By Chris Hoenig
As U.S. Border Patrol agents deal with a crisis involving thousands of unaccompanied minors crossing into the country, the union representing them is defending an insulting, mocking tweet.
The tweet, sent Saturday morning by the National Border Patrol Council (@BPUnion) and soon deleted, complained about responsibilities that Border Patrol agents have undertaken with the surge in youth detentions, including “babysitting,” “diaper changing,” and “burrito wrapping.”
When faced with accusations of racism, the Border Patrol union defended the tweet, saying that “those are duties agents are being assigned.”
@Nicosan1 What is racist Those are the duties agents are being assigned.
— NBPC (@BPUnion) June 14, 2014
The Border Patrol continues to face accusations of civil- and human-rights violations. A lawsuit filed last week by the ACLU focused solely on the treatment of children in the custody of the Border Patrol, including accusations that:
- a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted by Border Patrol agents during a search after she had been detained with adults;
- a 14-year-old girl was threatened by Border Patrol agents while having an asthma attack after agents had confiscated her medication;
- a 17-year-old girl was detained in a freezer where the only drinking water came from a toilet tank and the bathroom was out in the open, easily viewed by other detainees and a security camera that was mounted in front of it. The girl was wearing wet clothes when she was taken into the freezer by Border Patrol agents, and her clothes took three-and-a-half days to dry;
- a severely disabled 7-year-old boy had to undergo emergency surgery after Border Patrol agents detained him for five days without medical treatment, despite the fact that he was acutely malnourished;
- a 15-year-old girl and her 2-year-old son were hospitalized after Border Patrol agents ignored for five days pleas for medical attention after the pair became ill while in custody.
The union’s vice president, Shawn Moran, told FOX News that it’s not the Border Patrol agents but their supervisors who are the problem.
“There’s a reason that we are ranked at the bottom of the federal workforce in morale,” he said. “And it’s because our agents are treated like grade-schoolers, not allowed to make decisions on our own, micromanaged. We live in some godforsaken towns on the Southwest border and just don’t have the type of morale that we need to effectively do this job.
“It is demoralizing the way we are treated and to see things like this,” Moran continued. “Our agents should be out there patrolling the border, enforcing the laws. But instead we’ve got them processing, which is a necessary duty, but they’re being used basically as the hired help.”