The Boy Scouts of America Respond to “Border Patrol” and “Fleeing Immigrants” Patch from Milwaukee Troop

Mar 31, 2012
4:24 PM

This afternoon, we received the following statement from David Burke, Communications Specialist for the Boy Scouts of America, regarding the use of the "fleeing immigrants" image on a patch created by a local Milwaukee troop, who named themselves the "Border Patrol."

Here is what Mr. Burke sent to us:


I have been asked to respond to your request regarding the Troop 11 patrol patch. We have looked into the situation that you brought to our attention have an explanation for how it was developed. I know that you have heard from other parties on this issue but I would  first like to provide some background that might help with the explanation.

A Boy Scout troop consist of approximately 20 – 60 young men between the ages of 11 and 18 years of age. In most troops most of the boys are between the ages of 11-16. Each troop divides itself into patrols of 5-9 boys to make it easier to manage and also to create opportunities for leadership development. Each patrol has a patrol leader who is elected by the patrol from the boys in that patrol. Each patrol gets to select its own patrol name. Patrol names can be just about anything the boys decide. It might be the owl patrol, the dinosaur patrol, or something along the pop culture lines such as the Batman patrol. The adults usually try not to interfere unless the name is obviously inappropriate. Patrols come and go based on the membership of the troop.

In this case a patrol in troop 11 decided they wanted their patrol name to be the "Border Patrol" and did so without any intent of offending anyone.  Neither the United States Border Patrol or the Boy Scouts of America were involved in the naming of the patrol, or the production or distribution of the patch.

Leadership at the local council has discussed this issue with the Scoutmaster. The Scoutmaster has worked with the patrol and they now understand that there were unintended consequences with their patrol name and have agreed to rename their patrol and remove the patch from their uniform. When the local council was alerted to this situation they reacted immediately to work with the troop and will continue to provide guidance as needed.

I hope this clarifies the situation.  Thanks again for your note and interest in Scouting.