A Texas congressman has issued a dire warning about what’s going on at the border.
And while the media on both sides loves to sensationalize the danger (or in CNN’s case, the total lack of a threat), Rep. Will Hurd says it’s about to turn deadly.
The Texas Republican oversees a district that runs against 820 miles of U.S. – Mexico border, and he’s predicting another 150,000 encounters at the border this month… along with violence and death.
He points to the 100,000 migrants arrested at the southern border in March. But he said that as a result of the onslaught, cartels are waging tremendous criminal activity while border patrol agents are overrun.
“April’s going to be worse than March. You’re going to see loss of life. You’re going to see people that are in these conditions either die, or overrun a Border Patrol agent, or you’re going to see massive destruction of property,” Hurd said at a BakerHostetler law firm event in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday.
In a later interview with the Washington Examiner, he said his biggest fear is the loss of life of a migrant in Border Patrol custody. Since December, three have died in federal custody, including two children.
“And it’s not going to be Border Patrol’s fault,” Hurd said.
Hurd, who is in his third term, is a cybersecurity business owner as well as a former CIA officer. His district represents the largest portion of the southern border, stretching from east of Eagle Pass to just outside the El Paso city limits.
The El Paso Sector of Border Patrol is one of nine regions on the border, and employes more than 2,300 agents and 150 Immigrations and Customs Enforcement personnel.
Hurd said well over half of them spend all of their time processing migrants, taking them to doctor’s appointments and other non-law enforcement activities.
“These are people that are surrendering in between our ports of entry — at our ports of entry. When you take up [overwhelm] that system, you don’t know what’s coming behind them. I would not be surprised if the drug cartels are taking advantage of this, moving even more product in there,” Hurd said.
So what’s the solution?
Hurd says it’s for Western Hemisphere countries – not just America – to deal with the root causes that are leading hundreds of thousands of people to flee from Central America.
In the short-term, he says Congress needs to approve more money for Department of Homeland Security agencies along with piecemeal legislation.
Eighty thousand hours. That’s how much time agents have spent in recent months taking care of hospital and urgent care visits alone for migrants. Hurd says that’s exactly the kind of work that needs to be farmed out so law enforcement officers can be on the actual border dealing with legitimate national security threats instead of dealing with families.
He points out that the kind of bill Department of Homeland Security needs was blocked by a vote last year.
Who blocked it? Former House Speaker Paul Ryan, a Republican from Wisconsin.
On Tuesday, former Obama administration officials publicly agreed with President Trump that there’s a crisis at the border.
This as Democrats are downplaying the situation and are adamantly opposed to the President declaring a national emergency.
During a conference call Tuesday with reporters, Homeland Security officials declared: “The system is on fire.”
And Barack Obama’s top immigration officials are in agreement.
“By anyone’s definition, by any measure, right now we have a crisis at our southern border,” former Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson said on “Cavuto LIVE” on Saturday, citing recent stats that “there were 4,000 apprehensions in one day alone this past week, and we’re on pace for 100,000 apprehensions on our southern border this month.”
He said the number is staggering.
“That is by far a greater number than anything I saw on my watch in my three years as secretary of Homeland Security,” he said.
In February, Trump declared a national emergency at the border. It came shortly after Congress wouldn’t give him the more than $5 billion that he wanted for a wall at the border.
The declaration frees up $3.6 billion in funding for the wall.
But Democrats and even some Republicans opposed the declaration and passed legislation to block the move. President Trump then vetoed their legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the declaration “unlawful” and said it was “made over a crisis that does not exist”.
.@realDonaldTrump’s unlawful declaration over a crisis that does not exist does great violence to our Constitution and makes America less safe, stealing from urgently needed defense funds for the security of our military and our nation.
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) February 15, 2019
Not surprisingly, Adam Schiff agrees with her.
“Trump is declaring a national emergency to bypass Congress, to build a wall we don’t need, to address a crisis that doesn’t exist, by claiming an authority he doesn’t have,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said in February.
Trump is declaring a national emergency to bypass Congress, to build a wall we don’t need, to address a crisis that doesn’t exist, by claiming an authority he doesn’t have.
If that sounds like nonsense, it’s because it is. It’s also plainly unconstitutional.
— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 14, 2019
Yet since then, things have gotten worse. And while the administration keeps showing statistics to back their argument, officials on Tuesday described it as a “system-wide meltdown”.
Customs and Border Protection say more than 76,000 migrants were detained in February. That number, which includes 7,000 unaccompanied children, is the highest number of apprehensions in 12 years.
According to CBP data, more than 36,000 migrant families have flooded into the El Paso region in fiscal 2019, which is compared to about 2,000 at the same time last year.
Mark Morgan served as the head of Border Patrol for Obama. He even agreed with President Trump. He wrote an op-ed for Fox News recently:
“A thorough historical analysis clearly shows we are experiencing a crisis greater than we have in recent times.”
“The entire immigration system is overrun,” he wrote. “They’re not at the breaking point, they’re past it. Border Patrol resources are being pulled off the front lines to address the unprecedented humanitarian crisis while the cartels further exploit our open borders, increasing the threat to our country.”
Johnson believes there’s a bipartisan solution, but encourages Trump to work WITH Congress, not against it.
“There are ways to do this, and you make your case to Congress for why there is a crisis and there is a crisis on our southern border right now and you do it through a conventional reprogramming and you get the resources you need to address the crisis,” he said. “There are answers to this problem, and if we can strip away the politics and the emotion, they can be obtained.”
Last week, President Trump said he would close the border if Mexico doesn’t “immediately stop” the surge. He’s also vowed to cut direct aid to three countries where a flood of immigrants has been coming from – El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.
….through their country and our Southern Border. Mexico has for many years made a fortune off of the U.S., far greater than Border Costs. If Mexico doesn’t immediately stop ALL illegal immigration coming into the United States throug our Southern Border, I will be CLOSING…..
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 29, 2019
The announcement came after U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said last week that the border was at its “breaking point,” and that there are not enough agents to respond to the flow of illegal immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border.
“That breaking point has arrived this week at our border,” McAleenan said during a visit to the border in El Paso, Texas. “CBP is facing an unprecedented humanitarian and border security crisis all along our Southwest border.”