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The 3 Things You Need to Know About Border Patrol Union President Brandon Judd

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On February 15, the President of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, is scheduled to testify before a combined field hearing of the Oversight And Investigations Subcommittee and Health Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee in Weslaco Texas. Judd will be the star witness at this field hearing to opine on the “public health crisis” created by the so-called “Biden’s border crisis.”  This is another in the continuing series of hearings held by House Republicans to focus on their favorite issue: drumming up animosity towards immigrants and fears about the border. And, as with their other hearings, this one will likely be rife with white nationalist talking points like the “great replacement” theory and the alleged “invasion” taking place.

Judd is not a public health expert. That is not why he was invited. He is, however,  the hard-right leader of the Border Patrol union who has repeatedly promoted the white nationalist “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy, palled around with hate groups, and participated in a political ad that suggested political violence against top Democrats. 

Republicans have ostensibly invited Judd to backstop their pernicious and false narrative about fentanyl in their continuing effort to make fentanyl an immigration issue.  While an urgent and deadly serious public health issue, fentanyl is not an immigration issue. Judd’s invite by Republicans signals that Republicans are solely interested in political stunts and a platform for white nationalist conspiracies and not interested at all in a serious discussion to “ensure action is taken to end the scourge of fentanyl,” as they dubiously claimed

Judd has been an active border patrol agent for the last 20 years and has led the union since 2013. Under Judd’s leadership, the union has made a hard-right partisan turn, with the union making its first presidential endorsement of Donald Trump in 2016. Judd later joined then-President Trump’s presidential transition team. A frequent Fox News contributor and key validator of the GOP’s nativist political attacks, Judd has a sizable megaphone. 

Here are the three things you need to know about Brandon Judd: 

  1. Judd promotes the deadly white nationalist “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy theories. A powerful USA Today profile by Will Carless titled “‘Replacement theory’ fuels extremists and shooters. Now a top Border Patrol agent is spreading it” detailed how Judd used an April 2022, Fox News appearance to promote the baseless conspiracy theory that there is a plot to replace white Americans with immigrants. Judd has also repeatedly pushed the racist fiction that migrants seeking asylum and safety at the border constitute a literal “invasion” of the U.S. The “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy Judd pedals has inspired multiple domestic terrorists to take the lives of dozens over the last few years from Charlottesville in 2017, to Pittsburgh in 2018 to Poway in 2019, to El Paso in 2019, to the Capitol in 2021, and in Buffalo in May of 2022
  2. Judd appeared in dozens of Republican ads in the ‘22 midterms, including one that pretended to shoot President Biden, then-Speaker Pelosi, and Senator Kelly.  Judd and his union cut ads for and endorsed several Republican candidates who campaigned on the white nationalist “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy. But in one egregious example, Judd guest starred in a Jim Lamon Arizona Republican Senate primary western shootout-style ad in February ‘22, where the candidate shoots at actors portraying President Biden, then Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and Senator Mark Kelly.  As a reminder, Sen. Kelly’s wife was shot in a horrific act of political violence in 2011, and Speaker Pelosi’s husband was also horrifically attacked in his home later in 2022 as a domestic terrorist sought out the then-Speaker.
  3. Judd regularly engages with Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate groups. In September 2022, Judd joined dozens of elected Republican officials and right-wing talk radio shows for an annual event organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). A Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designated hate group, FAIR was founded by eugenicist and white nationalist John Tanton. Earlier in the year, Judd was a featured speaker at a FAIR conference in Las Vegas. In December 2021, Judd also sat for an interview with the Center for Immigration Studies’ (CIS) podcast – another SPLC-designated hate group founded by Tanton.

The combination of Judd’s casual amplification of white nationalist conspiracies and political violence is deeply concerning.  Judd’s invitation continues a disturbing trend of House Republicans using hearings related to immigration to advance white nationalist talking points and conspiracy theories.

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