On September 9, 2021, President Biden issued an executive order (EO) mandating all executive branch federal employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19. From the moment the EO was issued, the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) instructed its seven attorneys to drop all other matters to study the issue and develop strategies to attack the EO. After spending several days reviewing all pertinent laws, to include all relevant case law, our attorneys determined the EO was legal and that there was no viable avenue of challenge.
We, the NBPC executive committee, felt it would be better to seek other opinions from law firms specializing in suing the government prior to drawing a final conclusion. To date, we have not found a reputable firm, nor any other firm, or legal opinion that provides us a legitimate path forward. Notwithstanding the legal opinions to date, and unlike other entities such as the National Treasury Employees Union, we continue searching for an avenue of reprieve. As with all other lawsuits initiated by the NBPC on behalf of its members, when or if a legal avenue presents itself, we will file suit.
Because we have a legal duty to present honest information, we did not release a statement after receiving the initial opinions from our in-house attorneys, nor did we release a statement after seeking outside counsel. We also do not want to give false hope as we have not found a legitimate avenue or legal argument of challenge to date. Until we are 100% convinced that no legal remedy is available, we will continue working on the issue.
The specific regulations concerning the implementation of the mandate were released on September 17, 2021, and we are reviewing the information to identify any bargaining obligations. While we continue to search for legal avenues of reprieve, we have tasked our attorney who specializes in Equal Employment Opportunity matters to lead our legal division to provide exact and concise information on filing a religious or medical exemption. When that plan has been developed, we will update this post when the information is available, and notify the Local presidents. Members will be able to reach out to their respective Local for assistance, and the NBPC will assist with the process.