U.S. Border Patrol Agent T.J. Bonner is unhappy about his uniform’s label: “Made in Mexico,” reports the Ft. Worth Star-Telegram. “It’s embarrassing to be protecting the U.S.-Mexico border and be wearing a uniform made in Mexico,” says Bonner, president of the 6,500-member agents union, the National Border Patrol Council. Besides the symbolism, agents say the outsourcing to Mexico poses national security risks if uniforms fall into the hands of criminals or potential terrorists.
Some members of Congress insist that it’s time to change labels. U.S. Rep. Rick Renzi (R-Az.), plans to push for a measure requiring that the uniforms be “made in America, baby.” Rep. John Carter (R-Tx.), shares the concern that smugglers or Mexican gang members could steal a batch of uniforms and penetrate the already porous 1,951-mile-long border between Mexico and four states in the Southwest. The uniforms are supplied through VF Solutions of Nashville under a contract that allows the apparel company to subcontract its work to plants in the U.S., Mexico, Canada, and the Dominican Republic. Customs officials have said they maintain rigid security procedures, including on-site inspections at the Mexican plant, and have detected no security breaches.