Border Patrol Agents Are Soldiers in Trump’s Racist, Anti-Immigrant War

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent I arrived in El Paso, Texas the day before I was to speak at Reverend Barber's Moral Monday at the Borderlands just one week before the deadly shooting. My first stop was to visit the infamous “dog pound,” an outdoor cage that held men seeking asylum in the hot Texas sun for weeks at a time. I had recently received a picture of families with small children being held in this same cage, languishing in the heat, sitting on the dirt and rocks. I had to see it for myself, but I was too late. Continue reading

The ‘Back to School’ ICE Raids That Broke our Hearts

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent That first day of school, whether you were excited or full of dread, was an event to remember for all of us. New clothes, teachers and friends, maybe even new schools. It didn’t matter how you felt about it, everyone experienced it. Odds are that you ended up that evening in the same stores as many of your new classmates. Sharpies, binders, pens, pencils, calendars. Today maybe it’s thumb drives and laptops, but the experience is the same. In every city, county and state, whether you are in kindergarten or college, white or brown, rich or poor, we all have that first day of school. Continue reading

Expedited Removals = Birtherism 2.0

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent With the expansion of the expedited removals that allow anyone, anywhere in the United States to be questioned, detained and immediately deported by immigration authorities, we now have a better idea of what an American police state looks like. Those who encounter an immigration officer must be able to produce proof right then and there that they’ve been in the country for two years or more legally, or they will be deported to whatever country agents believe they were born in. Continue reading

Yep, That Secret Border Patrol FB Group is Typical Agent Behavior

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent The following is an exchange of testimony between Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Kevin McAleenan before the House of Representatives:   Continue reading

She asked, “Do they take babies away from mothers in the US?” Here’s what I said.

By Jenn Budd Names have been changed to protect the innocent. I do not make it a habit to ask migrants about their journey: why they left, where they crossed, how they were treated by the Border Patrol. They have been through traumatic experiences and it is none of my business as a shelter volunteer. If they choose to share, I will listen. Otherwise, I concern myself with getting them fed, access to clean bathrooms, showers, and to a bed. Besides, I already know some of their experiences because of my unique perspective as a former Border Patrol agent. Poking and prodding for more stories feels invasive and unnecessary to me, but eleven hours in a maternity ward with someone would likely involve more engagement than a thirty minute dinner. Continue reading

Open Letter from An Ex-Border Patrol Agent

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent Dear former colleagues at the U.S. Border Patrol, I know that you’ve been working long hours with families seeking safety and protection at our nation’s borders. I remember what those shifts were like when I worked at the Campo, California station: people from many different countries, some sick and injured, children and babies that needed special care, lack of resources and a management that often seems more against you than with you. Continue reading

I Used To Detain Migrants At the Border. Now I help them.

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent It’s been many years and once again, I’m standing in front of a single file line of immigrants. Most are from Guatemala and Honduras. Maybe a family or two are from El Salvador. All the children are so young, clinging to their parents in fear. Many are sneaking a look at me, then quickly looking away as if I am about to spit out orders at them like I used to when I wore a green border patrol uniform: “Get in line! Hands behind your back! Get inside! Silencio!” Continue reading

Deaths by Border Patrol Video

On the ninth anniversary of the brutal death of Anastasio Hernandez Rojas at the hands of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), The Southern Border Communities Coalition remembers him and the many lives lost to their deadly policies and protocols. Continue reading

Our Border Policies Are As Dangerous To Migrants As Smugglers

By Jenn Budd Former Senior Border Patrol Agent Recently, a baby drowned and three others were feared dead after their raft capsized in the Rio Grande River, which marks the border between Texas and Mexico. Their deaths are the latest in the more than 7,000 migrants who have died at our nation’s southern border. Continue reading

4 Things We Love About the Southern Border Region

The southern border region is one of the most diverse, economically vibrant, and safest areas of the country. Is a beautiful, welcoming and diverse place that’s home to more than 15 million people that are known for their hospitality and great food. Sadly, the national dialogue about “the border” has centered almost exclusively on notions of “security” and “enforcement”  as well as hyper militarization and walls. Politicians exploit these notions for political gain and to advance policies that are detrimental to the quality of life for the millions of people who live, work and travel through the borderlands. The truth is it’s easy to figure out what’s really going on here (hint: not a crisis). And if you really want to know what’s going on, ask the locals! For those uninitiated to the wonder that is the southern border region, here are 4 (out of countless) things WE LOVE about the southern border. Continue reading

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