When the sun came up this morning on day two of the new Biden/Harris administration, I scrolled through the list of new CBP (Customs and Border Protection) and Border Patrol articles published during the night as I do every single day no matter who is in charge. Usually, this list is filled with articles about drug busts, apprehensions of migrants or agent involved shootings. Today was a bit different because mixed in with these articles were a handful from small media outlets that appear to be some sort of media push by the agencies.
There’s this one from a pro-Border Patrol outlet describing how the agency is building new tents in anticipation of housing newly arrived unaccompanied children in south Texas. While much was redacted from the documents, the article points out that the order came from the Trump Administration literally on January 19th, one day before the Biden Administration took power. The title alone will get many of those who protested Trump’s child separation up in arms as it should. That’s exactly what it’s meant to do. Those who do not bother to click on the link will not know this and will simply be left with the false idea that Biden ordered it.
Next comes this small article by a local Fox5 news outlet stating that apprehensions for illegally crossing the southern border have increased 200%. It is complete with surveillance night video footage provided by the CBP/Border Patrol to show the “surge.” How they came up with this number is confusing though. Generally, statistics regarding apprehensions are discussed in months and localities. This article combines comparing several months and seems to be referring to only apprehensions in Texas, but they give no hint or citation as to how this percentage of increase is obtained.
Smaller outlets are being fed Border Patrol pictures of apprehensions to small towns like this one. The chief of this sector commented on how the agents were keeping “criminals” and Covid-19 out of the country by apprehending non-citizens, yet they did not mention if any person in this specific arrest had a criminal record or Covid. It is a false narrative concocted by the agency to get Americans to see “immigrants” as “criminals.” Note that these outlets are being fed pictures and statements by local Border Patrol officials.
Although the title of this article incorrectly identifies Mark Morgan as the former chief of the Border Patrol (he was Trump’s Commissioner of CBP), it shows the calculated and organized effort to undermine the new administration. The argument that the wall makes agents more safe is not backed up by any proof but merely the charged racist rhetoric that is expected of the past administration.
Last but not least, Border Patrol Agent and head of the Border Patrol Union Brandon Judd states more than once in this article that Biden’s decision to halt construction on Trump’s wall is dangerous to security. This statement is once again racially charged rhetoric with no proof. Judd goes so far as to say that the “vast majority” of crossers are where there is no wall and that the “majority of Americans” want a wall. Neither of these statements are backed up with any facts and are the type of rhetoric that Judd usually engages in.
Each of these articles is part of a bigger picture though. When you stop to consider that this is all coordinated, that the agency has to contact these outlets and provide them with pictures and provide comments from officials, it is blatantly obvious that the Border Patrol and CBP are getting a head start on attacking the new administration’s policies.
Both agencies have many agents assigned to press and media units. The Border Patrol alone has 20 sectors. Within each sector are a variety of stations. Each station can act as its own public relations outfit, as can each sector. Every sector chief of the Border Patrol has social media accounts on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram including a YouTube channel. Every time one of them posts, the others pick up those posts and repost them to create traffic. Additionally, every sector and station has local media outlets they give access to in order to report their version, their interpretation of border events. If these outlets question or report contrary to the agency’s wishes, they are denied access.
Nothing can be done about former commissioners or agents commenting on politics or current border management techniques. The U.S. is thankfully still a free country ruled by the Constitution and they have a right to their opinions. Outlets also have the right to publish only one side of the story as these outlets did. I am not arguing to violate anyone’s freedom of speech or opinion.
However, those who are acting agents and management do have a responsibility not only to the people and the Constitution to publish the facts of their work, but also to the administration. Above all, the union must stop acting as a Trump surrogate like they did under the past administration. Biden and Harris have the right to hold current agents accountable for leaking information and providing disinformation even if it is in the form of an opinion. If the chief of the Border Patrol wants to go on Fox News, they must also go on MSNBC or another outlet. Equal access is only fair.
Biden and Harris have a right and a duty to reign in this giant public relations campaign the agency has created that only supports a false narrative that the border is somehow out of control. If agents within the Border Patrol do not agree with it, they should resign.