The union boss for the nation's Border Patrol agents told a House subcommittee on Tuesday that too many agents have been deployed from the northern border to the southern border, leading to a flood of migrants crossing into the U.S. from Canada.
Brandon Judd, head of the National Border Patrol Council, told the House Homeland Security's Subcommittee on Oversight, Investigations, and Accountability there are only 2,000 agents assigned to the northern border, the world's largest shared land border. He said the U.S. is deploying one agent for about every 30 miles of the northern border.
"It's impossible to think border patrol agents would be able to patrol the border when you're responsible for 30 miles for one agent," Judd testified. "Your nearest backup could be as far as an hour away.
"It's also impossible to know what's crossing when you have gaps in that coverage."
During the first four months of the 2023 fiscal year, from October through January, Customs and Border Patrol data showed the Swanton Sector, which includes portions of New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York, has seen an 846% increase in encounters and apprehensions over the same period in the previous fiscal year.
In fact, the data showed there were 367 apprehensions and encounters during January, and despite area temperatures reaching minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit, the total surpassed the previous January apprehensions for the past 12 years combined.
"If we continue to hemorrhage personnel, there is no way we will secure the border," Judd said. "We have spent billions on fencing, aircraft, and technology over the course of my career. All of these investments are important — and I want to thank you for it. However, we have not sufficiently invested in our agents, which are the most important element in border security."
Subcommittee Chair Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., laid the blame on President Joe Biden and Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.
"President Biden's open border policies and Secretary Mayorkas' refusal to enforce our nation's laws has jeopardized national security at the U.S.-Canada border and the operational readiness of Border Patrol agents," Bishop said in his opening remarks.
"We will hold President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas accountable for this metastasizing crisis."
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