President Joe Biden’s trip to Uvalde, Texas, was not designed with the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol in mind. Although it was members of the elite Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC) that ultimately took out the shooter by disobeying local authorities’ stand-down order, the White House uninvited 90% of the agents who had planned to attend; this included agents who were part of the Uvalde response.
This decision is sure to fray an already tense relationship between the White House and U.S. Border Patrol. Morale is low with the agency because of the mass of migrants freely coming across the border. Border Patrol had over 2 million migrant contacts in 2021. A crushing increase over previous years and this year is on pace to eclipse 2022. And there is no sign that the White House is concerned with improving working conditions.
Agents are also upset with how certain personnel have been treated, particularly since last year when a picture emerged of Haitian migrants apparently being whipped by agents on horseback. The President immediately condemned the Border Patrol agents before any investigation had been concluded. In fact, the investigation continued for six more months, even after the allegations were proved false. The administration has not apologized to the agents in question.
The rank-and-file agents at the Border Patrol are not happy with the administration’s approach to them or their agency. Observers have noted that Biden does not want to glorify the heroism of the BORTAC team as it takes away from the preferred narrative of the progressive left, namely that the tragedy is a strong argument for gun control.
Democrats in the Senate are making a renewed push forward on gun control because they feel there is momentum nationally due to the Uvalde shooting. California, New York, and New Jersey have announced plans for more regulation on the purchase of guns as well as possible magazine limits. The red states, however, seem to be standing strong and not becoming prisoners of the moment.
It is clear from the president’s actions in Uvalde that if certain facts don’t fit the narrative they are ignored. The Border Patrol is learning that lesson on a daily basis.