A Border Patrol chief admitted during a congressional hearing Tuesday morning that he has “tremendous concern” about terrorists and spies entering the country through the unsecured US-Mexico border.
The surprising answer came in response to a question asked during a border security hearing in which two chiefs of the US Border Patrol stationed at different parts of the international border testified.
Congressman Paul Gosser, Republican of Arizona, asked whether terrorists or foreign agents could be among the 1.2 million “getaways” — since President Biden took office — people seen on camera or by sight by the Border Patrol, but he have failed to prevent entry into the country.
“Speculating who might be in the ‘getaways’ or unknown persons is just speculation,” said Chief Patrol Agent John Modlin, head of the agency’s Tucson sector.
“All I can tell you is that it’s a huge concern that anyone gets across the border undetected, but the reality is we know there are people coming through.”
In fiscal year 2022, Customs and Border Protection arrested 98 individuals on a terrorism watch list who were attempting to enter the United States illegally. Since the start of the new year in October 2022, 38 individuals identified as known terrorists, suspected terrorists, or associates of both have been stopped from attempting to enter the United States.
A record-breaking 2.4 million immigrants could be apprehended by federal agents at the border in fiscal year 2022 — the most ever. The second highest year was 2021 when 1.7 million attempts were made to cross the southern border. According to federal data.
“We went from what I would describe as ‘unprecedented’ to a point where I don’t have the right adjective to describe it,” Maudlin said of the strain on his department. What is happening.
Rep. Byron Donald, Republican of Florida, blamed President Biden’s policies for the historic increase and asked immigration officials if they were satisfied.
“Taking the interview. [migrants] After the arrest, what became the most common response was that they believed that when the administration changes, the policy changes, and that there is an open border,” said the Tucson chief.
However, Maudlin added that while the perception of those arriving at the border has changed the law and policies have not. Immigration agents aren’t enforcing the law any differently than the previous administration, he said.
Like many congressional hearings, Tuesday’s border hearing featured more political point-scoring than a debate about how to solve the problems. However, a lawmaker asked the border chiefs what solutions they could offer to end the border crisis.
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Gloria Chavez, chief of the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas, said the men and women on the front lines should help lawmakers reform immigration policy.
“Whenever Congress is ready to put this team together, look for Border Patrol agents to come in and advise you,” Chavez said. “If we don’t have the right policies or outcomes, the world is watching us — we’re going to continue to see these massive flows of migration from around the world coming in here at our southern border.”