About half the agents who patrol the southern US border are Latinos. For Vicente Paco, an immigrant himself, heritage is not to be confused with patriotism
Vicente Paco was born in Mexico and while in school, he learned about how United States marines invaded Mexico, slaughtered Mexicans and annexed Mexican territory. Their green uniform was so detested, it allegedly produced the term gringo green go.
Paco now wears the green of a US Border Patrol agent in a desert that used to be Mexican. He also does everything he can to stop Mexicans, and others, from illegally entering the US. In the economic and political logic of todays border, this constructs complete sense.
Look. Thats where they slid down, said Paco, indicating hand marks on the 18 ft rusting steel fencing separating the Arizona town of Nogales from the Mexican city of Nogales. If they make it into township they try to blend in with the local population, but the fence often rips their attire and leaves rust on their hands. Thats what we look for.
Paco, 35, trim and fit, has a 4×4 vehicle with a green stripe plus a handgun, Taser, knife, handcuffs, binoculars and radio connecting him with 4,000 colleagues who control the 262 -mile stretch of border in the Tucson sector.
He is a naturalized US citizen and believes in the Border Patrols mission. Our chore is to secure the border. When I put on the uniform Im a Border Patrol agent before anything else.
No matter that Paco may cheer Mexicos soccer team when it plays the US( he declined to say whom he would cheer for ), he does his task. Im always a Border Patrol agent regardless of my heritage or where I come from, he said.
Under ordinary situations, that should hardly be news. About half of the agents who patrol the 2,000 -mile southern border are Latinos and no one has questioned their commitment.
But the election campaign injected race and ethnicity into politics, especially the immigration debate. Donald Trump disparaged Mexicans, calling them rapists and offenders. He accused a US federal judge, Gonzalo Curiel, of bias because of his Mexican heritage. He vowed to deport millions of undocumented people and to build a wall along the entire frontier to keep out bad hombres.