There’s an unofficial coin circulating among the nation’s 20,000 border agents that says “U.S. Welcome Patrol.” That wry humor masks a deep dissatisfaction among border agents at the dramatic policy changes that are not only annoying but difficult to obey.
President Joe Biden has named Troy Miller to be acting head of the Customs and Border Protection agency (CBP). He is implementing policies sharply at odds with those implemented by former President Donald Trump, which is causing a lot of friction between the boss and the workers who are on the front lines of Biden’s border crisis. Biden has chosen Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus to lead the agency permanently.
CBP is overwhelmingly pro-Trump, with agents feeling the former president had their back. Their union endorsed Trump for president in 2020. But the Biden’s proposed changes have so discouraged dozens of agents that they are contemplating early retirement.
Some agents have reportedly started calling Biden ‘Let ‘Em Go Joe,’ according to a border patrol agent who anonymously spoke with Reuters. Gil Maza, a former agent who retired in March, sells [a] redesigned unofficial coin for the U.S. Border Patrol that reads ‘U.S. Welcome Patrol.’ Maza told Reuters he had sold 78 coins in a matter of days to past and present agents.
“It sheds a little humor on the situation,” Maza said of his creation. “And it’s something that helps us, I guess, mentally and emotionally cope with the situation because especially right now, the situation is pretty dire out there.”
Miller sent an unusual memo last month, ordering agents to drop the designation “illegal alien.” Scott, the border patrol chief, sent a memo objecting to the change in phraseology.
“The U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) is and must remain an apolitical federal law enforcement agency. Over the years, many outside forces on both extremes of the political spectrum have intentionally, or unintentionally politicized our agency and our mission,” wrote Scott, an agent of 28 years. “Despite every attempt by USBP leadership to ensure that all official messaging remained consistent with law, fact, and evidence, there is no doubt that the reputation of the USBP has suffered because of the many outside voices. Mandating the use of terms which are inconsistent with law has the potential to further erode public trust in our government institutions.”
Scott is 100 percent correct. Politicians may use any description they wish when referring to illegal aliens. But the law refers to illegal aliens as “illegal aliens” and only a regulatory authority can remove that designation. Miller was ordering his employees to violate the law.
“We have so many people coming across, and then, we’re out there killing ourselves to catch them, rescue them, or whatever it is, and then, they’re being released,” said Rosemarie Pepperdine, an agent who voiced her intention to retire. “Why even bother?”
Magnus is not expected to make things any better for the agents, given the circumstances of a Honduran illegal who escaped from a Tucson hospital in 2017.
Magnus dispatched helicopters and search teams but gave up on the search when it became clear the illegal had left the area.