WASHINGTON — The new chief of U.S. Border Patrol agreed with Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) during a hearing Wednesday that more fencing is needed at the southwestern border and that apprehensions of illegal immigrants are up dramatically in 2016.
Johnson questioned Mark Morgan, U.S. Border Patrol chief, asking whether the flood of unaccompanied children or families illegally crossing the border, “ can be used as a diversion for higher-value smuggling – let’s say it’s drugs, or humans, or sex-trafficking – isn’t that the reality of what’s actually happening?”
Chief Morgan replied, “Yes, we have information of that, absolutely, smugglers use that as a distraction, yes, sir.”
Watch Johnson’s full opening statement here.
Johnson continued by asking about the effectiveness of fences to deter and diminish illegal entry into the United States. Morgan responded, “Do we need more fencing? Yes. Does it work? Yes. Do we need it everywhere? No. Is it the sole answer? No – it’s part of an overall, multi-layered strategy.
Watch Chief Morgan’s comments here
Free Beacon: Overwhelmed Border Patrol Agents Stuck Serving Burritos to Illegal Immigrants
By Adam Kredo
November 30, 2016
Border Patrol agents are reporting that they are overwhelmed by a massive uptick in illegal immigration of unaccompanied foreign children, leaving some members of the force stuck serving food to kids and ordering various supplies such as baby wipes, according to Mark Morgan, chief of the Border Patrol, which operates within the Department of Homeland Security.
Border agents have expressed shock at the menial tasks they’ve been required to perform following a massive flow of illegal immigrant children across the U.S. southern border, according to Morgan, who warned that the force is being strained as a result of this influx.
During one recent trip to a border patrol outpost, “the supervisor in charge said, ‘Chief, we’re going to do whatever this country asks us to do, but I never thought in my 20 years that I would be, as part of procurement, ordering baby powder and baby wipes,’” Morgan recalled during Wednesday testimony before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
“I just got from one sector,” Morgan continued, “where agents, one of their jobs during the day, is to actually make sure the food, the burritos we’re providing are being warmed properly. It takes a tremendous amount of resources to do this.”
The number of unaccompanied children and families traveling from Central America to the United States has increased significantly during the past few years.
The number crossing the U.S. border from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador has jumped to 46,893 in fiscal 2016, up from 28,387 in 2015, according to statistics provided by Sen. Ron Johnson (R., Wis.), the committee’s chair.
Johnson said these numbers are not being publicized enough in the media.
“My concern is we’re not publicizing it because the border patrol has” quietly been handling the situation on its own, he said.
Morgan warned the committee that nearly all of the children and families apprehended on the border are released into the United States.
“Basically 100 percent of those family units and [unaccompanied children] are released into the U.S.” Morgan said, expressing distress at the amount of border patrol resources now being “dedicated to being professional child care providers at this point.”
Johnson offered statistics showing that just under 4 percent of illegal immigrants apprehended are sent back to their country of origin.
“We’re returning less than four percent,” Johnson said. “So isn’t the reality that if you come as an unaccompanied child from Central America and you get into this country—and by the way it’s easy to get here—you just walk across the bridge, turn yourself in, you’re apprehended and processed, and disbursed.”
Read the full story here.
- Watch the full hearing here.
- Testimony from witnesses can be found here.
- Chairman Johnson’s opening statement can be found here.