Leading Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump — who is also currently the nation’s leading anti-immigrant voice — will visit the U.S./Mexico border and meet with Border Patrol agents tomorrow, several have news outlets confirmed.
“I’ve been invited by border patrols and they want to honor me, actually, and thousands and thousands of ’em because I’m speaking up,” Trump gloated to Fox News.
According to CNN, a local chapter of the National Border Patrol Council invited Trump to the border earlier this month, with the local chapter president, Hector Garza, saying he wanted to give Trump a “boots on the ground perspective.”
But a report from Breitbart adds a bit more perspective about the underlying reason for the border tour. According to the far-right conservative rag, the visit to Laredo, Texas was entirely coordinated by Breitbart staff and Garza:
Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby worked with Agent Garza to prepare for Trump’s border tour. “It is of utmost importance that possible future leaders of our country visit the border region, especially the Laredo Sector. Most Texans and other Americans hear that the Texas border was secured, but it wasn’t. The Rio Grande Valley Sector was supplemented with manpower from the State of Texas, but that mostly stopped where that sector ended and the Laredo Sector begins.” Darby added, “Mr. Trump will learn firsthand of the many holes and vulnerabilities that the Los Zetas cartel exploits to enter Texas and oppress their victims. We will keep the details of Mr. Trump’s intended visit private at this time.”
“Breitbart Texas has been instrumental in making sure that the voices and experiences of Border Patrol agents in the Laredo Sector have been heard,” Hector Garza, president of the National Border Patrol Council Local 2455, told Breitbart.
The two have had a mutually-beneficial relationship for some time now. In March, the website reported it was sponsoring a podcast produced by the National Border Patrol Council. Two months later, National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 honored Darby with a dinner and an award for “exposing the realities of law enforcement along America’s southern border.”
It’s absolutely no secret that Border Patrol agents love far-right news outlets, extremist groups, and anti-immigrant candidates like Trump. In June, Imagine2050 published “Blurring Borders,” an exclusive report detailing the collusion between anti-immigrant groups and Border Patrol agents from our own government.
According to the report, one glaring example of the secretive (and sometimes not-so-secretive) relationship between border agents and far-right groups was the string of protests at Murrieta, California, during last summer’s child refugee crisis:
A group of about 50 protesters, organized by leaders with ties to white nationalists, and extreme far-right groups, stood in the street waving American flags and chanting phrases such as “Go back home!” and “We don’t want you here!” to immigrants aboard the buses.
But, how exactly did these anti-immigrant activists know where these buses were going?
The answer lies in the long-standing relationships between employees of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the leaders of the organized anti-immigrant movement. The Murrieta protests are only one ugly example.
One organizer of the Murrieta protests told supporters he had received information from “a senior border patrol source in San Diego” in advance of the transfer of the families to the Murrieta facilities.
The report details further disturbing connections between agents from our own federal government and extremist groups, including some groups with white supremacist connections:
In March 2015, NBPC Local 1613, based in Southern California, thanked two of its current agents (and elected union representatives)—Manny Bayon and Chris Bauder—on Twitter for “showing the truth on the southern border” during a “border tour for CIS (CEnter for Immigration Studies) [sic].” The Center for Immigration Studies, led since 1995 by Mark Krikorian, is the primary research arm of the organized anti-immigrant movement and has an outsized influence on much of the nativist right’s messaging and communications strategy.
In the summer of 2014, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), a documented hate group and flagship organization of the anti-immigrant movement, organized a “fact-finding trip” in July for seven sheriffs from states as far away from the U.S.-Mexico border as Massachusetts and Oregon. Border Patrol officials accommodated FAIR and the sheriffs during their time in McAllen, TX. In a travelogue of sorts published on its official blog, FAIR’s National Field Director Susan Tully wrote, “I am writing from the Border Patrol Station.”
In July 2014, Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) Senior Policy Analyst Stephen Steinlight admitted that a recent CIS publication that inspired multiple Congressional inquiries could not have been done “without our ongoing good connections with whistleblowers in agencies like Immigration and Customs Enforcement.” And as recently as March 2015, CIS Director of Policy Studies Jessica Vaughan published analysis that she claimed was based on “DHS statistics, which have not been released to the public, but were obtained by the Center [CIS].”