Fox News Seizes On Mexico-Made Border Patrol Uniforms To Fuel Myths Of Afghanistan-Style Attacks
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Fox News hosts speculated that uniforms made in Mexico for the U.S. Border Patrol could end up in the wrong hands and ultimately fuel situations similar to those in Afghanistan -- where Taliban fighters wearing Afghan security or coalition uniforms have launched attacks on U.S. soldiers. In fact, no such attack related to Border Patrol uniforms has yet to be reported. Moreover, these uniforms have been manufactured in Mexican factories by an American company for nearly a decade.
In six different instances over two hours, Fox & Friends hosts suggested that Mexicans would be able to use the uniforms to cross the border illegally without notice. Though Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham acknowledged that factories in Mexico manufacture a host of uniforms for American companies, she went on to say of the Border Patrol uniforms:
INGRAHAM: If they're made down there, presumably they could be stolen down there. And we know what happens in insider attacks in Afghanistan where we've lost incredible men who have donated and served this country so proudly.
But as a June 2004 Washington Times report explained, the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) contract allowed VF Solutions, an American company now known as VF Imagewear, to subcontract its work to Mexico, Canada and the Dominican Republic:
The new uniforms were supplied through a contract with VF Solutions of Nashville, Tenn., which agreed to produce 30,000 shirts and pants for CBP agents and inspectors for the 2003-04 fiscal year that began Oct. 1. But the contract allows the company to subcontract its work to other facilities in the United States, Mexico, Canada and the Dominican Republic.
The Times article also highlighted fears of security breaches even then:
New Border Patrol uniforms, ordered in the wake of the agency's transfer last year to the Department of Homeland Security, arrived this month and some agents are not very happy: The new uniforms were "Made in Mexico."
"I'm embarrassed, not only as a Border Patrol agent but as an American citizen, that our government has decided to outsource the production of these uniforms with no regard for the safety of the process or the security of our country," said Joseph N. Dassaro, president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 1613 in San Diego.
"What system is in place to ensure that these uniforms are not stolen en masse or sold outright in Mexico to be used by terrorists, alien smugglers or drug dealers who could cross unimpeded into the United States?" asked Mr. Dassaro, a veteran agent.
More than $30 million in new uniforms have been ordered for the Border Patrol by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), a new agency within Homeland Security that now oversees the border force. Homeland Security was created in March 2003 after the September 11 terrorist attacks on America.
CBP reportedly renewed its contract with VF Imagewear, Inc in December 2012, and said in a statement to CNSNews.com: "There are no domestic preference regulations or statutes applicable to DHS/CBP that would prohibit the manufacture of uniform items in Mexico. ... In fact, United States obligations under International Agreements require that the Agency accept items manufactured in Mexico."