Today’s highly interesting read (01/27/23): The Weight of the Badge

Today’s read is from Alison Anderson who lives in Del Rio, Texas, with her husband, a Border Patrol agent of 15+ years, and their three young daughters.

The Weight of the Badge

A Border Patrol agent fills out paperwork while detaining a large group of illegal immigrants near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 20, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

A Border Patrol agent fills out paperwork while detaining a large group of illegal immigrants near Eagle Pass, Texas, on May 20, 2022. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

January 24, 2023
Editor’s note: Some readers may find the following descriptions distressing.

My husband has held and desperately tried to breathe life back into the tiny body of an infant girl found drowned in the Rio Grande—looking into her big beautiful yet empty lifeless eyes and asking her to “Come on baby, breathe for me!” She was the same age as our own daughter at the time. She had later been found to have been brutalized and savagely abused—her body suspected to have been used as payment to cross the river.

It’s experiences like this one that create an immeasurable weight for our Border Patrol agents to carry. Those images don’t ever go away.

Or maybe it’s when agents like my husband are rushing to aid fellow law enforcement officers after hearing “Shots fired! Shots fired!” come over the radio. After a fleeing smuggler wrecks his vehicle and flees on foot, he fires at the officers who were in pursuit. Responding agents quickly send out “I love you” texts to their loved ones, knowing it very well could be their last communication with their families. On Christmas Eve, this was the reality for my family. I was the wife who was anxiously waiting hours before knowing if my husband was alright or not. He was with the K-9, actively searching the brush for the armed smugglers who shot at Texas state troopers, because under this administration there exists an overwhelming and unwavering amount of lawlessness from smugglers and criminal illegal aliens. All this while our agents continue to risk everything every single day.

Or maybe it’s when smuggling vehicles are rolling over at high rates of speed, after our agents have worked their third pursuit for the week, only this one has bodies and limbs scattered in the brush. The first responders can’t count how many people were in the vehicle but are instead left counting body parts. None of them are able to forget the smell of the blood that covered their uniforms that day.

Or maybe it’s finding the remains of a 32-year-old female in the brush. The smell of death only now faintly exists due to how long she’s been exposed to the elements. The agents can’t initially tell that it’s a female, but find an ID in a small crossbody bag near where critters had dragged off some of her lower extremities.

Or maybe it’s finding a 14-year-old girl who has been left for dead in the brush, savagely brutalized by the males in the group she illegally crossed into the United States with. Her face has been beaten to a point that she’s barely recognizable, and she’s left clinging to life, needing to be carried out of the brush.

Or maybe it’s finding a “family unit” with an infant and a 3-year-old, both sick with COVID-19, covered in scabies, and showing signs of heat-related illnesses. When agents ask the “parents,” they say the kids haven’t eaten in days. The children are terrified, sick, and starving, and need emergency hospital treatment—yet no one is charged with child endangerment or neglect.

Or maybe it’s the fact that agents were good enough to throw into the middle of 18,000-plus Haitians under the Del Rio Sector port of entry during a pandemic, with absolutely zero screening or vaccination requirements for contagious illnesses (including COVID-19) among the illegal immigrants. But after many agents contracted COVID-19, they were told to get the jab or get fired. There’s no better way to show your agents you care about their well-being like threatening their careers.

Or maybe it’s the fact that Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas can mislead endlessly, and even state the “border is secure,” and in the process discredit agents’ accounts of the realities of what’s happening along the southern border, creating such a great disrepute for our agents, at the same time dismantling years of hard work to continue the illusion that there’s no crisis.

Or maybe it’s the fact that there’s a massive fentanyl crisis happening, and, with the immeasurable amount of it pouring over our open border, agents have to be extremely cautious due to the deadly nature of fentanyl and how often they’re coming into contact with it.

Or maybe it’s knowing that even when they get a day in the field, and spend all day cutting for sign in 110 degrees and pushing groups through thick mesquite, sweating clean through their uniforms, with salt stains on their hats and backs, that they’ll later watch as group after group they catch are released and not deported as they should be. While those agents not in the field are left to process endlessly.

What Border Patrol agents have been forced to endure under the policies that this current administration has created to intentionally circumvent our immigration laws is a slap in the face of every single Border Patrol agent, past and present. Agents have been made to appear powerless in the eyes of those breaking our laws. Agents’ reputations and identities have been stolen from them by this administration.

A lot of Border Patrol agents are also combat veterans. My husband is one. These agents aren’t going to just come forward and say, “I want to talk about my feelings.” It’s important to understand that if an agent were to come forward seeking help, and state that they have some type of mental health issue(s), they get put on the “rubber gun squad” and have their law enforcement authority revoked.

It’s heartbreaking to know that some of the most hard-working and selfless agents in our nation can’t even get the basic fundamental help they need and deserve without jeopardizing their careers. Saying to agents that mental health assistance is offered and those agents being able to utilize that assistance without facing humiliation, judgment, or having their law enforcement authority revoked, are two very different things.

Border Patrol families are struggling with watching our beloved agents, our spouses, our brothers and sisters in green, succumb to the darkness that encompasses mental illness while enduring these horrendous, abusive, and demoralizing work conditions.

Our Border Patrol agents deserve better.

Our Border Patrol agents deserve to be allowed to do their jobs, enforce the law, and secure our border.

Honor first.

Honor always.

Alison Anderson

A proud Border Patrol wife


“The Wall: Unknown Stories, Unintended Consequences,” a special report from 2017 led by the Arizona Republic, won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory reporting. An article by the Las Cruces Sun-News, which is part of the USA TODAY Network, was part of the special report.

3 thoughts on “Today’s highly interesting read (01/27/23): The Weight of the Badge

  1. Pingback: Steps for election integrity; border patrol agents; self-defense shootings; cold wx kills; the importance of family | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

  2. Pingback: Steps for election integrity; border patrol agents; self-defense shootings; cold wx kills; the importance of family | This Just In… From Franklin, WI

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