U.S. Border Patrol agents skeptical of Republican plan to reinstate Trump-era immigration policies


U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officers have expressed general skepticism about a Republican plan to reinstate Trump-era immigration measures at the southern border. This includes policies such as immediately rejecting and detaining migrants entering the U.S. illegally.

Speaking to the Washington Examiner on Wednesday, seven federal law enforcement agents expressed interest in the concept of instantly sending border entrants back to Mexico without allowing them to apply for asylum. However, the majority either doubted the Biden administration’s commitment to implementing such measures or believed that these actions alone would not suffice to curb the daily arrests of around 10,000 individuals.

“Well, it’s better than what we have right now. I think about it this way, you can give a starving dog the cheapest piece of meat and he’ll be happy. Why? Cause it’s still better than nothing at all. And right now, it seems like we’re not enforcing any laws,” one agent in Texas stated.

A second officer stated that the proposed measures are “too little, too late,” considering the record-high 6 million arrests made at the border in the three years since President Biden assumed office, surpassing any previous historical period.

“I and other agents would say a little too late since this influx of illegal aliens has been happening throughout Biden’s presidency at unprecedented numbers,” a senior regional official in West Texas, wrote in a text.

CBS News reported on Tuesday that the White House has granted Senate Democrats the green light to proceed with a possible agreement. This deal would involve reinstating certain immigration policies in exchange for Republican backing of a supplementary funding bill for Israel and Ukraine.

Negotiations for the supplemental funding have been ongoing for over a month. Progressive Democrats have been adamant about not yielding to Republican demands for the inclusion of enhanced border security measures.

According to Border Patrol officers interviewed by the Washington Examiner, unless there is a policy shift towards the expulsion and deportation of undocumented immigrants back to their countries of origin, they see no end to the current crisis.

“It might be quicker to deport them, but if there is no consequences, they will continue to come into the U.S.,” another agent, based in California stated.

A fifth officer noted that for Title 42 to be effective, Mexico must consent to take back immigrants from the United States. Additionally, Mexico needs to agree to let asylum-seekers stay within its borders during their court proceedings for Title 42 to truly work.

“Great ideas, but we will see if they agree. Mexico has to agree also,” he said.

Holding immigrants who cannot be immediately returned across the border presents its own challenges. The fifth agent emphasized that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would require additional funding from Congress to expand its capacity for detaining a larger number of immigrants.

A sixth agent expressed doubts about the effectiveness of such measures, pointing out the limitations in detaining individuals for more than three days. They argued that from a cost perspective, it would be more expensive for the U.S. government to detain immigrants than to release or deport them. The agent believed that removal or deportation is the only viable solution.

However, shifting towards such policies would be in direct conflict with President Joe Biden’s campaign commitments to terminate Title 42. This public health policy, invoked by former President Donald Trump in March 2020, was used to turn away illegal immigrants instead of detaining them. Since 2021, over 2 million immigrants apprehended have been released into the U.S., waiting several years to start court proceedings where they can seek asylum.

Regarding this potential agreement, a seventh Border Patrol agent expressed skepticism about the Biden administration’s commitment to following through, citing the administration’s history of unenforced promises and statements over the past years as a reason for their doubt.

“I don’t believe for a second that they would actually hold up their end of that deal. They’ve made so many promises and statements that they just don’t enforce over the last few years,” he said.

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