May 26, 2018, 8:54 AM ET

Border Patrol union slams National Guard deployment as 'wasteful'


The Border Patrol union slammed the execution of the National Guard deployment to the southern border on Friday, saying that resources were being wasted and that troops were not being used as "initially planned".

"Someone in between President Trump and the folks on the border is not relaying the information correctly," Art Del Cueto, the national spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) told ABC News.

In an interview with The Los Angeles Times on Thursday, union president Brandon Judd harshly criticized the deployment of National Guard troops as "a colossal waste of resources" and of "no benefit."

Judd told the Los Angeles Times that when he found out the National Guard was going to the border he was "extremely excited because previous deployments on the border helped alleviate the Border Patrol's workload.

But this time, he told the paper, "that has not happened at all."

The union, which represents around 18,000 agents and support personnel, had hoped troops would be used in similar capacities as past deployments to the border and that they would provide support as the "eyes and ears" for Border Patrol, according to its spokesperson.

"We're not attacking President Trump. It's not his fault, but the people underneath him aren't understanding what he wants," said Del Cuento who added that he hasn't seen evidence that deploying the National Guard has helped the Border Patrol reallocate its workload to the frontlines.

The union endorsed Trump's candidacy and have been staunch supporters of the president.

Border Patrol Chief and acting deputy commissioner Ronald Vitiello defended his agency on Friday against criticism, saying "we’ve already seen dividends from it."

"The categorization that it's wasteful or it's not effective, it's not resonating with me," Vitiello said.

Vitiello said he doesn't think the union realizes that the differences are "based on the lessons learned” from previous deployments.

This comes less than two months after the Trump administration announced that it was deploying troops to the U.S.-Mexico border with the goal of gaining "operational control" of the border.

The exact goals and timeframe for the deployment are unclear.

President Trump has said he wants National Guardsmen to guard the U.S. border with Mexico until a border wall is built. Border Patrol has said the length of the deployment will be "conditions-based" and depend on the amount of funding available.

In 2006 the Bush administration deployed 6,000 guardsmen as part of the border support mission known as Operation Jump Start.

President Barack Obama deployed 1,200 guardsmen in 2010 as part of a similar mission called Operation Phalanx.

The current mission on the border is designed to free-up Border Patrol agents to carry out arrests and interdictions, according to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which oversees Border Patrol.

National Guard soldiers are not allowed to perform any federal, state, local or tribal law enforcement functions and have been assigned to duties that don't require they be armed.

"We’ve already seen dividends from it," said Vitiello.

He credited about 4,000 arrests and the confiscation of 4,000 pounds of marijuana with direct troop support.

"The Guardsmen have been great partners for us and we’re grateful that they are out there with us," said Vitiello.

As of Friday, there were just over 1,000 on-the-ground troops dedicated to supporting Border Patrol, plus 500 to 600 additional troops to provide logistics and other support, according to Vitiello.

The current on-the-ground missions include air interdiction support, road maintenance and vegetation clearing, operational support with radio operators, fleet maintenance, intelligence analysts and surveillance support.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has authorized up to 4,000 total troops to participate through the end of September.

The Department of Defense had no comment on criticism from the union.

Elizabeth Mclaughlin and Luis Martinez contributed to this story.

News - Border Patrol union slams National Guard deployment as 'wasteful'

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  • One Man

    I suspect this story may have used some out of context material. Will there be an amendment?

  • EmpressL

    There are over 21,000 Border Patrol agents thought to apprehend 1 out of 3......

    Forums For Justice.

    Just multiply 3 times the daily apprehensions. That's how you get the true number of illegals in the country!

  • Not_easy_being_green

    So when Bush and Obama’s did it, it was useful. Under Trump it is turning out to be a waste of resources (tax payers’ money).... the difference? The ability to communicate like a leader and to have realistic goals and expectations.

  • Impetus

    This sounds like pretty much exactly what Trump wanted. The guardsmen weren't needed at the border. It was all for show. Trump doesn't care what they do while they are there. He would prefer that they don't do it too well, though, because the wall has to be better.

  • William H Bockemuehl

    The rank and file says it isn't helping and the head of the union says it is. I wonder who is right (sarcasm)?

  • Riddler

    "We're not attacking President Trump. It's not his fault, but the people
    underneath him aren't understanding what he wants," said Del Cuento.
    That really sound like he's slamming Trump as the headline reads. I'll call this one "Fake Headlines," since that's all most people read.

  • Colinalcarz

    How does anyone know what Trump wanted? He doesn’t know himself.

  • Average Joe

    Hey "Border Patrol Union" the whole deployment of "Troops" National Guard was all smoke and Mirrors, majority of the public understood that the Clown was trying to show his uneducated base..that he kept a promise...just like the Clown's waste of money wall that will never get built...

  • jerryp

    Another dumb Trump decision

  • Nearl45 61

    Well, the troops were not needed. It was entirely a propaganda stunt.

  • Stephen Bishop

    I hope they've given them video games to keep them occupied.

  • Stephen Bishop

    Just like the wall, another one of Trump's stupid, Draconian ideas.

  • David Myers

    Why does border patrol need a union?

  • katerant

    Trump doesn't want the cartels competing with the Russian mob in this country.

  • Murfski

    Typical Trump operation. Get the soldiers on the ground, and then try to figure out what they're supposed to do. If he spent half the time planning that he does tweeting, he could probably get something done.
    We're going to have a summit with Kim Jong Un. No planning, no agenda, not talking points. But it got the GOP to mention a Nobel Peace Prize for him. The old expression "ready, fire, aim," might be appropriate here, except that he doesn't get ready, and doesn't aim.

  • Prophet With Honor

    "Saddle up and ride to the border boys!" versus "Let's put together strategies and tactics".

    What works better?

  • Ptah

    Let's see, what could possibly be going wrong? Oh yes, Trump thought it was a good idea. That alone should have told anyone with a functioning brain that the action would be useless at best.

  • drathvedar

    Good thing they were down there to stop that marauding band of wild Hondurans. Another Trump fairy tale.

  • snake

    When presidents Bush and Obama deployed the National Guard to support the Border Patrol they selected units with specific clerical and computer management skills in carefully selected border locations to free up additional agents to patrol the border. Of course with Trump planning and thought never goes Ito anything he does so of course poor results are inevitable.

  • Roger

    It was for show. Just like EVERYTHING trump does.

  • Dick Greyson

    Really a Union complaining about waste!!!! Go look in the mirror and get out of the way.

  • John Galt

    Well the Trump dynasty is about to go down anyway: The FBI has obtained secret wiretaps collected by Spanish police of conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a deputy governor of Russia’s central bank, the contents of which should make Donald Trump Jr. “very concerned,” a top Spanish prosecutor said Friday.

    Torshin, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, has close ties with some U.S. lawmakers and the National Rifle Association that helped him get a meeting with Trump Jr. during the gun lobby’s annual convention in May 2016.

  • drathvedar

    I guess they didn't encounter the hordes of gangsters and rapists that are pouring across the border. Trump said they were there.

  • Btheladyinred

    How is it not trumps fault if he is the one who lead this?

  • Robert Baker

    "The union endorsed Trump's candidacy and have been staunch supporters of the president."

    Finally, we learn from our mistakes . . .

  • Rat Wrangler

    Let me see now, Mr. Judd, the union president, said this deployment of the National Guard is a waste of resources, but his primary job is primarily political. Mr. Vitiello, the Border Patrol Chief, who's primary job is to run Border Patrol, said they have already seen dividends from the deployment. Considering that we have roughly 5.6 million illegal Mexicans in this country as of 2016, an indication of how well Border Patrol is doing, I'm not certain who to believe.

  • FfloydZzepp

    Poor border patrol, maybe there's a duck dynasty marathon on...

  • DEM-Castballot

    Trump-"We must put the National Guard on the border."
    Guardsman-"Private,go down town and get us 450 What a Burgers with fries.And don't forget the ketchup this time.
    We'll be over at the Trump place chillin.Too hot to patrol right now."
    Private-'Whats for dinner?"
    Guardsman-"Steaks at the steak house,but don't let the Border patrol know.They get all bent out of shape when they see we are just here for show."

  • morty harenza

    Trump just made it easier to fire federal employees. this allows supervisors to establish "hit lists' and play favorites. Anyone seen the employee review criteria? very subjective, Donnie cannot fire the union boss, just have him voted out, then have a "good ole boy" do it..

  • Truthful Opinion

    This was clearly a political move by Trump so that he can show his base, look I did something even though it's a waste of money and they don't have a real mission, I wanted them there for show.

  • rightened

    Let's see... whose word do we take? The people on the front lines of Border Patrol activities... or Trump's people?

  • FfloydZzepp

    We need to break up that union.

  • phosgene

    boy some folks inside the administration are really gunning for homeland security secretary, whatever her name is. if this story goes on "fox and friends" she's cooked.....

  • Dukedaddy

    Has Trump gotten any money from Mexico for the wall, like he promised?

  • Betty Bloop

    we definitely need an 'america first' policy for pot -- our growers need the business
    as far as the other problems -- deploying the guard was a result of media driven hysteria and a public relations move....sooner or later americans will figure out that immigration isn't the biggest problem that this country faces