Border Patrol Agents Attribute Historic Spike in Illegal Crossings to Policy Reversals

According to information obtained by The Epoch Times, nine Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) agents claim that the lack of consequences for illegally crossing the U.S. border is the reason for the overwhelming increase of illegal immigrants pouring into the United States. The transcripts of the interviews were conducted earlier this year over five months by investigators from the House Homeland Security and Oversight Committees. The agents interviewed were individuals who held supervisory and line duties at key border stations from California to Texas.

Despite the participation of Democratic and Republican staff, some of the excerpts provided were specifically selected by the Republicans, with The Epoch Times requesting access to the full transcripts of the interviews. The Democrats on the committee refused to comment. A spokesman for the Republican committee disclosed, “We wanted to interview these agents due to their deep expertise as Border Patrol agents and the experience their senior positions afforded them to speak about operations in their sectors.”

The agents offered voluntary witness testimony and were not under oath, and before giving testimony, they were reminded that it is against the law to provide false information to Congress.

The interviewed agents directed the core problem at President Joe Biden’s changes to immigration policies implemented by his predecessor, former President Donald Trump, claiming that the policies of the previous administration had helped to stem the flow of illegal immigrants. For instance, requiring people wishing to enter the U.S. to stay in Mexico while their cases were pending and strictly enforcing anti-drug and other criminal laws against illegal immigrants were among Trump’s policies. Additionally, progress had been made in the construction of a border wall, and Mexico had employed its law enforcement and military resources to stop migrant caravans at the southern border.

CBP TUCSON CHIEF’S TESTIMONY

John Modlin, who is the Tucson Sector Border Patrol Chief, stated during an interview on July 26 that after Joe Biden assumed office, his Arizona border station witnessed an unprecedented rise in illegal immigrants during the summer months, a period when such crossings have normally been at their lowest levels. Modlin commented, according to the records, “What’s happening now is unheard of, you know. I looked at 10 years of data to what the summer months should be, and, you know, so where we’re at now in July, you know, should be about—we should have about 17,000 apprehensions in July, you know, given 10 years of data aggregated. Instead, we’re at 26,000…”

While recalling the statistics, Modlin said, “Yes, absolutely. I think, when I look at 2018, 2019, and 2020, those years were about 60,000 people a year, more or less, within a thousand or two in either direction. And then 2021 happened … and it jumped to 190,000. So it was three times the previous year, which was absolutely—for us—shocking in Tucson…”

The surges have continued every year, leading to 2022’s high record, followed by a further increase in 2023. This is in contrast with previous precedents of border crossings, according to Modlin, who claimed that the recent upsurge is genuinely exceptional.

CONSEQUENCES FOR ILLICIT IMMIGRATION

The lack of consequences for illegally entering the U.S. was vigorously identified by interviewed immigration agents as the principal cause of the present unprecedented rise. Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke of the San Diego Sector pointed out that it is essential to return illegal crossers to their home country as a means to end the current surge.

Another Chief Patrol Agent, Jason Owens of the Del Rio Sector, agreed that the likelihood of being released into the U.S. after a brief detention period following illegal entry would certainly encourage others to attempt illegal crossings. Homeland Security Chairman Rep. Mark Green (R-Tenn.) corroborated this claim, stating, “these chief patrol agents’ testimonies make it clear consequences are essential to deterring illegal immigration, and when those disincentives are absent, historic numbers of people will enter our country unlawfully.”

Mr. Green went on to hold DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas more accountable for the consequences of these policies. In the meantime, the House of Representatives forwarded the proposed Articles of Impeachment against Mr. Mayorkas to Mr. Green’s committee.

Based on the insights derived from expert testimonies, it is clear that the next steps for the U.S. President and other policymakers will be crucial in shaping the future of U.S. immigration policies.

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