By Steve Neavling
A Border Patrol union’s decision to endorse Donald Trump for president has polarized the rank-and-file and attracted unwanted attention.
“Mr. Trump is correct when he says immigration wouldn’t be at the forefront of this presidential campaign if months ago he hadn’t made some bold and necessary statements. And when the withering media storm ensued he did not back down one iota,” read the endorsement letter from the union, which represents 16,500 agents.
This was the first time the union has endorsed a presidential candidate.
But many agents weren’t happy because many don’t like Trump, the Los Angeles Times reports.
For one, about half of the agents on the Southwest border are Hispanic.
“The Border Patrol has changed tremendously in the last 10 to 20 years. It has more than doubled in size and has brought in a lot of new recruits from all over country. That has increased the diversity of the agency,” said David Shirk, an associate professor of political science at the University of San Diego.
“While all of them are committed to the agency’s mission and believe strongly in work that they’re doing, they don’t reflect some of the more traditional stereotypes of the Border Patrol as a bunch of white guys chasing Mexicans.”
Don McDermott, a former supervisor of an anti-smuggling unit in San Diego, said the endorsement, which was made by a group of 11 union leaders, makes the agency look bad.
“It is probable that the endorsement of Mr. Trump would expose both the union and the individual members to accusations of xenophobia and even racism,” McDermott said. “The reputation of the agency and of every agent is called into question.”