Border Patrol Union Stoking Anti-Latino Animus (OPINION)

Dec 1, 2022
3:31 PM

A Border Patrol agent talks with a group suspected of having entered the U.S. illegally near McAllen, Texas, 2019. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

HOUSTON — After three Border Patrol agents died by suicide in three weeks —bringing the total to 14 this year alone— and as an agent’s trial begins for the murder of four women, the Border Patrol union has been stoking anti-Latino animus online. In an attempt to shift negative attention away from the problematic and troubled agency, the National Border Patrol Council is deploying social media posts to spread misinformation and blatant lies.

As Latinos, we all know how “the border” is automatically associated with us regardless of our individual countries of origin or heritages. While we also know that such talk erases the voices of non-Spanish-speaking asylum-seekers from places like Haiti or Africa, we can’t deny how the southern border has historically been used to negatively target Latino communities—particularly in the United States.

We saw how former President Donald Trump’s rhetoric led to the violent targeting of Latinos through countless attacks both online and in the real world, including mass shootings such as the terrorist attacks in Gilroy, California and at an El Paso Walmart, where 23 people were killed. Yet, despite the hatemonger no longer being in office, we can’t escape the wrath of right-wing enmity against us.

Even some Latinos have embraced the hate.

The narrative that both the Border Patrol union and Republican politicians like Rep. Dan Crenshaw (TX) have promoted for years has been thoroughly debunked by Latino Rebels and many other outlets. They assert that the vast majority of asylum claims are illegitimate by pointing to how few claims (16 percent) are granted.

But that low number doesn’t necessarily mean 84 percent of claims are invalid or fraudulent. Instead, it proves just how few asylum-seekers stay in the U.S. and how intentionally complicated it is to secure an asylum hearing.

From 2008 to 2018, of the asylum-seekers who were released to await their hearings, 83 percent of those with completed or removal cases appeared at all of their hearings. Of those represented by a lawyer, 96 percent appeared at all their hearings—a fact which flies in the face of the “Latino criminal” narrative promoted by the Border Patrol union.

Their attempts to demonize the current administration comes at a great cost to our communities. We’ve seen it happen far too often.

Meanwhile, the hate and bigotry that drives these lies inevitably result in policy decisions based on such sentiments. Family separations continue despite no one talking about them. The inhumane treatment of asylum-seekers grows more accepted every day, as does the ethnic and racial animus toward our communities. More and more, Latinophobia grows unabated.

Challenging these false narratives grows more complicated with each intentionally misinformed post that goes viral. As more people believe the portrayals by supposedly trusted organizations and the people behind them, the onus is on us to challenge them with the truth.

With Title 42 coming to an end, we already see some Democrats sounding like bigoted Republicans in asking the Biden administration what it intends to do to secure the border—as if the hatred and violence behind border security didn’t exist.

Title 42 violates both U.S. and international law by denying countless asylum-seekers their right to due process. It denies basic human rights not just to Latinos but Haitians and many others who legally and unequivocally turn themselves in to claim asylum.

The only crisis at the border is the inhumanity being served up to various non-white groups with legal standing in the U.S.

All you need to know about what is happening at the southern border and what drives the policy decisions is right in front of your face: Russians and Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine get a pass. The media told us who they were in the early days of reporting on the war in Ukraine, as they shed tears for “relatively civilized” blue-eyed, blond-haired children—while everyone else is treated in a not so civilized manner.

I’ll leave it to you to figure out why.


Arturo Domínquez is a first-generation Cuban American, anti-racist, journalist, and the publisher of The Antagonist magazine. Twitter: @ExtremeArturo