The Most Difficult Job in America

Is there a group of people today more scorned, slandered, and unappreciated than the men and women who defend our borders? It is difficult to think of another profession that requires so much commitment and bravery, and at the same time is so misrepresented and vilified. 

An argument could be made that our police forces have been treated similarly in recent years. After our nation’s brief experiment with slashing police budgets and the crime sprees that have come as a result, more Americans realize society cannot function without law enforcement in our communities.

To date, no such epiphany has occurred when it comes to enforcing our immigration laws. This is the result of a year-long campaign by anti-borders activists to convince Americans that entry into the United States is the birthright of everyone on Earth, and those who stand in the way are the face of evil in the modern world. 

Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) has been one of the worst traffickers of this propaganda. With the wisdom and experience of a freshman sociology major at Oberlin, she said in a 2019 homemade video that “the United States is running concentration camps on our southern border.” Aside from the fact that her crude rhetoric was demonstrably false, it left the uninformed listener with the inescapable conclusion that anyone who works in such a facility is the moral equivalent of an SS officer at Bergen-Belsen.      

It isn’t just ambitious young members of Congress pushing the anti-Border Patrol message. When still images surfaced in September of mounted border agents apprehending Haitian nationals who entered Texas illegally, the campaign kicked into overdrive. 

Corporate media fanned the flames, giving megaphones to activists who compared the agents’ actions to those of plantation overseers beating runaway slaves. Joe Biden, in his signature reckless style, promised before any investigation took place that the agents in question “would pay” for allegedly “strapping” the migrants. 

Despite all the sensationalism, a slow-walked investigation exonerated the agents in March. Neither Biden nor anyone else in the administration apologized for their rush to judgment. The accused agents must have felt like Raymond Donovan, asking where they can go to get their reputations back.     

The top-down propaganda campaign is utterly at odds with the truth. Border-area detention facilities prior to the Biden Administration—I have visited them—were well-maintained and gave those brought there what was likely the best medical care and housing they had ever experienced. Border law enforcement personnel routinely save the lives of children and others who attempt the dangerous passage north.  

That heroism was on display recently, when Texas National Guard member Bishop Evans lost his life while attempting to rescue migrants who were drowning in the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass. While offering the obligatory condolences, White House press secretary Jen Psaki couldn’t resist splitting hairs, noting that Evans worked for the state of Texas, not the federal government. 

In other words, the Biden White House bears no responsibility for Evans’ death. That is very much open for debate, as the exponential increase in border crossers since early 2021 is undeniably the result of Biden Administration policies that have accelerated the southern border’s descent into anarchy. 

As a further insult to border agents, the administration is pressing ahead with its plans to end Title 42, which immigration enforcement officials predict will result in even more caravans of migrants swarming the border. With the federal government actively undermining them, the agents’ last hope may be litigation by the attorney general of Texas, with the Immigration Reform Law Institute serving as outside counsel, to prevent the administration from ending operational control of the border.

Border agents are not concentration camp guards. They bear no racial animus toward migrants, in part because more than half of agents are Latino themselves. They took an oath to defend our nation, and along the way save lives every day. They do this for meager pay as activists, politicians and media punch down at them. Much as we have discovered about local police, we need law enforcement at the border. It’s time to treat them with the respect they deserve. 

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About Brian Lonergan

Brian Lonergan is an adjunct fellow of the Center for American Greatness and director of communications at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, and co-host of IRLI’s “No Border, No Country” podcast.

Photo: A U.S. Border Patrol agent stands on a cliff looking for migrants that crossed the border wall between the U.S. and Mexico near the city of Sasabe, Arizona, Sunday, January 23, 2022. Salwan Georges/The Washington Post via Getty Images

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