Surging Suicide Rates Among Border Patrol Agents Should Warn Us

AP Photo/Christian Chavez

An alarming new report claims that the suicide rate among border patrol agents is more than double the percentage of suicides among all other law enforcement agencies. It is double what it was in 2020 and has tripled from the number in 2014. 


Reports of rotting human flesh, rape, abuse of children and toddlers being used as decoys have become what seems like a normal day for some patrol agents. 

One agent told of how two toddlers dressed in only diapers were dropped near his feet while a man ran away. When he rushed to assist the babies, the man, presumably the coyote smuggler, used the distraction to help a group of migrants run across the border and escape the patrolman. Forced to choose between the vulnerable children or the criminals, he chose the children. 

“When I couldn’t pursue those men, I felt like I was letting the American people down.” 

Another told of a 13-year-old girl who was raped twice by her handler, who threatened to harm her younger brother if she did not comply. Yet another account told of a family of five that hugged a patrolman desperately and thanked him when he found them because they had been abandoned in the desert by their handler. These instances don’t even scratch the surface of the report, and even worse, all that is not reported.

“We are meant to serve a law enforcement purpose. That’s what we signed up for and are trained for. But suddenly, we’re now expected to act as a humanitarian relief agency, which requires an entirely different set of skills, expectations, resources, and responsibilities. . . ones that most of us don’t have.”


This unfair burden is proving too heavy on many patrol agents, and it’s our fault. While politicians bicker, this crisis has spiraled out of control worse than anyone could have imagined during Biden’s term. Border states and their law enforcement feel abandoned by the lack of resolve and support. 

Many of the agents who work on the border sympathize with the reason why some want to immigrate to the States. They also know, however, that hardened criminals, drug dealers, and gangsters come in with these crowds. 

“How would you feel when you have a guy in front of you, demanding asylum, holding his young daughter’s hand, smiling at you, and lying to your face, using the same line he’s been coached what to say to get into the country, even though his rap sheet shows he was arrested for sexual abuse of minors, including the young girl? If you separate the child, she’ll scream and be traumatized. If you keep them together, then you run the very high risk that she’ll be sexually traumatized again. You tell me, which trauma is the lesser evil?”

For those who claim to have compassion for immigrants, let us ponder this question: Is allowing illegal smuggling routes through unsecured borders protecting those who are vulnerable, like women, children, and the less fortunate who are seeking a better life? Laws protect the vulnerable. Lawlessness will always favor the ruthless and heartless. It is the humane thing to do to secure the borders. It is our responsibility. Failure to do so is, at best, cowardice or negligence, but apathy at worst. 


Our border patrol agents deserve the support of our country and to have reasonable expectations put on them. Our laws should promote order and safety for all. This crisis is unacceptable and the guilt is on the hands of those who have negligently looked away. 


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