When you think of our Border Patrol and ICE agents, what image comes to mind? Chances are, you envision an army of armed law enforcement officers standing guard, ready to do what it takes to impede the flow of undocumented immigrants, illegal drugs and human trafficking into the country.
But there’s another view that often goes unseen: these same federal officers, offering humanitarian aid and assistance to countless immigrants who end their journey to America exhausted, dehydrated, and injured.
“Border Patrol isn’t heartless. We go out there to do a job, but at the same token, we’re human beings,” said Robert Russell, president of AFGE Local 1929, which represents Border Patrol agents in El Paso, Texas.
Russell and other employee representatives discuss the rescue and relief efforts of law enforcement officers stationed along the border in a new video being released today.
The video is the second in the union’s “Walking the Line” series, which highlights the often harsh realities faced by Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents in securing the southern U.S. border.
The flood of immigrants crossing the border along the Rio Grande Valley this year has far outpaced the resources to house and care for them. As a result, Border Patrol and ICE agents have been giving of their own time and money to care for them.
“You’ll see agents carrying out infants, you’ll see agents giving up money to buy formula, buy diapers. I’ve seen agents carry out old women on their back,” said Robert Pepperdine, vice president of AFGE Local 2544 in Tucson, Arizona.