Border Crisis Out of Control

Fearing successful construction of a border wall and possible “shoot on sight” orders from an administration that made border security a primary campaign issue, migrants from Mexico and other South and Central American countries have surged toward our southern border in record numbers. From October through February, border patrol agents arrested 136,150 people traveling in families illegally crossing the border, a record high. In just February, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol Agency apprehended 66,000 illegals, the busiest month of Trump’s presidency, but an overwhelming majority—even those attempting to smuggle drugs or weapons into the U.S.—were detained briefly before being being sent back to their native countries.

Yesterday I spoke to Anthony Stowers, a tenured border patrol agent stationed along the Rio Grande Valley, the southernmost tip of South Texas, a hotbed for illegal border crossings. He revealed a frightening, unpublished statistic

“Fully 85% are turned back across the border,” Stowers said. “Even if they have weapons or 20 kilograms of Cocaine strapped to their bodies, they’re interrog—I mean interviewed—that’s the phrase we’re told to use—for about twenty minutes and sent packing. We simply don’t have facilities to incarcer—I mean detain so many people. If they’re carrying weapons or drugs, we confiscate those and escort them back across the border.”

He said most released would-be border crossers simply travel a half mile down the Rio Grande and try to penetrate the border at a different location.

“Last month we detained and released a man and a woman travelling together, and later discovered they’d been captured and released three times that day. We relieved them of five handguns and 3 kilos of cocaine. I don’t know what the other agents might have found on them,” Stowers said.

Mr. Stowers said he believes the mass exodus is proof that illegal immigrants—terrorists and troublemakers among them—are desperately trying to enter the United States before the president’s border wall sees fruition.

“This situation is not sustainable,” Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said while releasing the numbers Tuesday. “The system is well beyond capacity and remains at the breaking point. Budget increases have not helped to deter the migrant caravans surging at our borders. We don’t have enough men.”

President Trump recently declared a national state of emergency over the ongoing border crisis, bypassing congressional approval to obtain funds needed to enhance and strengthen the southern border, a move Democrats have sought to block. Many reports suggest President Trump has deployed National Guard units and active duty military personnel to supplement besieged border patrol agents.

“Yes, there are soldiers. Yes, there is National Guard. But their presence on scene is illusory at best. Essentially, a show of force. But they are not allowed to detain or arrest anyone attempting to cross the border, at least not yet. The border crossers have figured this out and many just avoid areas frequented by border patrol agents in favor of crossing where they see army people, knowing they can just walk on by. This needs fixing quick,” Stowers said.

In January, the Justice Department decreed it would prosecute all illegal border crossers, but that plan was scuttled amid outcry from Democratic immigrant rights activists in congress.

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