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Former CBP chief: What’s happening at border isn’t about immigration, it’s about national security

So far, this fiscal year, 332 known, suspected terrorists have been apprehended trying to enter the U.S. illegally at the northern and southern borders.

Published: May 16, 2023 11:00pm

(The Center Square) -

The former COO and acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection says what's happening at the U.S. border with Mexico is a national security concern.

“What’s happening at our border, isn’t about immigration” but about national security and crime, Mark Morgan, who is also a former U.S. Border Patrol chief, argues.

Morgan spoke at a recent town hall in El Paso organized by the Texas Public Policy Foundation.

He said those who make the border crisis about immigration, “that’s what the open border advocates want you to believe. Because if you’re against what’s happening at the border, then you’re against immigration. And if you’re against immigration, you’re a racist. That’s the narrative. It’s just not true. It’s a lie.”

Because of the volume of people illegally entering the U.S., Border Patrol agents are pulled off the line to process them.

“Here’s how it works, “ he said. “When you have 6 million total encounters from 171 countries plus 1.7 million gotaways, that’s 7.7 million individuals who [illegally] come to our borders in 26 months. There’s no nation on the face of the planet that can handle that or sustain that. Not even America.”

Agents aren’t able to fulfill their national security mission, he said. “Their statutory mission that [involves a lot of] sacrifice every day to protect us, to stop a vast set of complex threats from coming in, jeopardizing our national security.

“They’re not on the front lines, they’re not doing their law enforcement mission to protect our nation. They’re not there. It leaves our borders completely wide open, completely vulnerable. We’ve literally handed over operational control over to the cartels. With no agents on the line, the cartels exploit this every day.”

As a result, he said, Biden administration policies are killing Americans and illegal foreign nationals.

“The amount of drugs pouring in through the border kill 9,000 Americans every 30 days,” he said. “It’s equivalent to a fully loaded 737 [plane] crashing into a mountainside killing everybody on board – every single day. That’s insanity.”

He also pointed out that “illegal immigration is not a victimless crime.”

“There are very bad people coming across our border,” he continued, referring to gotaways, those who intentionally enter the U.S. illegally primarily between ports of entry and who evade capture by law enforcement.

Most of the people illegally entering the U.S. between ports of entry “sit down and wait for Border Patrol to come and get them,” he said. “Why? Because they know they are going to be released” into the U.S.

“If that’s the case, then why are there gotaways? If you know you’re going to come across with no criminal history or ill intent other than illegally entering why are there gotaways?,” he asked. “Because the gotaways are the criminals,” he said.

“In the first 26 months of this administration, CBP officers have apprehended over 80,000 criminals,” he said. “Ninety percent of the Border Patrol resources aren’t there on the line,” he said, so the ones that are caught, with “no disrespect to Border Patrol” agents, he said, apprehended criminals they “stumbled upon.”

Apprehending “80,000 with 90% of resources not on the front line” is impressive, he said, but consider how many more criminals would be apprehended if 100% of agents were on the line prioritizing national security.

Among the 80,000 criminals they apprehended, he said, “are murderers, rapists, pedophiles, aggravated felons and gang members, including 132 convicted murderers.

“How many murderers, rapists, pedophiles aggravated felons and convicted murderers are among the 1.7 million gotaways that now call America home? They make their way to every town, city and state in this country.”

He also pointed out that in Texas alone, “from 2011 to 2022, 261,000 illegal aliens committed 433,000 crimes including 800 homicides, 800 kidnappings and 5,000 assaults.

“I promise you our borders are a national security threat and vulnerability,” he continued. “How many illegal aliens on the terrorist screening database are among the 1.7 million gotaways?” he asked. “The truth is we don’t know. That should scare all of us. That should unite all of us.”

So far, this fiscal year, 332 known, suspected terrorists have been apprehended trying to enter the U.S. illegally at the northern and southern borders.

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