A group of Border Patrol agents in Southern New Mexico and El Paso, Texas aren’t happy with their national union’s endorsement of Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump.
On Tuesday, the agents will ask their local union to reject the national union’s endorsement, the El Paso Times is reporting.
The agents haven’t spoken publicly. Whether they have the numbers to formally reject the endorsement isn’t clear. But they’ve gathered letters from more than 20 leaders in El Paso and Southern New Mexico in support of their efforts, the Times reported. Among them was N.M. state Rep. Bill McCamley, D-Las Cruces.
“I think there is a real danger to the local economy, and that is true for Texas and New Mexico, if Trump is elected,” McCamley was quoted as saying.
Former Las Cruces City Councilor Nathan Small, a Democratic candidate for a state House seat this year, also wrote a letter in support of the local agents’ efforts.
“One of the reasons that Las Cruces and El Paso are safe cities, with lower levels of violence compared to peer communities, is because of the trust developed between law enforcement and local communities,” Small’s letter states, according to the newspaper. “This trust is built from mutual respect developed through years of outstanding service by law enforcement and a commitment to community engagement. It is hard won but easily lost.”
The Local 1929 union represents agents in the Border Patrol’s El Paso Sector, which includes El Paso and Southern New Mexico.
When it backed Trump in March, the national union acknowledged its longstanding practice of not endorsing in presidential primaries, but said it would not “shy away from voicing our opinions as it pertains to border security and the men and women of the United States Border Patrol.”
“Unlike his opponents, Donald Trump is not a career politician, he is an outsider who has created thousands of jobs, pledged to bring about aggressive pro-American change, and who is completely independent of special interests,” the union said. “We don’t need a person who has the perfect Washington-approved tone, and certainly NOT another establishment politician in the W.H.
“Indeed, the fact that people are more upset about Mr. Trump’s tone than about the destruction wrought by open borders tells us everything we need to know about the corruption in Washington,” the national union said.
A spokesman for the national Border Patrol union, Shawn Moran, “disputed the contention by area leaders that the Trump endorsement will damage relationships between the Border Patrol and border communities,” the Times reported.
“We have all invested a lot of time and energy into our community outreach efforts. However, we must remember that our primary responsibility is to protect the border,” the newspaper quoted Moran as saying.
“We know that our approach differs from some of our more liberal colleagues and that may cause friction. I do not believe this friction over our endorsement is enough to jeopardize these efforts,” he said. “However, if these collaborations were to break down over this endorsement, which I hope they will not, it will demonstrate that they were not sustainable in the first place.”
In a Tuesday editorial, the Times praised the local agents for taking a “courageous and necessary step.”
“Such a step is not undertaken lightly, and it carries risk to those leading the effort,” the editorial stated.
The Times, in a previous editorial, criticized the national union’s endorsement of Trump.
“The union endorsement of Trump makes the agents’ jobs more difficult and potentially more dangerous. The endorsement sends a message to border crossers – with or without proper documentation – that Border Patrol agents view them as an enemy,” that editorial stated. “Aligning itself with Trump and his beliefs is an ugly step.”