The Border Patrol union’s endorsement of Donald Trump has been met with calls for the AFL-CIO to kick the border guards’ union out of its federation.
Hours after the National Border Patrol Council endorsed Trump – its first endorsement in a primary – the immigration activist and anti-deportation group #Not1More had posted a petition online calling for the AFL-CIO to take action.
#Not1More says in a letter to the AFL-CIO published with the online petition that the Border Patrol union’s endorsement of the “racist and xenophobic” Trump campaign furthers the council’s record of countering the AFL-CIO.
“The National Border Patrol Council’s presence in the house of labor has been tolerated for too long,” the group said.
A spokesman for the council was not immediately available when contacted by NBC News Latino.
AFL-CIO President Trumka has a pro-immigration reform stance, which includes border security measures. Trumka has argued that keeping millions of workers in the country illegally and continuing with some of the dysfunction in the immigration system is a drag on all American workers’ wages.
A spokesman for the AFL-CIO could not be immediately reached for comment. The AFL-CIO is a federation of 56 national and international labor unions representing 12.5 million people, according to its website.
In its endorsement, the Border Patrol Council said it was breaking its longstanding practice of not endorsing in primaries by endorsing Trump.
The council called Trump an outsider who has created thousands of jobs, is pledging to bring about change and is “completely independent of special interests.”
“We need a person in the White House who doesn’t fear the media, who doesn’t embrace political correctness, who doesn’t need the money, who is familiar with success, who won’t bow to foreign dictators, who is pro-military and values law enforcement, and who is angry for America and NOT subservient to the interests of other nations,” the group said.
The union cheered Trump’s rhetoric and praised him for not backing down on his “bold and necessary” statements made in his campaign.
When he declared he was running for president, Trump said Mexico has been sending Mexicans to the U.S. who are rapists and criminals and who bring drugs He has gone on to call for suspension of immigration by Muslims to the U.S. and made other statements that have been considered offensive or racist.
The U.S. Border Patrol has a number of Hispanic employees. In an annual performance report for fiscal 2014, Customs and Border Protection stated about 39 percent of its armed officers and 50 percent of Border Patrol agents were Hispanic. The support staff also includes Latinos.
The council’s Trump endorsement comes at a time when illegal immigration is down and more Mexicans are leaving the U.S., some with their American citizen children, than are migrating here. But the border has seen a rise in people coming from Central America, many of them children on their own, amid the violence in that country.
The Border Patrol union, which negotiates pay, working conditions, benefits and other issues on behalf of Border Patrol personnel, has previously opposed the AFL-CIO’s efforts on immigration reform and criticized the Border Patrol commissioner on his policies.