By Steve Neavling
Border Patrol agents are becoming exceedingly “downtrodden” as illegal immigration increases and resources remain scant, according to the agency’s union said.
“Morale is in the toilet,” Jon Anfinsen, the president of the National Border Patrol Council’s Del Rio chapter for the Border Patrol’s union, told The Washington Examiner. “Morale is low because agents aren’t allowed to do their job — if our job is to be out patrolling the border in between the ports of entry and actively searching for people who have crossed illegally, but we’re not allowed to go do that job, it basically creates this defeated feeling in everyone.”
Take a 245-mile stretch of the border surrounding Del Rio, Texas, where there are only 12 agents – the lowest number in Border Patrol’s history, despite a surge in illegal immigration.
Since agents aren’t allowed to speak with reporters, The Washington Examiner interviewed five current agents and three former senior officials to get a sense of what it’s like to work along the border.
“Agents are primarily indoors, processing, and we’re dealing with the people who are flagging us down — the ones who are walking up to us and turning themselves in,” Anfinsen said. “Meanwhile, the immigrants who don’t want anything to do with us, they’re running away, although sometimes they’re walking because they have no need to run because we’re not there.”
Illegal immigration has reached its highest level since 2000, and it gets worse by the month. Of the illegal crossings, 60% are in Texas and New Mexico. But in Texas, as many as half of the agents have been removed from the border to process people in custody. Countless numbers of migrants are slipping into the border unnoticed.
“Morale is tanking fast. This can be seen in the simple statements made by agents, but even more importantly, it can be seen in increasing processing times. Agents are just flat tired, and we are seeing and hearing it,” a former senior official at CBP wrote in an email.