A recent video posted on X by Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Chief Patrol Agent Robert Danley shows border agents training in crowd control scenarios. However, you can’t ignore that the actors in the video are portraying protesters holding signs that read “Trump Fascist” and “ACAB” and not depicting migrants or asylum-seekers trying to enter the United States.

Video of Border Patrol agents training in crowd control situations to quell protesters

Several X users took screenshots noting the protest signs that show what conservatives would classify as “leftist” slogans. The training video should serve as a reminder of CBP’s growing powers over U.S. citizens. Despite all the so-called “crises” at the border, CBP always seems to have the resources to stop, question, and harass U.S. citizens 100 miles from any border. While seemingly innocuous, they constantly disrupt small and large communities alike.

It’s a civil liberties issue that transcends party politics.

The ever-increasing powers granted to CBP without question or oversight are alarming many communities across the country. In some cases, entire states are affected by the federal law enforcement agency overstepping its boundaries into local policing despite federal law barring federal agencies from enforcing local laws.

A recent case had CBP agents get involved in a high-speed chase over a stolen van that had nothing to do with border security. An agent saw a vehicle that fit the description of the vehicle and called it into El Centro Sector radio communications who confirmed it was stolen. At this point, the agent began attempting to stop the vehicle and apprehend the suspect instead of reporting it to local police and assisting by request only as the law requires.

The chase ended in a crash that killed the suspect.

A leaked memo to then-Senator Kamala Harris obtained by The Nation revealed the extent of DHS/CBP actions outside of its duties during the Black Lives Matter protests in the summer of 2020

CBP’s role increasingly exceeds its boundaries and blurs the line between itself and local law enforcement with little (if any) accountability. In a story I reported in April for Unicorn Riot, I went more in-depth into just how problematic CBP has become and how much worse it will likely get thanks in large part to a huge boost in funding that was based on a manufactured crisis at the border — duping liberals and conservatives alike.

Even now, extremists who were empowered by the media hype about immigration months ago have built momentum and are beginning to target Latino immigrants in mass murder plots. And it’s no wonder why. Watching the news media shift narratives after the “surge” of migrants when Title 42 was lifted didn’t manifest was telling. Like stink on shit, they jumped on bashing migrants that were being bused to cities – in violation of migrants’ civil rights – instead of focusing on the culprit who created the problem: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

These narratives make it increasingly easy for the government to encroach on our rights. Since 9/11 and the advent of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), that’s precisely what has been happening. The idea of placing anything they choose under the umbrella of national security began under the George W. Bush administration. Doing so makes it easier to manufacture consent to grant branches of government excessive powers under the Patriot Act

Image showing the limits of CBP operations within the U.S. (not including points of entry such as airports) | Courtesy of the ACLU

Media panic and hype meant to strike fear into the public is how consent has historically been manufactured. It’s happened countless times over the last century and there’s no reason to think it’s ever stopped. Especially when we can see it happening in near-real time worldwide. From Cuba and Latin America to Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, narratives are created through lies by omission and a failure to make honest efforts to correct poorly reported or unvetted stories.

Law enforcement and political pundits then promote these lies on national TV to argue for more heavily armed police forces.

In the end, political leanings shouldn’t matter. These types of sweeping authorities are a danger to everyone. Federal agencies can surveil citizens with near-impunity and with DHS and CBP (and all the agencies under their purview) held the least accountable over all others, this should alarm everyone. And with political and legislative attacks on everything from the Voting Rights Act to equality and freedom of speech, a more militarized law enforcement apparatus is dangerous.


The Antagonist Magazine is a project made up of journalists, activists, and writers focused on amplifying the stories of marginalized communities. The goal is to educate the public by sharing narratives focused on independent voices. Born of an online community in 2019, our platform operates independently; free of corporate influence. Please consider supporting the work of dozens of writers from various communities.

Arturo Dominguez

Arturo is an anti-racist political nerd. He is an upcoming author, journalist, advocate for social justice, and a married father of three. He is a top writer on Medium and a regular contributor to several news media outlets. He writes educational and informative material about systemic racism, white supremacy, and racial injustice.

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