Vaccination mandates are wrong and the border is not secure enough, according to the National Rifle Association.
That’s the message in the gun-rights group’s latest ad, which features a border patrol agent and NRA member who has refused the covid-19 vaccination. The ad, released on Monday, is narrated by agent Rolando Cantu. In it, Cantu describes how he is upset at choosing between a “forced vaccination” or his job.
Covid has been the leading cause of death among border patrol agents since 2020, but Cantu said he can’t support a vaccine mandate and decried it as a “political stunt.” He claims the order could lead to thousands of border agents being fired. Several thousand border agents have yet to comply with the mandate. However, Customs and Border Patrol data obtained by The Washington Post suggests only a few hundred of the agency’s 62,000 employees have reported being unvaccinated and not seeking either a medical or religious exemption.
Beyond the mandate, the ad warns of the looming threat of illegal immigration as a reason for most Americans to be afraid.
“If we don’t secure our border, every state will become a border state with illegal immigrants committing violent crimes,” Cantu said.
The ad is the latest in a line of social media videos featuring NRA members emploring people to join the group. It is one of the first in the series to primarily highlight issues other than gun rights. However, the group has long used conservative positions beyond gun advocacy to energize its core supporters despite potentially turning off supporters focused exclusively on gun policy.
The new ad tangentially connects to gun rights by arguing that armed home defense will become more necessary if the vaccine mandate leads to looser border enforcement.
“Right now, my wife can’t even feel comfortable in her own home without a firearm for self-defense after our house was invaded by illegal immigrants,” Cantu said.
Cantu’s wife describes the vaccine mandate as a “national security issue,” citing the home invasion as evidence. She said she was able to scare off “four illegal immigrants” who were intent on stealing her husband’s uniforms by intimidating them with a sword and a small dog.
“The only thing I had to defend myself with was a samurai sword and my chihuahua in my other hand,” she said. “Luckily, they saw me and fled.”
Cantu said the event led him to train his wife and children in the use of firearms. He said it was evidence Americans need to provide for their own safety before things get worse.
“It is your responsibility to protect yourself and your family,” he said. “Utilize your Second Amendment.”
Cantu requested a sitdown with President Joe Biden (D.) to discuss the vaccine mandate and border security at the end of the ad. He admitted the meeting is unlikely to happen, though, and implored people to join the NRA.
“I lost faith in our politicians a long time ago, so I’m not expecting the President to accept this meeting,” he said. “That’s why I’m proud to stand with an organization like the NRA who is actually fighting for our safety when the government has failed to do so.”
He directed people to sign an NRA petition to support his anti-vaccine-mandate, pro-border-security position.