This piece represents the views of the author and not U.S. Customs and Border Protection or the Department of Homeland Security
On July 12, a group of protesters gathered at an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) detention facility in Aurora, Colo., to show their disdain for the agency’s planned immigration ‘roundups’ that weekend. The agency had scheduled arrests for individuals who are in the country illegally and had been given a final order of removal by an immigration judge. Many of those orders had been done ‘in absentia,’ meaning that the individuals had never bothered to appear for their actual immigration hearing to plead their case.
The protesters though, chose to commit the atrocious act of removing the American flag and replacing it with a Mexican flag. Yet, this was not enough for them. They clearly wanted to show the entire world how much they disapprove of President Trump and the officials that are actually enforcing the laws written by Congress – OUR Congress. After replacing the American flag with that of Mexico, this group of people lowered a Thin Blue Line flag, desecrated it and then raised it up again upside down. And still this was not enough for them. They flew a third flag with the words “F**k the Cops” written on it.
Why would they do such a thing? How could they believe that these actions were actually helping their cause? More so, what exactly is their cause if not divisiveness and hatred for simply not understanding the laws that govern our own sovereignty?
For months now, members of Congress such as Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) have been on a tireless endeavor to make the agents and officers of Customs and Border Protection ‘Enemy Number One.’ Their vile and malignant rhetoric, which has depicted our courageous men and women in uniform as Nazis, murderers, rapists and inhumane usurpers, has led many of their followers to take these types of actions.
To make matters worse, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) have done nothing to stop or condemn these attacks against our agents and officers.
And now, now they attack what I believe to be the most precious symbol in our country… the American flag.
It could be that I am offended so much by this act because I am a military veteran. It could also be that their actions hurt me because I am a Border Patrol agent and have thousands of brothers and sisters in law enforcement. Brothers and sisters who sacrifice their own families and well-being to enforce the laws that protect us all.
But why would I, a person who grew up as a poor Mexican migrant who picked crops for a living, feel this way? I was that kid who slept on the floor until the age of 15. I was that kid who had to learn English as a second language. Am I not the type of person that these congressional officials are supposedly fighting for? Could it be that having joined the military and later becoming a law enforcement official made them hate me so much?
And not just me: What about the thousands of police officers who risk their lives every day for us all? What of all those soldiers who have given their everything and continue to sacrifice their entire way of life to protect us, protect one another, and protect them… the very people who seem to hate us all, Congress?
What this group of protesters doesn’t seem to understand is the significance of the American flag. Sadly, many in Congress have also forgotten its meaning and why it’s such a precious symbol to millions of Americans… Proud Americans.
In many first-responder organizations such as our military, Customs and Border Protection, fire departments and the hundreds, if not thousands, of police departments throughout our nation, the American flag is a constant reminder of so many things.
It reminds us of the struggles we have endured together as a platoon, a unit, a department, a country.
It humbles us as the sons, daughters, brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers who have been at the breaking point with loss yet somehow survived those heartbreaking trials and lived to see another day.
It grants us strength when we need it the most as we face the many obstacles and challenges that life throws at us for merely being a man or woman in uniform who has sworn an oath to defend America.
It stores the memory of all those brothers and sisters we’ve lost in war.
It reminds us of the partners we’ve lost responding to a crime scene, who sacrificed themselves to save a life.
It is our symbol of hope in times of despair such as the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Lastly, it is our ultimate symbol of love when you add all these reasons together and realize that it unites us and grants us the courage to always do our best because so many individuals that we care for have given their lives doing just that… THEIR BEST FOR US ALL!
The views expressed here are the writer’s and are not necessarily endorsed by Homeland Security Today, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints in support of securing our homeland. To submit a piece for consideration, email [email protected] Our editorial guidelines can be found here.