‘Wide-Open, Uncontrolled, Unmanned’: Cartels Seek To Divert Border Patrol From Frontline by Overwhelming Agents With Migrants

The Border Patrol is now ‘relegated to really nothing more than a federal travel agency’ when agents are pulled away from national security missions to focus on administrative tasks, a former border commissioner tells the Sun.

AP/Andres Leighton, file
Under the watch of the Texas National Guard, migrants wait adjacent to the border fence to enter into El Paso, Texas. AP/Andres Leighton, file


As border patrol agents are redirected from critical checkpoints to process and care for surges of illegal migrants, sections of the border are now wide open to cartels, analysts warn.

On Monday, Customs and Border Protection announced it would “temporarily suspend” vehicle crossings at Eagle Pass, Texas, and would “reduce vehicle processing” at Lukeville, Arizona, “in order to redirect personnel to assist the U.S. Border Patrol with taking migrants into custody.”

“In response to this influx in encounters, we will continue to surge all available resources to expeditiously and safely process migrants,” the agency said.

It’s not the first time agents have been redirected to process migrants under the Biden administration, a former acting CBP commissioner, Mark Morgan, tells the Sun. It is a “quintessential example” of a security threat that is designed by the cartels, he says, and is aided by border policies that “encourage, incentivize, and facilitate historic flows of illegal immigration.”

By pulling resources “off the front line away from their law enforcement and national security mission, we literally are handing operational control over to the cartels,” Mr. Morgan notes. “This is done by design and it’s purposeful.”

A “typical technique” of cartels is to flood areas with large groups of illegal migrants, he adds, forcing Border Patrol to apprehend and provide humanitarian care for them while leaving areas of the border “wide open, uncontrolled, unmanned, so that they can sneak drugs, criminals, and national security threats through.”

As resources are pulled away from the frontline and national security objectives, Mr. Morgan says, the Border Patrol is “relegated to really nothing more than a federal travel agency, to duties and responsibilities relegated to the apprehension process, and then releasing of those same illegal aliens in the United States.”

Processing facilities for migrants are “dangerously overcrowded,” and there have been times during the past 36 months that 85 to 90 percent of resources “have been pulled off the front line, relegated to administrative duties,” he says, allowing cartels to exploit the border and posing an enormous national security threat.

“This isn’t the first time and it’s not going to be the last time where a sector chief has had to make a very hard decision on what to do,” Mr. Morgan says. The surging migrant flow, he adds, especially in Arizona, means facilities have limited bed space and resources, and the overcrowding can become dangerous quickly.  

“Right now the mission and mandate is very clear from this administration. And from Secretary Mayorkas, it’s not about securing the border, it’s to be the best processing agency that you can be. And that is their mandate,” he says.

There were a stunning 15,300 crossings at Tucson last week, the sector’s chief patrol agent, John Modlin, reports. After those numbers were posted, reports emerged of Mr. Modlin saying, in a now-deleted post on X, that “all Tucson Sector Border Patrol social media accounts will be paused until further notice.” 

He then apologized for “the hastily written statement” and said that the Tucson sector’s social media would “be temporarily reduced to maximize our available staffing” because of the migration surge. 

A slew of recent polls have shown increasing disapproval for the federal government’s handling of immigration and border issues, including among Democrats. As the border crisis worsens, and cities across the country are affected as a result, the issue will likely “be a significant issue in the 2024 elections,” Mr. Morgan says. 

“This is not just the typical surge. These are levels of illegal immigration that we’ve never seen in 100 years of collecting data,” he says. “The  reality of the magnitude and level of crisis that this administration has caused, they can no longer pretend it doesn’t happen.”


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