Friday, September 9, 2011

Another GOP Cog Defects: A Border Patrol Agent Speaks Out

Earlier this week, we pointed Maryland Juice readers toward an article written by a former GOP cog. The page-turner of a post is titled "Confessions of a GOP Operative: The Inside Story on Republican Sabotage." The article it discusses was written by a veteran Hill staffer who spent years working for Republicans. One observation from the author that we didn't highlight previously (but do below), is the perfect introduction to the topic of this post:
While Democrats temporized, or even dismissed the fears of the white working class as racist or nativist, Republicans went to work. To be sure, the business wing of the Republican Party consists of the most energetic outsourcers, wage cutters and hirers of sub-minimum wage immigrant labor to be found anywhere on the globe. But the faux-populist wing of the party, knowing the mental compartmentalization that occurs in most low-information voters, played on the fears of that same white working class to focus their anger on scapegoats that do no damage to corporations' bottom lines: instead of raising the minimum wage, let's build a wall on the Southern border (then hire a defense contractor to incompetently manage it). Instead of predatory bankers, it's evil Muslims. Or evil gays. Or evil abortionists.
Yes indeed, this blog is also prone to shouting about nativism. We are, after all, witnessing the exploitation of the recession as a motivator for unprecedented anti-immigrant animus. That's why I thought Monday's "Confessions of a GOP Operative" post would make a nice introduction to today's post. In what may just be a coincidence, yet another GOP cog has seen the light. This time it is a former border patrol agent:
John Randolph is a retired US Border Patrol/ICE Agent. In his twenty six year career, he worked as a US Border Patrol Agent, INS Criminal Investigator, and a DHS Special Agent assigned to the Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force.
Mr. Randolph recently published an op-ed on the Huffington Post, where he discusses how his own experiences as a border patrol agent led him to reject America's current posture toward immigration. Once again, I only excerpt the article below, so I encourage you to read the full version:

From Border Patrol Agent To Immigration Reform Activist: My Journey For Justice
By John Randolph
In my twenty-six years as a US Border Patrol/ICE Agent, I caught many people. At the time, common sense told me that the vast majority of the people who I caught were good, hard working people. I began to wonder why immigrants had to be chased like animals, and why I was being paid to chase them....

I learned early in my twenty six year career as a US Border Patrol Agent, INS Criminal Investigator, and a DHS Special Agent, that we neither had nor were provided the resources to stop people or drugs from entering the country. I knew officers who worked at the port of entry in San Diego. They told me of the large amounts of drugs that were being intercepted. I naturally wondered how much must have been getting through.

After thirty-five years of working and observing our government's failed immigration and drug enforcement systems, I am now convinced that both are insidiously designed to fail. The failure of NAFTA and the unrelenting violence of the US-backed war on drugs in Mexico have created conditions for a Mexican exodus. There have been close to 40,000 drug war-related deaths in Mexico since 2006. I know the real victims of these two forces; I've met them. They are the poor and hard-working Mexican citizens who only want a better life. The border is really meant to keep the good people from both sides from joining together, from knowing each other, and from prospering.
Note: I have to say that I don't think the ties between U.S. foreign policy and immigration are just talking points and spin. I grew up with the backdrop of Noriega's ouster in my childhood memory, but I had the privilege to visit Panama a few weeks ago. I was astonished at how much of their nation's history and economic conditions are directly tied to U.S. military policy and our use of the Panama Canal for trade. They in turn were surprised at how little Americans knew about their country, outside of Noriega. I had the same experience visiting Vietnam last year. We have a very war-centric view of other countries in America....

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