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Border & Immigration

Trump Endorsement Generates Dissent In Border Patrol Ranks

A Border Patrol vehicle drives along the border fence in Fort Hancock, Texas, on September 3, 2015.
Joe Widmer / KRWG
A Border Patrol vehicle drives along the border fence in Fort Hancock, Texas, on September 3, 2015.

A group of Border Patrol agents in Southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas are pushing a motion to publicly distance themselves and their local union from an endorsement of Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. That endorsement was given last month by the National Border Patrol Council. It was the first time the union had taken such a step during primary season.

A motion to disavow the endorsement is expected to be discussed at a meeting of the union’s Local 1929 on Tuesday evening. A member of the chapter, who did not want to be identified, said the national union’s endorsement doesn’t reflect border agents’ values, and will complicate community relations.

"Endorsing a presidential candidate who has hateful and divisive rhetoric is not the answer. We need to build bridges, not walls with community leaders across the board,” he said, referring to Trump’s proposal to build a wall between the U.S. and Mexico.


Last month, Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske said building a wall would be “very, very difficult” and “incredibly expensive.”

The dissenting agents have received letters of support from 21 Democratic politicians in the region, including New Mexico State Rep. Bill McCamley.

“The rhetoric that Trump gives to people is really harmful for our area,” McCamley said.

El Paso sector union spokesman Stuart Harris declined to be interviewed, but in a written statement, he said national union leaders reached out to get local opinions before making the endorsement.

“No one took this responsibility lightly,” Harris wrote. “We recognize not everyone agrees with this decision. They have a right to their opinion.”


National Border Patrol Council Vice President Shawn Moran downplayed the extent of opposition to the Trump endorsement within Border Patrol ranks, but said it is a concern. He said the endorsement was based solely on the issue of border security.

“If there are agents out there that are not for border security, then I think they need to take a look at that. Trump is the only candidate that is actually talking about enforcement on the border.”