Wednesday, July 12, 2023

With Morale in ‘Tank,’ New Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens Has Work Cut Out for Him; Ex-Border Patrol chief Says Letting Migrants into US was 'only agenda' of DHS When Mayorkas Took Office

Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald/Getty Images
With Morale in ‘Tank,’ New Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens Has Work Cut Out for Him:
Jason Owens’ greatest challenge as new chief of the U.S. Border Patrol is improving agents’ morale, immigration experts say.
Border Patrol agents are “overwhelmed,” Andrew Arthur, a resident fellow in law and policy at the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Signal.
“Improving morale amongst Border Patrol agents” will be Owens “biggest challenge,” Arthur said. Those agents, he said, “feel appropriately unappreciated by the Biden administration.”
“Morale must be in the tank,” Heritage Foundation scholar Simon Hankinson said.
Owens takes the helm of the Border Patrol on Friday with the retirement of Chief Raul Ortiz.
Concerns over morale stem in part from the loss of 17 U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees to suicide in 2022, the greatest number in over a decade.
Owens also steps into the chief’s position as encounters with illegal aliens at the southern and northern borders remain historically high compared to the numbers before President Joe Biden took office in January 2021.
Customs and Border Protection, which includes the Border Patrol, reported encountering over 2 million illegal aliens on America’s borders since fiscal year 2023 began Oct. 1. By comparison, in all of fiscal 2020, the agency said it encountered 646,822 illegal aliens.
Critics note that the increase occurred after Biden named Alejandro Mayorkas as secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, parent agency to the Border Patrol and CPB.
“Taking over command of the U.S. Border Patrol under the leadership of Secretary Mayorkas will be a thankless task,” Hankinson, a senior research fellow in The Heritage Foundation’s Border Security and Immigration Center, said of Owens’ arrival. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.) --->READ MORE HERE
Win McNamee/Getty Images
Ex-Border Patrol chief says letting migrants into US was 'only agenda' of DHS when Mayorkas took office
Allowing more migrants to cross the border into the U.S. was the only thing on the agenda for Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas when he entered power with President Biden's administration, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott testified Wednesday.
Scott made the statement under questioning from the House Homeland Security Committee during a hearing focused on Mayorkas' alleged "dereliction of duty." The former federal official testified that Mayorkas is "not incompetent," and that he knew what effect his policies would have.
"Do you know firsthand if Customs and Border Patrol agents actually advised Mr. Mayorkas and said, 'Hey you need to reverse these policies to stop this tidal wave that's coming into the United States'?" asked Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla.
"He was informed verbally. He was informed in writing," Scott said. "I think it's important for everybody to understand [that] everything fundamentally changed. When I worked for Secretary [Chad] Wolf, we had team meetings, we were asked for our input. We were told, ‘Over your career, what works and what doesn’t work?' On Jan. 20, 2021, that all got shut off."
"Our input was no longer solicited, and when my team and I gave it unsolicited, we were basically put in a box," he continued. "They did not want to know what we had to say. They made it very clear: Expedite processing and find new ways to let migrants into the U.S. That was the only agenda."
Scott began serving as Border Patrol head in January 2020 under President Donald Trump, and continued under Biden until August 2021. --->READ MORE HERE
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