Chief Patrol Agents Detail Border Crisis in Joint Committee Report
Last week, the House Committees on Homeland Security, and Oversight and Accountability released a joint report entitled, “Crisis at the Border: Reports from the Frontline.” The report offers firsthand accounts from former and current Chief Patrol Agents along the southern border on the harsh reality of the Biden Administration’s failed immigration policies.
In detailing the challenges Border Patrol agents face daily due to the Biden border crisis, the report draws on congressional testimony and transcribed interviews from nine Chief Patrol Agents. These agents describe how the mass release of aliens crossing border illegally is incentivizing more individuals to do the same. Without consequences for illegal crossings, agents worry that the surge will continue to stretch their resources thin.
In the report, Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens, formerly Chief Patrol Agent of the Del Rio Sector, emphasized the historic numbers of releases under the current administration. Speaking in May 2023, Owens said, “under the circumstances that exist right now, which are different than any other that I’ve encountered, there are more people probably that are being released on their recognizance to await their immigration hearing than I have seen in my career.” Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Mayorkas himself admitted recently that over 85 percent of aliens encountered at the southern border are being released into the country.
Chief Patrol Agents went on to emphasize the effectiveness of a border wall in stemming the flow of illegal immigration. According to Aaron Heitke, former Chief Patrol Agent of the San Diego Sector, a border wall is an effective tool in helping Border Patrol focus its resources. Heitke stated that a border wall “slows down the people as they come across, and so we have more time to respond and actually make an apprehension. It also moves people—it’s more difficult to cross through the barriers, and so they move to other areas where the barrier isn’t where we can focus resources.”
Unfortunately, as noted by FAIR, construction of the border wall has stopped altogether under the Biden administration. On his first day in office, President Biden moved to suspend construction of the border wall, costing taxpayers billions and allowing an unprecedented number of aliens to cross the border illegally. Although the Biden Administration quietly directed the construction of 20 miles of border wall in the Rio Grande Valley this June, it has consistently stood by its anti-wall messaging, doing the bare minimum needed to maintain an open-borders agenda.
Finally, the report details how failed policies have given drug cartels and other criminal organizations free reign to smuggle in illegal aliens and drugs. In FY23 alone, nearly 30,000 pounds of fentanyl were seized and cartels are receiving an estimated $13 billion each year from human trafficking operations targeting the southern border. According to Joel Martinez, Chief Patrol Agent of the Laredo Sector, the cartels have become so dominant that it’s nearly impossible for aliens to cross the border without paying them.
The joint committee report was also referenced heavily during a recent House Oversight Committee hearing following its release. That hearing sought to examine the Biden Administration’s regulatory and policymaking efforts to undermine our immigration laws. Throughout the hearing, accounts from the report were used to provide context on the detrimental impact of an open-borders agenda. In his opening statement, Committee Chairman James Comer (R-Ky.) stated that the report is instrumental in “detailing the hardships of attempting to protect the border without the support of the Biden Administration.”
Overall, the joint committee report offers Americans important insight into how some of our most senior agents on the border view the current border crisis and the measures needed to end it. Border Patrol agents daily work in extreme conditions and constantly face dangerous actors to keep Americans are safe. However, the Biden Administration has made it even harder for agents to do their jobs by implementing open-borders policies. Without meaningful changes, both Border Patrol agents and Americans across the country will continue to be put at increased risk.