Border Patrol Union Chief: Obama’s Policies Are Helping Bankroll Drug Cartels

Getty Images/Omar Torres

Alex Pfeiffer White House Correspondent
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The president of the National Border Patrol Council testified in the Senate Thursday that the Obama administration’s loose immigration policy is the biggest factor driving illegal immigration into the United States, which in turn helps fund Mexican drug cartels.

“Most illegal immigrants believe that they will either not be caught, or even if they are caught, they will not be deported back to their home country. Most believe that they will simply be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) and will be released,” Brandon Judd said before the Senate Subcommittee on Immigration and the National Interest. “Candidly, they are not wrong.”

“There are a number of factors that are driving the illegal immigration that we are seeing. Many point to the endemic violence in Central America. Without a doubt violence and instability in Central America is a factor. It is not however what is driving the problem. The single biggest factor driving our illegal immigration right now is our catch and release program,” Judd said.

The Border Patrol agent will describe a system where unaccompanied minors are not only released, but escorted to their final destination. If credible fear is claimed by a captured illegal immigrant, then the agents are also forced to release them. The same is true for family units, according to Judd.

“If you are a single male and we do not physically see you cross the border and you claim that you have been in this country since 2014, we will release you. Do you have to offer any proof that you have been here the last two years – absolutely not. We will take your word for it,” the border patrol agent testified.

Judd added, “we have encountered individuals in the Rio Grande Valley who are still wet from crossing the river, who have claimed they had been in the United States since 2014. Under current Administration policy we processed them and let them go – sometimes without even issuing an NTA.”

With this policy, Judd thinks illegal immigration across the southern border will surely continue. “The illegal aliens that we apprehend are practical people. Before making what is a very dangerous journey and risking a lifetime of savings, they weigh the costs and the benefits,” Judd said. He added,”right now with catch and release, the costs are lower than the benefits. As long as we continue with this policy they will continue to come.”

The Border Patrol agent testified how illegal immigration heavily funds Mexican drug cartels.

“Drug cartels control the illegal activity along our border in the same way gangs control illegal activity within our prisons. Nothing moves along the border in the U.S. or Mexico without the cartel’s permission,” Judd said. He added, “for the cartels, illegal alien and narcotic smuggling are two lines of huge business that brings in billions in annual revenue.”

Judd testified for each illegal immigrant that crosses over into the Rio Grande Valley, $5,000 are paid to the Gulf Cartel. “For example, last year the Border Patrol apprehended 174,000 illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley,” the Border Patrol Agent said. “That is $870 million in revenue for the cartel. When you factor in those that “got away” the total revenue from alien smuggling alone for the Gulf cartel in this sector is nearly over $1.7 billion. The money cartels earn from illegal alien smuggling underwrites their narcotics operations, fuels the violence in Mexico which has killed more than 150,000 people, and is threatening the very viability of Mexico as a democracy.”

The Border Patrol union president went on to say that Americans are not immune from the danger of drug cartels. “For instance, New York is controlled by the Sinaloa cartel while in Alabama, both the Sinaloa and Gulf cartels have operations,” Judd wrote in his testimony.

Due to a decrease in apprehension numbers from the Bush years, the Obama administration now claims that the border is more secure. Judd testified: “we simply cannot assess border security based on apprehensions. During the Bush administration, we were told that the high number of apprehensions was a sign that the border was secure. During the Obama Administration, we have been told that declining apprehensions was a sign of a secure border. So which administration is right?”

He said, “the challenge now is that the Administration has painted itself into a corner. If the border is secure, how do you ask Congress for more manpower? If the border is secure, how do you ask for money for additional air support, technology and fencing?”