In the current events department, here's an excerpt from a ProPublica article about a challenge coin making the rounds among the U.S. Border
An unofficial commemorative coin has been circulating among Border Patrol agents at the U.S./Mexico border, mocking the task of caring for migrant children
and other duties that have fallen to agents as families cross into the U.S.
On the front, the coin declares “KEEP THE CARAVANS COMING” under an image of a massive parade of people carrying a Honduran flag — a caricature of the
“caravan” from last fall, which started in Honduras and attracted thousands of people as it moved north. (While the caravan included many women and children,
the only visible figures on the coin appear to be adult men.)
The coin's reverse side features the Border Patrol logo and three illustrations: a Border Patrol agent bottle-feeding an infant; an agent fingerprinting a
teen boy wearing a backwards baseball cap; and a U.S. Border Patrol van. The text along the edge reads “FEEDING ** PROCESSING ** HOSPITAL ** TRANSPORT.”
The coin appears to poke fun at the fact that many border agents are no longer out patrolling and instead are now caring for and processing migrants —
including families and children.
Government officials told ProPublica the coin was not approved or paid for by the government, unlike official “challenge coins” that go through an agency
The coin is part of a tradition of unofficial “challenge coins” — which generally outnumber official ones — which are common in the military and law
enforcement as a way for members to celebrate achievements and build camaraderie.
This article and other outlets describe the coin as mocking migrants, but as the article points out, it could also be a way for law enforcement personnel to
vent frustration at tasks they feel aren't what they signed up for when taking the job. -Editor
Some agents say that childcare and support have an opportunity cost: Any time an agent spends driving a van full of children to a child-only facility, for
example, is time not spent “in the field” apprehending people who are trying to get away.
“Us caring for kids and families, that's not the frustration,” Garza said. “Drugs coming into the country? That is a frustration. People with criminal
records coming in and us not being able to catch them? That is a frustration.”
To read the complete article, see:
Border Patrol Agents
Are Passing Around A Commemorative Coin Mocking Care for Migrant Kids
Wayne Homren, Editor
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