The National Border Patrol Council's endorsement of Donald Trump suggests the group condones abuse and cruelty towards illegal immigrants, according to the New York Times' editorial board.
"If union leaders had their members' interests in mind, they would not be aligning with vigilantes and nativists, birthers and borderline lunatics. They would know better than to view all unauthorized migrants as a class of hardened criminals," the paper asserted Tuesday.
The Times added, "The vast proportion of the 11 million unauthorized immigrants who are already living here are not criminals, don't think or behave like criminals, and deserve a chance to stay, as immigrants have always done. This is the truth, but truth hardly matters to politicians who prey on fear and hate."
The Border Patrol, which represents nearly 16,500 border agents, has never endorsed a candidate in a primary before.
"There is no greater physical or economic threat to Americans today than our open border," the council said in a statement, adding that it, "asks the American people to support Mr. Trump in his mission to finally secure the border of the United States of America, before it is too late."
The council warned of growing threats from, "gangs, cartels and violent criminals preying on the innocent."
For the Times, this is more than "politicized cop-talk." The council's endorsement if Trump represents a really dangerous and ugly turn in American politics.
"The lies behind it have preoccupied the country for a generation, consuming billions of dollars for miles of walls, razor wire, drones, sensors and a surge of agents and troops. Despite the union's apocalyptic warnings, the border is more militarized than ever, and arrests there are at historic lows," the board argued.
"Illegal immigration has been falling for years. More Mexicans are leaving the country than entering. President Obama, far from abandoning immigration enforcement, has deported more people — more than two million — more quickly than his predecessors," they added. "A recent migrant influx in Texas consists of terrorized mothers and children fleeing Central America, trying legally to seek asylum. They deserve protection and the due process of law, not the administration's aggressive efforts to deter and deport them."
When Trump announced that he would run for president in June 2015, he promised he'd clean up the country's broken immigration system by building a "great wall" on America's southern border.
He also accused Mexico of burdening the United States with its riffraff.
"They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime," Trump said. "They're rapists and some, I assume, are good people, but I speak to border guards and they're telling us what we're getting."
Since then, the real estate mogul has promised supporters repeatedly that he will "make Mexico pay for the wall," and his talk on immigration reform has been one of the defining features of his campaign.
The Times argued, however, that people like the billionaire businessman merely feed off "fear" and "ignorance."
"Mr. Trump's immigration views are driven by defiant ignorance. That they should be embraced by a union whose taxpayer-paid members are the face of the immigration policies of the United States is appalling," the board said.
But the union instead engages in "fantasy claptrap," the Times wrote.
The rhetoric used in things like the Border Patrol's podcast, which has in the past criticized President Obama and the Black Lives Matter movement, "feeds the thinking that dehumanizes migrants, that tolerates reckless violence by border agents," the board wrote.
The paper concluded, "It reveals an attitude that condones abuse and cruelty toward those in custody and justifies the profiling and harassment of drivers on the highway. And that perspective, not surprisingly, finds common cause with Mr. Trump."