SIERRA VISTA, Arizona—The crisis at the border is unlike anything the country has seen before, the head of the Border Patrol’s labor union tells The Daily Signal.
“This surge is bigger than we’ve ever seen before,” Brandon Judd, a Border Patrol agent who is president of the National Border Patrol Council, serving in that capacity since March 2013, says in a video interview. “Again, the day-over-day increase, the week-over-week, the month-over-month.”
The situation facing the Border Patrol is a crisis, Judd says, who has served as one of its agents for over 22 years and argues that, because of Biden administration policies, “our hands are completely tied.”
“We define a crisis when our resources are overwhelmed, when we can’t control the border enough, where the [drug] cartels are able to create gaps in our coverage, cross products that are very dangerous, and make money to where we can’t control the border or stop what’s coming in,” he says in the interview with The Daily Signal.
“Right now, we’re at that point.”
The proof of Judd’s perspective can be seen in the numbers.
In July, about 50,000 illegal immigrants who crossed into the United States illegally were released into the country without a date in immigration court, Axios reported in an exclusive.
Illegal immigrants “are told to report to an Immigration and Customs Enforcement office instead,” but “just 13% have shown up so far,” Axios reported.
The Daily Signal reported June 25 that the Border Patrol had begun releasing thousands of illegal aliens into the country without a court date.
In its account supplying hard numbers, Axios reported:
It’s unprecedented for [Border Patrol] agents to release migrants without an official notice to appear in court. Where it has occurred recently, migrants have instead been given a list of addresses and contacts for ICE offices across the country and told to report to one of them.
The National Border Patrol Council, the union Judd heads, was founded in 1967 and represents about 18,000 Border Patrol agents and support personnel.
In his interview with The Daily Signal, conducted April 19, Judd blames Biden for ending President Donald Trump’s policies such as “Remain In Mexico,” which the Biden administration officially ended June 1 after suspending it Jan. 20.
Under the “Remain in Mexico” policy, asylum-seekers had to be processed in Mexico—as the first safe country they reach—if they were fleeing danger in a Central American country.
“Once the Biden administration got rid of that program that was extremely successful, he reintroduced the magnet that is called catch and release,” Judd tells The Daily Signal, adding:
That’s the magnet that draws so many people here to cross our borders illegally. If they know they’re going to be able to cross the border illegally just to get released into the country, they’re going to continue to come, and that’s what we saw. President Trump, he solved that issue with the ‘Remain in Mexico’ program. But because that program has been rescinded, now we’re seeing this huge flood. We’ve never seen traffic pick up as fast as it has over the last two months. Again, and that is strictly based upon policy.
When the Border Patrol experiences times of high traffic as agents are now, Judd said, they are unable to do their jobs because they turn into caretakers and first responders.
“When the traffic is high, our hands are tied dealing with all of the unaccompanied children, the family units that are crossing the border,” the union chief says.
“And what that does is that pulls us out of the field and allows the cartels to create artificial gaps in our coverage, which then allows them to cross their more dangerous products, such as the opioids, the cocaine, the heroin.”
Judd says he has encountered migrants crossing illegally into the country from around the globe.
“I caught a large group of individuals from Poland,” Judd says. “In those mountains right there, I caught a group of individuals from Russia. We deal with people from all over the world; Brazil, China, you name it, and we deal with people from those countries.”
Many illegal immigrants who cross over get very creative, he says.
“I would say the most creative, obviously, is the tunnels,” Judd says, adding:
We’re about a mile from the border right now. What they’ll do is in the urban areas or in the small towns, where there are houses that are right on the border, they’ll dig underneath. They’ll go up into a house. And these drug tunnels will come up into a house, [they’ll] come up into businesses. We’ve seen a lot of that. That’s the most creative way that they do it, and that’s why it requires a lot of intelligence services to go after and find these tunnels.
As things stand, Judd says, the situation at the border is at a crisis point.
“The cartels control what’s taking place on the border, because our hands are completely tied,” he says. “We’ve been completely and totally overwhelmed. That is a crisis.”
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