Agents say just 40 percent of U.S.-Mexico border under control

Article author: 
Stephen Dinan
Article publisher: 
Washington Times
Article date: 
12 September 2015
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 
Less than half of the U.S.-Mexico border is under "operational control," and one out of every five illegal [alien] immigrants caught there has a criminal record, the chief of Border Patrol agents' labor union told Congress Wednesday when detailing violence that increasingly spills over the international boundary.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said the level of criminal activity belies claims that because fewer illegal immigrants are being caught, the border has improved in recent years...
The status of the border sparks an intense debate, and it's not just an academic question.
President Obama has said the border is secure enough that Congress can turn its attention to legalizing the estimated 11 million [to 40 million]  illegal immigrants already in the U.S. Many Republicans in Congress, and now many of those seeking the GOP's presidential nomination in 2016, dispute that, saying that no action can be taken on legalization until more is done on enforcement.
Mr. Judd said agents on the border have no doubt that more is needed.
He said based on what they tell him about how much of the border is under operational control, "we would be lucky if we're [at] 40 percent."
Operational control is deemed to be when agents have a good chance of deterring or catching almost all illegal crossers. The Obama administration canceled use of the yardstick in 2010...
But he did say immigration patterns have changed in the decades since he joined the Border Patrol, with Mexicans declining as a percentage of illegal immigrants and Central Americans rising. That means deportations are tougher, because they are sent to noncontiguous countries, and there are more legal protections...
All told, 91,000 criminal aliens caught by the Border Patrol were deported last year, he said, compared to about 486,000 total illegal immigrants caught — a ratio of about 1 in 5. Nearly half of the criminal aliens deported had aggravated felonies on their records, Mr. Judd said...
Mr. Chaffetz, though, said if Democrats wanted to crack down on illegally trafficked guns heading to Mexico, they should be trying to get to the bottom of the Fast and Furious operation run by the Obama Justice Department that knowingly allowed thousands of guns to be shipped illegally into Mexico.
"They gave out nearly 2,000 AK-47s to the drug cartels, and we want to look at that," the Utah Republican said.