A Republican lawmaker is calling for the United States to shutter all U.S. consulates in Mexico to enforce "consequences" for illegal immigration from, and violence in, Mexico that's "out of control."
At a hearing before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform on Wednesday, Border Patrol agent and president of the National Border Patrol Council, Brandon Judd, testified the agency has operational control of only about 40 percent of the border with Mexico, the El Paso Times reports
And he painted Mexico as mostly lawless in places where drug cartels dominate, asserting the "official death toll from the cartel violence in Mexico is 60,000," the Times reports.
Committee member, Florida Republican Rep. John Mica, was furious.
"We should close down every one of those [nine] consulates, and put the properties up for sale," he declared. There has to be consequences, the place [Mexico] is out of control."
Judd also testified Immigration and Customs Enforcement deported 177,000 convicted criminals in 2014, and of these, the Border Patrol arrested 91,000 of them as they tried to enter the country illegally.
In 2014, the Border Patrol apprehended and arrested just under 500,000 undocumented immigrants, Judd said, and that one in every five arrested had a criminal record.
House Oversight Chairman Jason Chaffetz said the lax security at the border contrasts sharply with the Obama administration's picture of an improving situation, the Washington Times reports.
He also objected to the State Department's decision to change pay for staffers at consulates in northern Mexico that could cost some of them hazard pay because the department no longer believes the region is unsafe.
"Shame on you," Chaffetz scolded Gregory Starr, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security.
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