As the unaccompanied child crisis along our southern border with Mexico continues to overwhelm the system, an internal Border Patrol email obtained by Townhall shows Tucson Sector Chief Border Patrol Agent Manuel Padilla Jr. calling the situation "unprecedented," comparable to humanitarian disasters like hurricanes and confirms illegal immigrant children are being treated and processed as refugees.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, I wanted to provide you with information regarding the Nogales Placement Center (NPC). I believe that it is important for all of us to have an understanding of the humanitarian effort that is ongoing nationwide as it relates to unaccompanied children, primarily from Central America. There has been an influx of unaccompanied children that have been detained throughout the southwest border, primarily in South Texas, to a level that has overwhelmed the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) transition sites. This dynamic has caused the Border Patrol to hold these children at different locations while the transition to ORR takes place. In Tucson Sector, we are using the NPC as a transition point," Padilla wrote in a June 6 email to Tucson Sector Border Patrol. "As of this writing, there are hundreds of children being cared for at the center. This is an unprecedented mission for agents and mission support personnel at the Tucson Sector."
Padilla added that children are being medically screened and processed to ensure their well being. Children are being constantly monitored.
"Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity to be involved in missions that are outside the scope of border security. It is reassuring to see that when our agency is confronted with a non-traditional mission, our personnel is quick to learn the role, adapt to the situation, and perform in admirable ways," Padilla wrote. "This humanitarian effort if reminiscent of the hurricane relief efforts, humanitarian search and rescue missions during floods and other disasters where the Border Patrol has lived up to his legacy."
Because of the large number of children overwhelming the system and needing processing, Border Patrol agents have been pulled off the border to help with paper work and oversight at detention facilities, leaving wide gaps of the border without patrol.
Yesterday CBS News Dallas reported that nearly half of Border Patrol agents are doing paper work rather than patrolling the border in Texas.
“Almost 40 percent of the Border Patrol Agents are not at the border they’re actually filling out paperwork, transporting, feeding, moving these folks around," Democrat Texas Congressman Henry Cuellar told the news outlet.
Agents in Arizona are in the same situation.
"We have all of these juveniles so they're pulling agents out of the field to come in and babysit them basically," a source said last week. "They're cancelling some of our specialty details for our crews who go out and work the mountains, calling them back in and telling them they have to work the processing center because there are so many people in there."
Arizona Senator Jeff Flake plans to question Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson about the ongoing crisis when he testifies on Capitol Hill Wednesday.
"Clearly, these events are disturbing and the situation unacceptable," Flake said in a statement to Townhall. "I am pressing the issue this week in Washington forward to getting some answers from Secretary Johnson when he testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday."