National Border Patrol Council VP Art Del Cueto on Growing up on Border and the Morale of Border Patrol Agents

Jul 7, 2021


Live from Music Row Tuesday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed Art Del Cueto to the newsmakers line to discuss growing up on the border and becoming part of the National Border Patrol.

Leahy: We are joined on our newsmakers line now by Art Del Cueto. Art is the vice president, spokesperson for the National Border Patrol Council.

That’s a Labor Union establishment 1967 that represents agents and support staff of the United States Border Patrol. Good morning Art.

Del Cueto: Good morning. Thank you for having me on.

Leahy: My cousin was a member of the National Border Patrol Council. Worked on the Border Patrol for many, many years, just retired, I think about 10, 12 years ago.

He tells me he’s glad he retired. Is that the general attitude now of National Border Patrol Council members?

Del Cueto: Well no, unfortunately, a lot of the agents out there have been saying they’re just waiting for their eligibility to retire and get out because they’re just tired of the dog and pony show.

They’re not happy with the way things are going. They’re not happy with the current administration. They’re not happy with the type of work that they’re having to perform.

A lot of the men and women joined to protect our nation’s borders. And that’s still the mission, however, more and more so it’s a standing joke.

But it’s not so funny, obviously, is that they’ve become more of a welcoming committee for individuals that are breaking the law and coming into the United States.

And a lot of it is due in part because this administration has changed the policies from the last administration and is not really enforcing the laws that they should be enforcing.

Leahy: Yeah, that comes across loud and clear. What’s that doing to morale and the National Board of Patrol Council, Art?

Del Cueto: Well, I mean, obviously, that lowers the morale of the agents that are out there working. When you get up in the morning and you’re going out there and you’re seeing yourself capturing and arresting numerous groups only to turn around and release them, turn them out the door, it’s upsetting.

And I tell you what’s worse, I think when you start looking at what the current administration is doing. You have individuals that cross them to the United States legally each and every day.

They were coming through our ports of entry where they come from, Mexico. They do purchases in the United States, they help the economy in the United States.

And then they go back home at the end of the day. Well, because of COVID and everything that’s been happening, the ports of entries have been closed.

So they’re not allowing the Mexican citizens that are coming in legally to come in. They’re saying you can’t come in because of COVID, yet you’re having all these Central Americans come in illegally and they’re being released in the United States.

So realistically, what this administration is doing is rewarding criminals, and it’s putting the individuals that are doing things the right way on the back burner.

Leahy: Yes. That sounds more than a little bit crazy. Art, tell us, do you work shifts on the border yourself these days?

Del Cueto: Yes. I’m still active, but because I’m the spokesman for the National Board of Council when I do these shows or when I do a lot of public speaking, and in reality, I also have my own podcast available through iHeart radio.

I do those on behalf of the National Border Patrol Council. I don’t do it on behalf of the agency, so I don’t represent the agency, even though I’m still active out there working in the field.

Leahy: Got it. How did you get involved in this? Where are you from originally yourself?

Del Cueto: So that’s a great question. My family is from Mexico, so I derived citizenship through my family. My family immigrated to the United States legally.

And I grew up on the border. I always tell people this because I see a lot of individuals that speak about the issues on the border.

Sometimes we even see former chiefs that spent a small amount of time within the agency, and all of a sudden, they’re being touted as experts.

I was born on the border. I grew up on the border. I was raised on the border. I’ve lived on the border my entire life. I continue to live on the border, and I work on the border.

Just growing up seeing it each and every day, it was the only route that I really was going to take by getting involved with the Border Patrol.

And in an essence, I was just thinking about it this weekend. It’s funny, but how many of us actually get to grow up and work alongside our heroes? And I’m very blessed to have had that opportunity.

Leahy: Where were you born? And where do you currently live?

Del Cueto: I live down in Tucson. I was raised in Douglas, Arizona, which is a small little town right on the border. And I was just born on the other side of Douglas on the Mexican side.

Leahy: And so did you go through a citizenship process yourself?

Del Cueto: No. I obtained citizenship through my parents. I was born outside the country to US citizen parents.

Leahy: Good. We got all the details on that.

Listen to the full second hour here:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 am to the Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio