A union that represents Border Patrol agents recently deleted a webpage that said building walls and fences along the border to stop illegal immigration would be “wasting taxpayer money.”
The deleted webpage, posted in 2012, argued that border barriers don’t tackle the root causes of migration — and could potentially encourage more migrants to enter the U.S. fraudulently or overstay visas.
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The webpage was taken down after the union’s president endorsed the wall at a White House news briefing earlier this month.
“Walls and fences are temporary solutions that focus on the symptom (illegal immigration) rather than the problem (employers who knowingly hire illegal aliens),” the union wrote in a media FAQ.
The federal government has been partially shuttered for 21 days over President Donald Trump’s demand of $5.7 billion for a border wall. The president has touted the support of the 14,000-member National Border Patrol Council during the shutdown, which will become the longest in history over the weekend.
The Border Patrol union endorsed Trump during his 2016 campaign and continues to be an administration ally. Brandon Judd, the council’s president, joined the president during a surprise appearance at the Jan. 3 White House news briefing to make the case for border barriers.
At the briefing, Judd called physical barriers “an absolute necessity” to secure the border and thanked Trump for his efforts to procure funding for the project.
In an email to POLITICO, Judd said the webpage represented the position of previous union leaders and had caused confusion on the union’s website.
Judd, who was elected union president in 2013, said he “vehemently disagreed” with the union’s earlier opposition to border barriers.
Judd said the page was left online because the union didn’t want to hide from its earlier stance. “But because it continually gets brought up we made the decision to take it down,“ he added.
The webpage blasting border walls and fences disappeared from the union’s website on Jan. 4 or sometime thereafter, according to Wayback Machine, which archived the page. VICE’s Motherboard first reported news of the deletion.
On the deleted webpage, the union makes an emphatic case against physical barriers.
“Walls and fences are only a speed bump,” the webpage reads. “People who want to come to the United States to obtain employment will continue to go over, under, and around the walls and fences that are constructed.”
The union argued additional barriers “will undoubtedly result in an increase in fraudulent documents and smuggling through the ports of entry” as frustrated migrants seek other modes of entry.“
Still, the union said at the time that physical barriers will remain “essential” if the federal government doesn’t target employers who hire undocumented immigrants.