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Winning the Messaging Battle, Part II

NYT Op-Ed Calls For Public Shaming of Border Patrol Agents

AP Photo/Eric Gay

In a New York Times op-ed, assistant professor of human rights Kate Cronin-Furman called for the identities of U.S Border Patrol agents to be made public so as to shame them for their mistreatment of illegal migrants. 


The University College London professor wrote that she wants to expose the "midlevel functionaries who make the system run" in order to stop their activities. 

She started her piece with the observation that agents' identities are not hard to find. 

"The identities of the individual Customs and Border Protection agents who are physically separating children from their families and staffing the detention centers are not undiscoverable," she wrote.

"Immigration lawyers have agent names; journalists reporting at the border have names, photos and even videos. These agents’ actions should be publicized, particularly in their home communities."

Cronin-Furman brought up the backlash agents would face once their identities were known. She reasoned that this "social cost" would cause some of them to quit--her key objective. 

"The knowledge, for instance, that when you go to church on Sunday, your entire congregation will have seen you on TV ripping a child out of her father’s arms is a serious social cost to bear. The desire to avoid this kind of social shame may be enough to persuade some agents to quit and may hinder the recruitment of replacements," she argued.

The assistant professor went on to explain that this "social cost" would extend to the international realm, meaning agents would be "unable to travel freely."


"For someone who is ‘just following orders,’ the prospect of being internationally shamed as a rights abuser and being unable to travel freely may be significant enough to persuade them to stop participating," she wrote.

Cronin-Furman's comments come amid Democratic outrage over conditions at the southern border. As CBP agents attempt to stem the flow of illegal migrants into the U.S., they must use underfunded, overcrowded facilities. 

In reaction to the crisis, Congress passed a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid bill after both Democrats and Republicans alike were mobilized. 

On Friday, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security said that he expects the number of migrants apprehended at the border to decrease 25 percent in the month of June, due to Mexico increasing efforts to enforce migration laws.

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