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Border Patrol Chief: ‘We Don’t Have Control’ Over Much of the Border

via HSDF
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Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens highlighted the challenges at the southern border, emphasizing the need for more personnel, technology, and infrastructure to enhance border security.

He expressed concerns about the lack of control over significant portions of the border, making it difficult to estimate the number of individuals who have entered undetected.

“Would this bill have gotten you any closer to having operational control of the southern border if Congress had passed it in this process that started today?” Martha MacCallum asked.

“Well, first off, I want to tell you, in the better part of 28 years, I have never seen a situation where I, as a law enforcement professional, would have said the border is secure. It’s — we need more people. We need more agents on the line. They need more force multipliers in the way of technology and equipment and infrastructure,” Owens said.

Owens stressed the importance of additional support to address the hundreds of thousands of individuals who are captured, as well as those who evade capture, suggesting that the latter group may pose potential threats to the country.

“That doesn’t just help them do their job better, it helps keep them safe. There are aspects of this bill that would have added additional hundreds of Border Patrol agents to our rank and file, that would have given us more technology, that would have given us more equipment and infrastructure. Of course, I’m going to be supportive of that,” he said.

“How many do you estimate are in the gotaway category, because you don’t have what you need at the border and didn’t get any more support for it today in this fiscal year, do you have a number on that?” MacCallum asked.

“It would just be a guess, because there’s so much of the area that we don’t have situational awareness, there’s just so much of the border that we don’t have control and we’re not at right now. So, I know what we see, what we’re able to actually capture, and it’s in the hundreds of thousands,” Owens said.

“And those are the numbers that really…keep us up at night. Because if you know that all you need to do is turn yourself in to the Border Patrol and go through the process, what possible reason would you have for wanting to evade capture and put yourself in danger to cross through the desert or be in a stash house or go and lock yourself in the back of a tractor-trailer? Could it be that those are the folks that probably have criminal intent, that have bad intent, that represent a possible threat to the people of this country? That’s the kind of thing that keeps us up at night.”

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