Border Sector Chiefs Testify Under Oath on Historic Border Crisis
FAIR Take | November 2023
This week, the House Homeland Security Committee released portions of transcribed interviews with southwest border sector chiefs and deputy chiefs who testified about the state of the border and the historic humanitarian crisis facing Border Patrol agents. The interviews were conducted as part of the Committee’s investigation into Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
The Committee conducted these interviews from May 2023 to September 2023. Most border sector chiefs expanded on the challenges they are facing in their own sectors, noting that the number of encounters is the highest they have ever seen in their career. When asked if the surges or spikes were unprecedented, one deputy chief, Dustin Caudle of Yuma, stated, “The volume that we’re seeing recently, in my opinion, in my career when I’ve seen is what I would consider unprecedented.”
Some border chiefs touched on the damage these surges were having on agent morale. Tucson Sector Chief John Modlin described how his sector had seen the number of border crossers more than triple in the past three years. “[I]t is demoralizing to me as the leader of Tucson Sector to experience these numbers we’re experiencing.” He added, “[O]bviously, I try to do everything I can to support the men and women of Tucson Sector and to, most importantly, obviously, to achieve the securing the border, to keep the border as secure as I can.”
FAIR has detailed findings from the Department’s Office of the Inspector General (IG), which released its results from surveys taken earlier in the year. The IG raised red flags about the “unsustainable” methods of staffing at Customs and Border Protection (CBP). Seventy-one percent of CBP agents/officers who responded to the survey said their current work location was not adequately prepared and staffed during normal operations. The IG warned that, “[u]nless CBP and ICE assess and make strategic changes to how they manage staff at the border…heavier workloads and low morale may lead to higher turnover rates and earlier retirements among these employees.”
Homeland Security Committee Chairman said the interviews with the Border Patrol agents had shed light on the full scope of the border crisis. “Their stunning testimony further informs the Committee’s oversight work and emphasizes why we must hold Secretary Mayorkas and President Biden accountable for intentionally facilitating the worst border crisis in our history.” He described the current situation as a “policy-driven crisis, sparked almost overnight by an administration bent on ending effective border security policies and replacing them with mass catch-and-release.”
Since taking office, President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas have encouraged the flow of illegal aliens over the border. In Fiscal Year 2023 alone, there were over 3.2 million encounters at our borders. Time and again, they have issued policies that undermine Border Patrol agents on the front line and diminish the department’s mission to secure the border.
The release of the interviews comes as the Homeland Security Committee prepares to enter the fifth and final phase of its investigation into Secretary Mayorkas for dereliction of duty. That fifth phase is expected to begin in the coming weeks and will focus on firsthand accounts from inside sources on how our laws are being abused. Following its investigation, the Committee will make recommendations for next steps, potentially including a recommendation for impeachment to begin proceedings against Mayorkas.
To view FAIR’s analysis of Secretary Mayorkas’ dereliction of duty, click here to visit our newly created page detailing the impact of his lax border security and interior enforcement efforts.