Several rank-and-file Border Patrol agents criticized the Senate funding bill released late Sunday, telling the Daily Caller News Foundation that the legislation would allow the illegal immigration crisis to continue.
The Emergency National Security Supplemental Appropriations Act, 2024 allocates funding toward adding more personnel to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), detention beds to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities, expelling certain illegal migrants and enhancing fentanyl interdiction. Four rank-and-file Border Patrol agents told the DCNF that the “catch and release” of illegal immigrants will continue if the bill is implemented, because it allows for the release of family units and single adults that show a credible fear of persecution should they return home. (RELATED: Senate Border Bill Would Hand $1.4 Billion To NGOs Helping Illegal Migrants)
“Now that I’ve seen more of it, they can respectfully go fuck themselves. The more I’m seeing the more it just puts what they’ve been doing in writing. You want to shut this down, it’s real easy. Team up [the Department of Defense] with DHS and let us enforce like we were supposed to,” one agent told the DCNF.
“I feel like we are the only nation in the world that is this dumb about the border. Maybe it’s because we haven’t,” the agent added.
The Border Patrol union has endorsed the portion of the deal providing funding for border security, saying its “not perfect, but far better than the status quo.”
The bill would mandate that one member of each family released from Border Patrol custody will be tracked using Alternatives to Detention, which uses ankle monitors, phones and wrist watches to monitor them while in the country, according to the bill.
Andrew “Art” Arthur, who serves as a resident fellow in law and policy for the Center for Immigration Studies, told the DCNF that migrants will be released if they claim to have a fear of returning to their home country without seeing an immigration judge.
“Catch and release is absolutely happening,” Arthur said.
In recent years, Border Patrol has recorded high levels of illegal immigration. Agents recorded more than 2.2 million encounters of migrants crossing the southern border illegally in fiscal year 2022, a new record, more than 2 million in fiscal year 2023 and more than 629,000 between October and January, according to federal data.
“It’s a load of bullshit,” a second agent told the DCNF. “We don’t need a border bill, we need to enforce the laws on the books.”
“Unaccompanied minors and families released, that’s unacceptable. They need to be removed,” the second agent added.
The bill also allocates funding for the construction of a “steel bollard pedestrian barrier” along the southern border, but fails to mandate erecting a wall.
A third agent described the bill as “horseshit,” in a statement to the DCNF.
A fourth agent described the release of families and certain single adults with credible fear claims as “BS.”
“Another loophole that aliens are going to abuse,” the fourth agent said.
Neither DHS nor the offices of the bill’s negotiators immediately responded to the DCNF’s requests for comment.
In a statement Sunday, DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas praised the Senate deal.
“The bipartisan agreement in the Senate is tough, fair, and takes meaningful steps to address the challenges our country faces after decades of Congressional inaction,” Mayorkas said. “It would allow DHS to remove more quickly those who do not establish a legal basis to remain in the United States, reducing the time from years to months.”
“It would expedite protection and work authorization for those with legitimate claims. It would provide flexibility to respond to changing dynamics at the border, including temporarily prohibiting border entries for certain individuals when encounters are extremely high. It also delivers much-needed resources to support and expand the DHS workforce after decades of chronic underfunding, and it further invests in technology to help prevent fentanyl from entering our country at ports of entry,” he added.
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