Alejandro Mayorkas, Homeland Security Secretary, described a recent “tough” trip to the U.S. Southern Border. It included tensions with Border Patrol agents. Some of these agents he said were acting “unprofessionally.”
“It was a difficult trip because we faced a workforce… whose morale, is struggling, is down, and that’s an obligation I have to address it and we certainly met when they got back with a team about how we were planning to address the challenges,” he stated in a taped interview with Raul Ortiz, Chief Border Patrol.
Mayorkas also mentioned a few tense instances during his border visit, including an agent turning his back. One agent asked the Homeland Security chief how agents can’t patrol the border because of the policies of the Biden Administration. Another agent said that Yuma is better under President Trump, as everyone was doing their jobs.
He said that he appreciated the agent’s openness to sharing their opinions. “A few guys might have expressed what I thought was unprofessional — which was surprising for me since it’s something that I’ve never seen in Border Patrol in my… eight years of person-to-person exposure.”
He said, “But the substance was communicated really required action and we’re jumping onto it — but there’s a lot to do.”
Ortiz was also subject to the anguish of Mayorkas’ agents in the room.
Ortiz stated, “I get it,” in one conversation. “You don’t want to go to work. It’s because you haven’t achieved the outcome you desire. It doesn’t mean that you should give up.
The conversation went on and other agents complained about how “you keep releasing illegal aliens into this country.”
Mayorkas cannot lead DHS anymore: Video from the former acting secretary for DHS
Ortiz asked the agents, “Why aren’t you guys getting lost in semantics?” … I’ve been doing the job for as long as you guys.”
One agent said, “That’s the problem chief.” “Good men must do nothing for evil to triumph.” This is exactly what’s happening. The good men do nothing. You allow illegal aliens to be dropped in communities.”
Ortiz appeared annoyed by the agents’ behavior and the media coverage that followed during the interview with Mayorkas.
“I was disappointed by some of the behavior of some agents, which was really displayed in some media platforms. But I was also proud of a large portion of the workforce. I think we both heard, “Hey, we appreciate your coming down here. We appreciate you listening to our needs. And we appreciate that you took that information back and tried to improve conditions on the ground.”
They outlined a variety of actions they have taken to improve the conditions for agents, including a memo that prioritizes prosecutions in cases involving Border Patrol agents who attack them while they are doing their jobs.
Mayorkas stated that it was unacceptable that agents, despite all the work they do and the sacrifices they make, have to worry about being attacked by people who are already under their control.
Ortiz mentioned a second memo that Mayorkas signed. It focuses on getting agents out to the front lines. Ortiz claims they are training hundreds of processing coordinators to act as a force multiplier in getting agents out to the border.
Mayorkas stated, “We need to get those agents out there in the field.”
This conversation is happening at a difficult time for DHS and Border Patrol as a result of a growing migrant crisis in its second year.
Fox News reported Wednesday that January saw more than 153.941 migrant encounters. This is a decrease from December’s 178.840 but nearly double the January 2021 78.414 encounters.