Last weekend, National Border Patrol Council President, Brandon Judd spoke at a conference in Las Vegas put together by the hate-group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). Unfortunately, this is only the latest example of Judd’s concerning behavior. Over the last year Judd has repeatedly promoted the racist (and false) “replacement” and “invasion” conspiracy theories, which were cited as the inspiration for multiple white nationalist terrorists, including those in Buffalo and El Paso. Judd has also participated in political ads this cycle that normalize political violence. Developments that are concerning in their own right, but Judd’s actions take on additional significance because of who he represents and his increasing prominence in the Republican party.
A Border Patrol officer himself, Judd has led the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) since 2013, and has turned the organization into a powerful political surrogate for the GOP’s nativist border narrative. And like the Republican Party, Judd has become increasingly radicalized.
Judd is no stranger to FAIR and has participated with the hate group before, which was founded by the late John Tanton, a eugenicist and white nationalist who published, sold, and distributed an English edition of the racist French “great replacement” novel “Camp of the Saints.” Tanton, FAIR, and the other nativist organizations in this network were also central to the promotion of the rhetoric around the migrant “invasion” conspiracy, which is a lie echoed by the domestic terrorists who have murdered Americans in Charlottesville, Pittsburgh, El Paso, and Buffalo. Despite this public track record, Judd signed onto a letter written in January of this year by Senator Rick Scott and Rep. Elise Stefanik alongside Dan Stein, the President of the FAIR pushing the GOP’s disingenuous border narrative. And in 2017, Judd and the other leadership of NBPC attended FAIR’s annual conference. Judd’s continued collaboration with a designated hate group reflects poorly on NBPC, the politicians they campaign for and the Border Patrol officers they represent.
Judd has repeatedly used media appearances and interviews to amplify “replacement” and “invasion” conspiracy theories. Once relegated to the fridges where they belong, these white nationalists lies hold that “Jews” or “the Left/elites/Democrats” are coordinating an invasion of non-white migrants to replace white voters to subvert the democratic will of the “real Americans.” As a USA Today piece titled, “‘Replacement theory’ fuels extremists and shooters. Now a top Border Patrol agent is spreading it,” explains:
…Judd’s unfounded claim the Biden Administration is actively working to weaken the nation’s southern border to allow in more immigrants and ‘change the demographics’ of the nation is hardly new. The conspiracy theory that white Americans are being systematically ‘replaced’ by immigrants from majority non-white countries has been a trope of American white supremacists and other racist extremists for decades.
…In its most extreme form the theory claims a cabal of powerful politicians, aided by sinister Jewish power-brokers, is deliberately working to replace white Europeans and Americans with non-white immigrants who are more likely to support left-leaning politicians. Though Judd did not provide this kind of elaborate story, he and others have promoted a portion of it.
…on Fox News, Judd didn’t simply describe that the demographics of the country were changing. He claimed this change was being orchestrated by the Biden Administration. And that’s where a simple description of a changing electorate begins to sound similar to a white supremacist conspiracy theory.
In an interview with The Epoch Times on April 19, Judd falsely claimed that asylum seekers and refugees seeking safety in the U.S. constituted an “invasion.” When pressed, Judd took this racist lie a step further calling on Texas Governor Greg Abbott to officially declare an “invasion” and invoke war powers to repel asylum seekers with military force. Judd falsely asserted Abbott has such a power under the U.S. Constitution; he does not.
An absurdity, yes, but the fact that the head of the Border Patrol union believes the asylum seekers he interacts with are enemy combatants is both deeply disturbing and dangerous.
Judd and the NBPC have also increasingly become partisan political actors with Judd appearing in dozens of Republican primary ads already in this midterm cycle. Remember, Judd led the NBPC to make its first ever presidential endorsement in the primaries in 2016 for Donald Trump whose aggressive nativism was a cornerstone of his campaign. Now Judd has asserted the NBPC as key players in Republican primaries up and down the ticket and across the country. Many of the candidates the NBPC have endorsed this cycle have made nativism a central part of their political campaigns and have echoed the “replacement” and “invasion” conspiracies, most notably in Arizona.
Judd and the NBPC have endorsed Jim Lamon in the Republican Senate primary even as Lamon has made “invasion” rhetoric a key component of his campaign. Judd even cut a full 30-second TV ad for Lamon’s campaign that traded exclusivity in anti-immigrant dog-whistles. To promote the ad, Lamon wrote on Twitter “Join @BPUnion in supporting me as your next AZ U.S. Senator so we can stop the invasion and get this border under control!” Judd also played a background character in a western shootout style ad where Lamon shoots at actors portraying President Biden, Speaker of the House Pelosi and Sen. Mark Kelly.
In the Republican gubernatorial primary in Arizona the NBPC hasn’t made an official endorsement, but Judd said he “fully endorses” Kari Lake’s “border plan” saying the”aggressive policy is one of the best I have ever seen.” The plan subscribes to the racist “invasion” conspiracy and Lake has committed to “declare an INVASION,” and “militarize the border” if she wins the governor’s race.
In Arizona’s 2nd Congressional District, the NBPC has endorsed Eli Crane, who wrote “ we must secure the border and stop the invasion“ in a video announcing their endorsement.
The NBPC has even asserted itself into GOP leadership fights. Giving an exclusive to Breitbart, NBPC called for the ouster of Rep. Liz Cheney as the third-ranking House Republican in favor of Rep. Elise Stefanik, who would go on to repeatedly double-down on the white nationalist “replacement” and “invasion” conspiracies.
The NBPC has also weighed in and endorsed several other Republicans ahead of their primaries across the country including: Tod Young (IN Sen), James Lankford (OK Sen), John Boozman (AR Sen), Ted Budd (NC Sen), Greg Abbott (TX Gov), Mike DeWine (OH Gov), Derek Schmidt (KS Gov), Monica De La Cruz (TX-15), Cassy Garcia (TX-28), and Yesli Vega (VA-07).
The question should be asked of all the candidates that have received Judd’s endorsement or featured him in one of their ads; do they too subscribe to the white nationalist “replacement” and “invasion” conspiracy theories? Do they agree we should treat migrants seeking a legal claim to asylum with militaristic hostility? Or do they reject white nationalism in all its forms and reject the dangerous rhetoric that puts a target on all immigrant communities?
These questions are especially relevant for the House battleground Republicans like De La Cruz, Garcia, and Vega. The voters in these districts deserve to know where these candidates stand. If these candidates don’t loudly reject the support of Brandon Judd they are complicit in the white nationalist myths he pedals and the deadly downstream consequences of the lies he tells.