Former top immigration officials and current Border Patrol agents had a lot to say after the disastrous meeting Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas had with Border Patrol agents in the Yuma Sector on Wednesday.
Audio of Mayorkas' tense meeting with agents, which was leaked to Townhall and included at least one agent turning his back on the Secretary, was part of his tour of the U.S.-Mexico border amid the ongoing crisis. He has planned stops in El Paso and Laredo.
"I know the policies of this administration are not particularly popular with U.S. Customs and Border Protection, but that's the reality and let's see what we can do within that framework," Mayorkas admitted.
"This administration has declared war on the Border Patrol with its failed policies. The Secretary was wrong — the policies of this administration are not only unpopular with the Border Patrol but also with the American people. They want a change; they want a secure border, and they want leadership," Chad Wolf, who was acting DHS secretary under former President Donald Trump, told Townhall in response to the leaked audio.
"If the secretary wants to be helpful, then he should implement policies that will deter or discourage people from putting themselves in danger and crossing the border illegally to request asylum," said Jon Anfinsen, president of Border Patrol's Del Rio Local 2366. "We will always need more funding, vehicles, equipment, and personnel, but that will do nothing to solve this problem. Only policy changes and enforcement of the law — with real consequences — will make a difference."
Anfinsen explained Mayorkas needs to order the U.S. CBP's Office of Field Operations (OFO) and ICE's Enforcement and Removal Operations (ERO) to "dedicate more resources to help us. Instead, OFO gets to close their ports of entry whenever things get inconvenient for them, and ERO gets to remain in their offices pretending like there isn't a crisis on the border."
"This problem isn't going to go away on its own," he added.
Another Border Patrol agent told Townhall they were "not surprised" with how terrible the meeting went and with Mayorkas' behavior.
Mark Morgan, who was chief of Border Patrol under former President Barack Obama and head of CBP under Trump, had strong words for Chief Raul Ortiz after the audio showed he was not happy with the questions being asked because, according to him, it came off as griping instead of coming to Mayorkas with solutions. Ortiz told the Yuma agents changes are happening, but it takes time to implement them.
"These are moments that define leaders — and Chief Ortiz has failed miserably!" Morgan said. "How a Chief could call it 'griping' is unconscionable. This is where he should have been prepared to turn his badge in and stand shoulder to shoulder with the men and women who stand tall on the frontlines to protect this great nation — as this administration has taken every effective tool away from them and turned our borders into the Wild, Wild West.
"They have vilified and scapegoated them and what does their chief do when they attempt to address legitimate concerns — he stands shoulder to shoulder with the Secretary. A transparent and cowardly attempt to save his title rather than stand up for the men and women under his charge. It’s pathetic," he added.
Thomas Homan, former acting director of ICE, said the agent was right to say Mayorkas turned his back on Border Patrol agents:
"The Secretary said he appreciated the candor. He’s been receiving candor for almost a year but fails to act upon it. I am not surprised the agent turned his back on the Secretary because as I have said for months, he and the President have abandoned the Border Patrol while at the same time destroying morale as the national security crisis at the border rages on. The Secretary turned his back on the Border Patrol when he failed to allow them to do their national security mission and enforce the law."