Border Patrol Union Ousts Pro-Reform Chief For One Of Their Own

The union opposed Mark Morgan's efforts to increase transparency, accountability, and clearer guidelines on use of force by Border Patrol agents.


Union strong

The United States Border Patrol has a new chief, Ronald Vitiello, who has spent 30 years rising in the agency's ranks. Vitiello was appointed with the full backing of his union, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC), which also vocally backed President Trump's candidacy and which fiercely opposed the previous chief, Mark Morgan, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama.

Morgan had spent his career in the FBI and was thus considered an outsider to the rank and file of the Border Patrol. He had supported reforming the culture of the agency, including increased transparency, more vigorous investigations of misconduct, and stricter rules regarding the use of deadly force. Morgan had also gone public with his support of immigration reform, infuriating the agents under his command.

Yet even with a reform-minded chief at the helm, the internal agency board created to vigorously investigate numerous disturbing allegations of excessive force by Border Patrol agents absolved those agents of wrongdoing every time.

Shortly after Trump's election, the NBPC executive board published an op-ed in Breitbart calling Morgan "a disgrace to the Border Patrol." And last week, a day after Trump signed an executive order officially calling for the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall, Morgan was asked to resign from his leadership post.

NBPC union head Brandon Judd told the Associated Press last month that Morgan "didn't know the job to begin with," and said in a statement earlier this week, "The previous administration's attempts to treat the Border Patrol like any law enforcement agency resulted in leadership that was reactive and in constant crisis." When the union publicly backed Trump in March 2016, it released a statement justifying its first-ever presidential endorsement by arguing "if we do not secure our borders, American communities will continue to suffer at the hands of gangs, cartels and violent criminals preying on the innocent. The lives and security of the American people are at stake…"

The Border Patrol has jurisdiction over 8,000 miles of land and coastal areas, as well as any area within 100 miles of the Canadian and Mexican borders, where it operates about 170 checkpoints and conducts "dragnet, suspicionless stops that cannot be reconciled with Fourth Amendment protections," according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Watch Reason TV's classic video "Holding Border Patrol Accountable: Terry Bressi on Recording his 300+ Checkpoint Interactions" below.

NEXT: Trump Admin Revoked 100,000+ Visas, Govt Attorney Tells Judge—State Dept Says It's Under 60,000

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  1. Oh, yeah, I forgot. There’s a cost to beefing up border security.

    1. Are you referring to money or ethics?

  2. I suppose having a union boss that reflects the desires of the membership of that union is a no go?

    I don’t have to agree with the NBPC’s membership to think it odd that someone would support having a leader antithetical to their views be imposed on them.

    Hell, even the Teamsters, AFSCME and the SEIU have elections, right?

    1. This is why we shouldn’t have government employee unions. “Transparency, more vigorous investigations of misconduct, and stricter rules regarding the use of deadly force” should even be up for debate with border patrol employees, they shouldn’t get a say at all.

    2. It’s not the head of the union, it’s the head of the agency itself.

    3. Doh!

      BP boss ? union boss.

  3. Crap, I blew it… I should have said

    “You know who else had union leadership removed in favor of others that had closer matching views?”

    1. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz?

    2. Ronald Reagan.

    3. The Young Pope

    4. Whoever killed Jimmy Hoffa?


        He fell out of the boat and forgot he couldn’t swim with that much weight attached to his feet and that many bullet holes in him. Sure, the plastic bag around his head kept any water from getting into his lungs, but his lungs weren’t working so good at that point anyway.

    5. Jock Yablonski?

    6. John Wilkes Booth?

  4. Anthony,
    Did you fact check this article before posting?

    1. It’s 2017. To stay relevant you need to be on the cutting edge of the latest breaking stories and if you don’t rush to judgement, someone else will get those clicks. Okay?

    2. Which parts are wrong?

  5. 1) I enjoy this type of reporting from Reason.

    2) I want to see a LOT more reporting from Ms. Tracy Oppenheimer. Why can’t we get more libertarian women like that?!??

  6. You can rely on a public sector union to take a legitimate issue like immigration reform and make it all crony-tastic.

  7. When the union publicly backed Trump in March 2016, it released a statement justifying its first-ever presidential endorsement

    How the fuckity fuck do government workers get a fucking union that’s free to make political endorsements? You work for me, goddammit, and so does your boss – the guy sitting across from you at the negotiating table. How the hell do my employees get the right to negotiate amongst themselves how much I’m going to pay them and what their terms of employment are going to be?

    1. They’ll be happy to explain it to you if you just bend over…

    2. How the fuckity fuck do government workers get a fucking union

      You could’ve stopped there and been just as right.

      Fuck public sector unions. Especially fuck unions for police officers/correctional officers/border patrol officers/fuck, there’s probably one for animal control officers isn’t there/Warty control officers/etc.

      1. “Warty control officers”

        Who drew suicide duty?

    3. It does seem to effect a nice end-run around the Hatch Act…

  8. Anthony L. FisherVerified account ?@anthonyLfisher Jan 25

    No one “sends” refugees.

    George Soros and the governments of Turkey and Greece disagree with that assessment. Hell the EU disagrees. The state sponsored refugee settlement NGOs disagree.

  9. I wonder how unbelievably corrupted by drug money the Border Patrol actually is

    not that its a source, but i seem to recall in the movie Sicario that the FBI/DEA never clued in the BPA about any ongoing investigations because they thought it would be simpler to just tell the Cartels directly.

    1. Virtually the entire border patrol and its attendant personnel expenditures and pension liabilities could be replaced by a simple mixture of minimum-metal / non-metallic anti-armor and anti-personnel mines for pennies on the dollar. Why none of our fiscally conservative politicians are advocating this policy, especially when we have employed it to great success in other areas subject to unwanted migration, is beyond me.

      1. Probably because we’re not inhumane pieces of shit.

        1. I’m not sure that’s it. When the North Koreans were literally eating each other for lack of food nobody here was calling for us to clear our minefields on the DMZ so refugees from the North could flee south as opposed to west through China. China, who will ship them back into the loving arms of the Dear Leader’s firing squad. The ‘humanitarian crisis’ in the southlands is bad but it is not, nor has it been, North Korea bad. If you’re argument is that politicians, or the electorate, don’t wish to appear inhumane then perhaps I can see it.

          1. My point wasn’t really about “illegal immigrants” as much as how futile it is to have a border patrol that is likely entirely in the pocket of criminal cartels to begin with

            Tho i think your “landmines as replacement for wall” idea has merit, and should be tabled alongside my own “Shark-filled moat” concept

            1. Noted. The fact that you can’t bribe a landmine was perhaps a suppressed premise.

  10. Anthony L. FisherVerified account ?@anthonyLfisher Feb 2
    Milo=Morton Downey Jr. with a British accent. Let his schtick run its course and he’ll go away.

    You mean let the antifa thugs run him off the course and then he’ll go away. Given what just happened to Milo in Berkley, your twatty little comment here tells everyone exactly where your priorities are.

    1. Are you old enough to remember Morton Downey, Jr?

      For the younguns, here is a clip of a show he did with Roy Innis and Al Sharpton.

  11. They were just jealous of how awesome the soundtrack for Torment was.

  12. There is a fair amount of dissension among Border Patrol Agents regarding the union. As the agency has grown so has the union and the executive board has been accused of being out of touch with the rank and file. The union does not negotiate pay and benefits. They do negotiate a contract with the agency regarding working conditions, disciplinary actions and other operational items. The ACLU should, if they haven’t, research the legal issues regarding checkpoints. The Supreme Court found them, in US v. Martinez-Fuerte to not be a violation of the fourth amendment and did not require probable cause to conduct immigration inspections. It could be time for another challenge since in recent years the focus at checkpoints seems to have become more about drug interdiction that immigration.

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