Border Patrol agents are not a monolith, of course, and there are individual union members on both sides of the policy debate. In the mid-aughts, when I blogged about immigration for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group, I interviewed Border Patrol agents who literally rolled their eyes at the mention of a border wall and others who favored one.
Still, that most charitable explanation is more difficult to accept in light of something that Nick van der Kolk of the Love + Radio podcast noticed in the course of researching a story—that as recently as January 4, the website for the Border Patrol union stated, “The NBPC disagrees with wasting taxpayer money on building fences and walls along the border as a means of curtailing illegal entries into the United States.”
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Below is the whole section on “border fences and walls,” as preserved on the Internet Archive before it was scrubbed sometime after the union president, Brandon Judd, visited the White House. The union is known as the NBPC, or the National Border Patrol Council. NBPS stands for National Border Patrol Strategy; the union argues that the overarching strategy needs to change. The archived website says:
The NBPC disagrees with wasting taxpayer money on building fences and walls along the border as a means of curtailing illegal entries into the United States. However, as long as we continue to operate under the current NBPS and ignore the problem that is causing illegal immigration, we realize fences and walls are essential.
Walls and fences are temporary solutions that focus on the symptom (illegal immigration) rather than the problem (employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens).
Walls and fences are only a speed bump. People who want to come to the United States to obtain employment will continue to go over, under, and around the walls and fences that are constructed.
Walls and fences will undoubtedly result in an increase in fraudulent documents and smuggling through the Ports of Entry.
Walls and fences do not solve the issue of people entering the country legally and staying beyond the date they are required to leave the country, a problem which will undoubtedly increase as more walls and fences are constructed.
The NBPC position regarding walls and fences is not due to a concern of losing our jobs if fences and walls are built. On the contrary, the NBPC realizes that walls and fences require just as much manpower to protect them. Border Patrol Agents witness what happens to walls and fences when there are not enough Border Patrol agents to protect them.
Asked about the seeming contradiction by Politico, the union leader explained that the old language reflected the position of bygone leadership, adding that the page was kept up for years because the union didn’t want to hide from its earlier stance. “But because it continually gets brought up,” he said, “we made the decision to take it down.”