The president of the union representing border patrol agents on Wednesday gave his support to Mazi Pilip, a Republican lawmaker from Nassau County running in the Congressional special election against former Democratic Rep. Tom Suozzi.

What You Need To Know

  • President of the National Border Patrol Council gives rare endorsement to Mazi Pilip, the Republican running to replace George Santos in the 3rd Congressional District

  • Mazi Pilip opposed the U.S. Senate border security deal that the union supported

  • Tom Suozzi, the Democratic former congressman running, criticized Pilip for siding with the House GOP against the border deal

  • Early voting runs through Sunday, Feb. 11. Election Day is Tuesday, Feb. 13

“I am very confident Mazi will do what is necessary to secure our border,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said.

Pilip accepted the endorsement from the National Border Patrol Council across the street from the Creedmoor Psychiatric Center in Queens, which is being used to house migrants in emergency tent shelters.

“Joe Biden and Tom Suozzi have brought the border crisis to our front door,” Pilip said.

Pilip has taken a hard line on immigration, coming out against the border deal brokered in the U.S. Senate.

“I don’t like the fact that it’s funding the sanctuary cities,” she said.

Suozzi supported it. So do Judd and the Border Patrol union.

Still, the union backed Pilip.

“We differ on a policy issue, but she understands, and she’s come to me and she’s asked me why is it that I support this? What are the benefits to this law?” Judd said. “She’s also talked about the poisonous pills, and there are absolutely poisonous pills.”

Suozzi, meanwhile, criticized Pilip for siding with House Republicans who came out against the border deal that included funding for Israel and also Ukraine in its war against Russia. 

“What’s the result of this extremism? Number one, it’s endangering Israel. Number two, it’s keeping the border open. And number three, it’s empowering Putin. Those are all awful results,” he said.

Suozzi also said the endorsement was no surprise to him.

“It’s obviously a political deal with the Trumpers and the right wing. Despite the best interests of the border patrol union members, it doesn’t make any sense,” he continued.

Back in the district, Janet Dennis, a Pilip supporter and member of local Republican clubs, described why housing migrants at Creedmoor have been an issue in this residential Queens neighborhood.

“When this tent city was built, it’s destroyed this area, the playgrounds cannot be used. My children are afraid to ride their bikes. They come up and down on their mopeds on the side streets. They rummage through our garbage pails and our driveways and they take over the bus stops,” Dennis said.

Dennis said some of her Democratic friends have discussed voting for Pilip because of migrants sheltering in the area.

“I actually have a few friends that are Democrats and they are shocked with what’s going on in their neighborhoods,” she said.

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden was in New York for fundraising, though he did not hit the campaign trail for Suozzi, who has said that Biden is not so popular in the district lately. That would be a change from 2020, when Biden won the district under its current lines by eight points.