This story originally appeared on Fronteras Desk, a reporting collaboration of NPR member stations in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California focused on the US-Mexico border. Audio will be available shortly.
For the first time in its history, the national union representing U.S. Border Patrol agents has endorsed a presidential candidate during primary season.
Union spokesperson Shawn Moran said, “We think this is an unprecedented time and we wanted to take a step that was going to have an impact.”
Moran says no other candidate has highlighted the border the way Trump has.
“We need a president who is going to take border security seriously and re-establish border security and immigration enforcement ninths country,” Moran said.
Those comments are in stark contrast to recent remarks made by Gil Kerlikowske, head of Customs & Border Protection. He recently told KPBS in San Diego that he rejects Trump’s call for more border walls.
“An attempt to build a wall would be very,very difficult, incredibly expensive. We have 600 miles of fencing. It is very expensive to maintain that fencing,” he said.
The union, in turn, rejects Kerlikowske’s comments.