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Border Patrol Bragging about Brutality is Part of the Culture

Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Being sold by Old Patrol HQ , a Facebook group of current and former Border Patrol agents.

Recently, media outlets have seized onto the fact that Border Patrol agents are celebrating their brutality towards migrants, asylum seekers, refugees by creating challenge coins showing them attacking Haitians with leather reins. The outrage and disgust by the media and readers alike is not new. Every single time one of these images gets out to the public, outrage that many professional federal law enforcement officers revel in their brutality is to be expected and justified.

But if you pay attention to Border Patrol culture, then you are not in the least bit surprised by this behavior. Border Patrol agents, current and retired, are constantly creating and celebrating their abusive, racist, xenophobic culture.

Remember the memes from the private Facebook group called "I'm 10-15" that ProPublica discovered? Let me remind you:

How about the article from The Intercept's Ryan Devereaux about current and former Border Patrol agents? How about this meme put out by former Senior Patrol agent Chad Wamsley?

How about this t-shirt that former Special Operations Supervisor Hector Regalado used to sell on his website? The word "tonk" is used by agents for Latino undocumented migrants. It is the sound our flashlights make when we hit them in the head. Some agents will say it is an acronym, but that is a lie agents are taught to tell the public and the press. Mother Jones covered the story here.

At any given moment, agent are making t-shirts, coins, bumper stickers, memes, etc. Of course, not all agents are guilty of this behavior, but many are. Whenever a new social media group is discovered, they just move on and create another. Why? Because there never is any accountability for this behavior. Even former chiefs like Rodney Scott and Carla Provost were members of the "I'm 10-15" group. And the investigation by DHS' Office of Inspector General did little to make agents fear any sort of discipline. They didn't even bother to obtain the files from Facebook. When their leadership is a part of this culture, when investigations go nowhere, of course agents will continue to behave in this way.

So, the next time the media finds out about another racist, sexist, violent, disgusting meme like these, remember that this is normal Border Patrol culture. The only surprise anyone should have is that nothing is ever done about it.


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