What began as an email to the Boy Scouts of America about a questionable patch depicting the iconic "fleeing immigrants" image that has become a national symbol of anti-Latino hate has turned into a bizarre and perplexing situation that has negatively impacted a 100-year-old troop from Milwaukee. The troop in question, Troop 11, which includes Latino boys, aged 10-18, has confirmed that the patch, which the national leadership of the Boy Scouts of America has deemed "unauthorized," was created about 10 years ago by the members of the troop.
According to the current leaders of Troop 11, around 2002 a member of the troop, who is of Mexican descent, was visiting Texas and saw the road sign image and when this member returned to Milwaukee, it was agreed that the image would become the official Border Patrol patch for Troop 11. "Border" was chosen as the official the name of the troop and "Patrol" was added to the name.
Meanwhile, according to Troop 11 leaders, the troop is now facing the possibility of being disbanded for having displayed an unauthorized patch on scouts' uniforms. In an email sent to us last night, assistant scoutmaster Bradley Schultz clarified:
The patch is used to symbolize that a scout is part of the "border" patrol.The image was chosen by the patrol as a whole, but a scout of Mexican decent, who was visiting family in Texas when he saw the iconic signs, is the who originally thought of the idea to use the image. We knew we wanted to be named Border, but we wanted an image to go with it.
The image will most likely be changing, because we have been told by our council that if we don't change the NAME of the patrol the troop will be disbanded as a whole. The troop would most likely be willing to consider changing the image if we were allowed to keep the name, Border Patrol.
We shared Schultz's response with the Boy Scouts of America's national council, but as of this posting, we have yet to get a response.
In the meantime, we have received several comments and emails from people claiming to be current Troop 11 members as well as public comments by Ryan Antczak, another assistant scoutmaster for Troop 11. We have shared these emails and comments with Troop 11, asking why we are getting such comments directed at us, but as of this posting, we have gotten no reply. Here is just a sampling of what we have received in the last 12 hours since publishing our original story (we have run these emails and comments as is without editing):
Here is an email we received in our inbox last night at 11:27 PM EST
my friends are Mexican, I'm white and we have every other race under the sun in my troop. national consil just does have the balls to say how is that offensive. people correlate Hispanics with the border patrol which is why U think its not a good thing to call yourself. do U realize that my friend was offend by you reporting on something you didn't understand. U need to understand thatthe patch is given to you right away. the reason this started was because about ten years ago a group of young Mexican boys had the opportunity to call themselves the border patrol. this is just an issue of people thinking bad things. for example I hate the nazis, and did you know before Hitler used the swastika as the Nazi party symbol, that it was peace symbol in India. point being you my cause 1 of 5 100 year old boy scout troops to vanish. if you think that by doing this u r doing the right thing, then I sorry but you can go to hell. the troop 11 has done 8 community service projects for the city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin last year. we are proud to be called troop 11. you need to write an article explaining that it is not related to border customs. 4 of the 8 eagle scouts were of Latino decedent,2 of those 8 were in the border patrol. your news web sites owner is wrong, this affects boys that some of which don't have a dad. troop 11 forms a family feel, so you get the father figure you need. you need to report that our troop yes is a little unusual but infact a great part of our community. thank you for taking the time though to debate this with me , hopefully you see the light, and don't go to hell.
Antczak has also posted several comments in the comment thread of our original story and we are sharing them here in chronological order. Our founder has responded to each of them, but as of this posting, Antczak has not responded to our comments nor to the follow-up emails we have sent him this afternoon:
This had nothing to do with US BORDER PATROL. This was the name of the patrol the boys picked out that they wanted. The majority of the troop &the patrol are Mexican. They wanted this because they didnt wanna be associated with those that come to our country illegally. This has been part of our troop for almost 10 years. We are located in a very diverse area were the majority of Latin decent. No one has been offended till this day. We are not embarrassed by a branch of our government that serve this country proudly who put their lives on the line. everytime they go to work. Its to bad 1 person is offended &the id like to know 1by can be offended..
All BSA has said is that they had nothing to do with the production of this image (they didnt make it). &the that its not part of the advancememt program for our youth, thats all. None of the patrol patches from BSA promote the values of BSA. Our patch or any of the "authorized" patrol patches do not represent Scouting values of BSA has said is that they had nothing to do with the production of this image (they didnt make it) &the that its not part of the advancement program for our youth. Thats all. Our patch or any of the "authorized" patrol patches do not represent Scouting values. Tjey weren't
To correct the LATINO REBELS about the street sign warning motorists halfway across the USA. There are "MANY" people in "THIS" country that the image does meet the principals we do share. Principals such as not breaking the law. You should have asked for our statement on this since it was us. Journalism 101. I unddrstand checking woth BSA but commonsense says to ask the source. This sign isn't iconic. Maybe to the very few that support "ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION" for those tjat are breaking the law. Yhats problematic to American people.
Scouting values. They repeesent the patrols image. The "authorized"patrol patrol patches arw different animals. Scouting has also "aurhorized" a blank patch to encourage vreative names & images. We chose a branch of our nationa security agency that polices our borders everywhere. This is in response to Mr. Medlicott &the Latino REBELS.
To Raul, those that are here in America legally are entitled to everyrhong America has to offer. Our entitlements are for Americans no atter the race. There are the great majority of Mexicans that went thru the long process of becoming citizens of tje USA. Then there are those that scoff at our laws &the process of necoming a citizen here . The legal Mexican citizens aren't happy with that. Hence the support we receive. There are no rights for illegal immigrants. They dont exist. So quiot thinking there are any of i can imagine how crappy it is in some parts of Mexico &the seek tje entitlements of our country. All people around the world should have the roghts &the entitlements all of us enjoy here. But thats not reality Thank u for serving our country Raul.
Finally, a Twitter account called troop11eagle was created yesterday with one clear intention: to criticize our story. Today, the account accused us of being pedophiles for reporting this story. UPDATE: The Troop 11 assistant scoutmaster has now answered our questions.