DHS Inspector General Sees Border Patrol Burnout; Mayorkas Says No Problem
Recent interviews or survey responses from 9,311 border enforcement personnel found agents “overworked and unable to perform their primary law-enforcement duties.” But the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) flatly rejected its own Inspector General’s recommendation for an independent investigation of deteriorating morale in the ranks.
Last week, Inspector General (IG) Joseph Cuffari testified at a House Oversight subcommittee that the Biden administration has essentially relegated U.S. border agents to “providing care and welfare services” for illegal aliens.
Cuffari said DHS has tasked agents with carrying out the administration’s catch-and-release program which includes a parole pipeline, which has released millions of migrants into the country. This task has redirected Customs and Border Protection (CBP) personnel from their assigned law-enforcement duties.
“Nearly half of the CBP personnel who completed our survey indicated … they were required to take on responsibilities outside their normal duties at their work location,” the IG’s report stated last month. These assignments had nothing to do with actual border enforcement but instead involved shuffling papers and keeping migrant queues moving.
Cuffari’s report noted that the added welfare duties and attendant overtime “have negatively impacted the health and morale” of CBP and Border Patrol officers.
The picture was much the same at Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). More than half of respondents at the agency tasked with enforcing immigration laws in the interior of the county said they too were being pressed into carrying out the administration’s politically driven policies. One deportation officer explained how ICE went from tracking down and arresting criminals to handing out paperwork.
Similarly, a Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) special agent said HSI has gone from investigating to providing security at processing facilities.
These problems have been building since Joe Biden entered the White House. A DHS Inspector General’s report last year contained alarming data about the mishandling of alien personal data. The practical effect threatens to leave potentially hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens untraceable and in legal limbo.
Unless DHS straightens out its staffing management at the border, “heavier workloads and low morale may lead to higher turnover and earlier retirements. This would worsen staffing challenges and degrade CBP and ICE’s capacity to perform their mission,” Cuffari concluded.
Yet DHS is unfazed. Against all evidence, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas risibly insists “the border is closed.” But by rejecting recommendations for an independent review of the staffing situation, Mayorkas leaves concerns in the IG’s 65-page report “open and unresolved.”
The House Committee on Homeland Security is taking up the case. Last week, Chairman Mark Green, R-Tenn., announced the panel will conduct a comprehensive investigation into Mayorkas for “dereliction of duty.”
“It’s imperative we shine a light on the misleading claims and intentionally reckless policy decisions that have created the worst border crisis in American history,” Green said.
With Border Patrol attrition rates regularly among the highest in federal service, and on the verge of a breaking point, it’s about time.