Border Patrol Chief Says the 140,000 Migrants Who Evaded Capture Are a ‘National Security Threat’

News & Politics

The chief of the United States Border Patrol is sounding the alarm about the huge number of illegals who have crossed the border. Jason Owens says that there have been at least 140,000 migrants who have evaded apprehension and crossed the border illegally just in the last five months.

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The Border Patrol will apprehend one million migrants in between ports of entry along the U.S.-Mexico border this fiscal year. And for the third consecutive year, the Border Patrol is on pace to arrest two million illegals by October 1.

“That number is a large number, but what’s keeping me up at night is the 140,000 known got-aways,” Owens said. “Got-aways” are most likely either smugglers or traffickers. They could also easily be terrorists. Chief Owens has good reason to stay up aty night thinking about that.

“Why are they risking their lives and crossing in areas where we can’t get to?” Owens asked. “Why are they hiding? What do they have to hide? What are they bringing in? What is their intent? Where are they coming from? We simply don’t know the answers to those questions. Those things for us are what represent the threat to our communities.”

It’s a “national security threat,” Owens added.

CBS News:

While a “very small amount” of those apprehended at the southern border are serious criminals, such as convicted gang members or sexual offenders, Owens said most migrants are surrendering themselves to Border Patrol agents to escape poverty or violence in their home countries.

“They’re coming across because they’re either fleeing terrible conditions, or they’re economic migrants looking for a better way of life,” he said.

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics show a tiny fraction of migrants processed by Border Patrol have criminal records in the U.S. — or other countries that share information with American officials — and an even smaller percentage have been convicted of serious crimes. Available data and studies also suggest that migrants in the U.S. illegally do not commit crimes at a higher rate than native born Americans.

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Owens called for tougher immigration policies to try to deter illegal immigration and keep the undesirables out.

“I’m talking about jail time. I’m talking about being removed from the country and I’m talking about being banned from being able to come back because you chose to come in the illegal way instead of the established lawful pathways that we set for you,” he said.

Indeed, Biden has created several new pathways that migrants can choose to use instead of sneaking across the border in the dead of night. All they have to do is use one of the legal ports of entry spread out along the southern border. 

Customs and Border Protection (CBP) statistics show a tiny fraction of migrants processed by Border Patrol have criminal records in the U.S. — or other countries that share information with American officials — and an even smaller percentage have been convicted of serious crimes. Available data and studies also suggest that migrants in the U.S. illegally do not commit crimes at a higher rate than native born Americans.

Still, top law enforcement officials, including FBI director Christopher Wray, have voiced concerns about criminal actors, including potential terrorists, exploiting the unprecedented levels of migration along the U.S. southern border over the past three years. 

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It would help if Biden tightened asylum procedures to keep the undeserving migrants out. He tried, but Republicans killed the deal that would have required strict new asylum procedures.

The worry is the got-aways. And the ability of the Border Patrol to cut that number down will depend on Biden or Trump putting the resources into closing the gaps.

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