LA JOYA, Texas — It was October of 2020 when I had last seen Mark Morgan in person. We were in El Paso and he was acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) showing off the difference between the old barriers and the new wall system that were being built by order of then-President Trump.
I had asked Morgan what he thought was going to happen at the U.S.-Mexico border if Joe Biden became president. In short, Morgan said there was going to be another crisis due to his campaign promises, such as halting deportations and stopping border wall construction.
"Because what you're doing, you're sending a message right now when you say that you're going to give protections through sanctuary city laws. When you tell them that we're going to reward you for illegally entering this country...and you tell them you're going to stop building a wall as a policy, you're sending the signal, you're incentivizing individuals, to illegally come here," he told me while we walked along the border.
Fast forward to late March, everything Morgan had said has come to pass. No longer in charge of CBP, it is not stopping him from heavily criticizing the Biden administration's approach to the ongoing crisis at our southern border. Morgan is now a senior fellow and spokesman at the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). On Monday he and Thomas Homan, former acting director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, who is now a senior fellow with Immigration Reform Law Institute gave an on-the-scene interview with me after we had encountered a group of illegal immigrants turning themselves in to Border Patrol in the early morning hours on Monday.
"We warned the Biden administration. We told them that if they did what they promised they were going to do during the campaign, which they have done, that they were going to create an unmitigated crisis. One that we would say was going to make 2019 pale in comparison," Morgan said, adding that border states like Texas need to stand up and challenge Biden's people on the issue.
"I wrote an op-ed back in July 2020 saying based on what candidate Biden is saying that if he became president, we'd lose the border and we're losing the border," Homan said. "What can they do to turn the tide? Get back to the Trump-era policies, 'Remain in Mexico' program and the third country agreements, those two things alone, [Biden] could fix this in a week if he wanted to."
"We're out here, it's past midnight right now, and look at that right there. How is that humane? How is any policy of the United States government that encourages, incentivizes, and facilitates that group of people illegally entering in the dead of night in a very dangerous area? How is that humane and it's not," Morgan said.
Responding to Biden officials saying one reason for the crisis is because the Trump administration gutted the immigration agencies and the asylum process, Homan said the reason why they did not need the thousands of extra bed space was because it wasn't necessary.
"We didn't need [Health and Human Services'] beds because we had the border secure. So we're not going to have, you know, 10,000 beds available for people that aren't coming across the border because of Trump's policies...And for the administration not to call it a crisis is disrespectful to every man and woman that wears green there."
Townhall Media/Julio Rosas
About a mile and a half from the location of Townhall's interview, another group of illegal immigrants, around 60, were being processed by Border Patrol. An agent remarked this was a "broken arrow" situation, referring to code used during the 1965 Battle of Ia Drang that called for immediate close air support since the U.S. units were in danger of being overrun by Vietnamese forces.
As was typical to what I saw during the week, the groups on Monday morning were made up of family units and unaccompanied minors. Raul, 8, said his parents were in El Salvador before loading onto a Border Patrol bus. One thing I had noticed about this group was how many more people were coughing than compared to the groups I had seen during the previous week.