Border Patrol chiefs challenge Mayorkas on ‘operational control’ at border

Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, told Congress that first the border was in control. Then he reversed his position and said it had never been controlled.

He was told by his Border Patrol chiefs that he made a mistake.

The chiefs of Border Patrol’s Southwest Sectors testified in closed-door testimony before the House Homeland Security Committee during the last year that the border was not “operationally controlled.” One chief stated that the border used be under control, but the control has been lost.

According to exclusive testimony provided by The Washington Times, Gregory Bovino told the committee that “we have controlled the border for many many years, but not now.”

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House Speaker Mike Johnson (Louisiana Republican) is leading a delegation to the border, as he and White House jockeying for leverage in negotiations that could make or break a national spending bill, and Congress eyeing impeachment procedures against Mr. Mayorkas.

It is important to consider the question of control. Mayorkas has been battling with the Republicans in Congress for over two years.

Rep. Chip Roy (Texas Republican) read the definition of operational control by 2022 in the law and asked the Secretary whether the U.S. has control.

“We do,” Mr. Mayorkas replied.

M. Mayorkas has given different testimony in the past. He claimed that the U.S. has no operational control, and according to the definition of the law, which requires the prevention of “all illegal entries”, neither did any previous administration.

Senior Border Patrol officials from 7 of the 9 southwestern sectors testified to the Homeland Security Committee that they don’t think the U.S. is in control.

Chief Patrol Agent Anthony Good, a former chief patrol agent of the El Paso Sector, said: “Not in El Paso.”

Dustin Caudle is a Yuma Sector Deputy Chief Patrol agent in Arizona.

Chief Bovino claimed he was not speaking legally, but strategically, when he stated that the U.S. had operational control in the past.

He said that control meant detecting and discouraging people along the border line, cooperating with other nations to deter migrants, and having secondary lines of defence inside the U.S. such as checkpoints. It also meant working to reduce the “pull factors” that encourage migrants to jump over the border.

Mark Green, Republican chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, from Tennessee, stated that Mr. Mayorkas’ testimony was seriously questioned by chiefs.

Green stated that “the truth is that he created the worst border crises in history, but he tried to hide this reality every time a question was asked about it.”

His claims regarding operational control are especially noteworthy given that his former Border Patrol chief, as well as multiple chief and deputy-chief patrol agents along Southwest border have contradicted. Green asked: “At this point, which has more credibility? The operators on the ground living with the consequences every day of Secretary Mayorkas’ decisions or an embattled secretary desperate to salvage her reputation?”

The Washington Times has contacted Mr. Mayorkas’ office to obtain this report.

Over the course of six months, the chiefs gave testimony and provided firsthand assessments of the complex situation along the southern border. Under President Biden, the border that was relatively calm under President Trump’s administration in 2020 is now the most chaotic in history.

The testimony of the chiefs is even more remarkable because, although the Biden administration promised to listen to experts in climate change and COVID-19 but has seemed to ignore the experts at the border.

The chiefs have revealed:

* Smuggling cartels have a near-unfathomable grip on what happens at borders. They demand payment from those who want to cross the border and punish those who refuse to pay.

Joel Martinez, the chief patrol agent for Laredo’s sector, said, “We had two people wash ashore on our shores. They had no identification, but we think they are migrants who went there without permission.” One of them was half-blown off his head, and the second one had been shot in the eye.

The senior Border Patrol agents say that catching and releasing so many migrants is a big factor in attracting migrants.

Chief Good said that if someone is released, they will post on social media that “Hey, look me, I’ve just been released.” This creates an attraction to the area. “So, if this happens in El Paso, and they post it on social media, then that will create an attraction to El Paso. Same for any other sector.”

According to several chiefs, migrants often share their tactics. TikTok videos in Yuma showed which trails to follow and which gaps on the border wall to exploit.

Chief Patrol Agent Aaron Heitke, in San Diego, said that migrants would be reporting back on the best way to bring their children so they can take advantage of more lenient policies regarding catch-and release for families.

* In San Diego, the going rate was between $8,000 and $12,000 for land crossings. The cost of crossing the water on a boat, or personal watercraft can reach up to $20,000 People who come in groups of up to 300 people can pay only $500. “It’s easier and quicker for them to move these folks,” said Chief Heitke.

These massive groups do not try to evade agents. The groups wait until agents arrive, then triage them to find sick or vulnerable migrants that need immediate assistance. Chiefs claim that this takes agents off the field.

John Modlin is the chief patrol agent for the Tucson sector. He said that groups of 100 people or more are found “often several times per day”.

The Sinaloa cartel controls traffic in the Tucson sector. San Diego is under the control of Sinaloa, and Jalisco New Generation Cartel. Cartel del Noreste, or Northeast, controls Laredo.

The cartels are aware of how many agents work and when they change shifts. The timing of their actions depends on whether or not they are trying to distract agents by sheer numbers, or smuggle high-value cargo through the border.

He said that it was all about timing. We are heavily scouted each day. It is common for a patrolman to bring in a vehicle after passing through a particular spot, particularly during a shift change. It’s usually a pickup, van or large transport vehicle. The group will exploit a gap. The group will run as fast as they can to load the vehicle.