US Customs and Border Patrol uniforms are made in Mexico and a handful of other countries in the Middle East and South America. Some border patrol officials and agents are outraged about the origins of their uniforms.
Last summer,the US Olympic committee garnered backlash when news that the athlete’s uniforms were made in China. The US Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) reportedly has a more than $6 million contract with VF Imagewear to supply uniforms.
A release from the CBP about the uniform controversy reads:
“There are no domestic preference regulations or statutes applicable to DHS/CBP that would prohibit the manufacture of uniform items in Mexico. In fact, United States obligations under international agreements require that the agency accepts items manufactured in Mexico.”
The ongoing “short-term” contract between VF Imagewear and the US Customs and Border Patrol agency will result in approximately 3,400 student trainee and agent uniforms. Controversy about border agent uniforms first surfaced in 2004.
National Border Patrol Council Local 1613 President Joseph Dassaro stated that he was embarrassed by the outsourcing of agent uniforms both as an agent and as an American. CBP Director of Logistics Patricia Todaro stated that the agency buys shoes, hats, uniforms. And other equipment from manufacturers that offer the best prices.
The decision to buy uniforms from non-American companies is allegedly fostered by the government’s desire to spend taxpayers’ money wisely. While some may support the purchasing decision, others argue that taxpayer interests are not best served when contracts are not given to manufacturers who employ workers in the United States.
The US Border Patrol contract with VF Imagewear is an interim agreement that keeps the “urgently” needed uniforms flowing until a new deal can be struck in May. There will reportedly be a new uniform contract inked in a few months, but the outsourcing option was deemed “suitable” until then.
The TSA reportedly has a contract to make agent uniforms with VF Imagewear. The airline security agency will spend $50 million on outsourced government uniforms with the VF Corporation entity. California Democratic Representative Jackie Speier has been an outspoken opponent of the uniform contracts. Speier feels allowing non-American companies to make government uniforms could create national security issues.
— CBP (@CustomsBorder) March 20, 2013
How do you feel about US Border Patrol agent uniforms being made in Mexico?
[Image Via: Bureau of Land Management]