in shaping border policy in a Trump administration.
“I am here today to say that we are going to work closely, directly, and intimately with the NBPC to develop a border policy for this nation,” Trump adviser Stephen Miller said March 23 on Sirius XM radio. “We are going to make sure they have the resources they need to get this job done. They are going to be sitting with us to craft a policy that works for America and for them.”
You won’t hear Trump promising any other union a major voice in policy development.
Polls currently show Trump losing in a landslide to either Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders if he wins the Republican nomination. So it’s extremely unlikely that there ever will be a Trump administration for the National Border Patrol Council to influence.
But the damage done to its own members by this ill-considered endorsement will linger for years.
This editorial was written by the El Paso Times.