Published February 1, 2024

Former Border Patrol And ICE Officials Refute Biden’s Border Claim

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The Dakotan
| The Dakotan

Jennie Taer on February 1, 2024 (Daily Caller News Foundation)

President Joe Biden claimed Tuesday that he doesn’t have the “power” to fix the crisis at the southern border, but four former federal border and immigration enforcement officials told the Daily Caller News Foundation that he in fact does have the power to fix it.

Most of what Biden needs to do is reverse his earlier repeals of effective Trump Administration policies that coincided with lower illegal immigration, these former officials said. On day one of his administration, Biden signed a series of executive orders ending the Trump Administration’s border wall construction and revoking the previous president’s deportation orders, while his Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a 100-day moratorium on deportations. 

“Mr. President, on the border: Have you done everything you can do with executive authority?” a reporter asked Biden on Tuesday as he walked out to Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House.

“I’ve done all I can do. Just give me the power. Give me the Border Patrol. Give me the people, the judges. Give me the people who can stop this and make it work right,” Biden responded.

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona and Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut are currently negotiating the terms of a funding bill to include border security.

The deal is said to include a shutdown of the processing of any illegal migrant when the average number of illegal crossings exceeds 5,000 each day until the two-week average of entries falls below 3,750, according to details of the deal leaked to the press on Friday.

But former Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Border Patrol officials told the DCNF that Biden doesn’t need to wait for Congress to act.

Former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said Biden’s statement is “not true,” in a conversation with the DCNF.

“Look at the evidence: every administration prior to Biden took steps to deter illegal entries and improve border security. Biden destroyed that progress with the stroke of a pen, he can fix it with a stroke of a pen. Just turn the effective programs back on,” Scott said.

Jon Feere, who served as ICE Chief of Staff under the Trump Administration echoed Scott’s characterization, saying Biden reversed successful policies leading to chaos at the southern border.

“The Biden Administration has chosen to gut immigration enforcement and open our borders through disastrous policies,” Feere, who is now the director of investigations at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the DCNF. “If anyone at the White House actually wanted to put an end to the chaos, they’d cancel Biden’s executive orders and Mayorkas’s memos and reinstitute the Trump Administration’s policies.”

Biden himself can “most importantly” reimplement the Trump-era “Remain in Mexico” program to force certain migrants who cross the southern border illegally to await court proceedings south of the border, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told the DCNF.

“If destroying the border is all he has the power to do, then job well done. If he’s talking about border security, he’s done nothing within his executive authority. He gives zero evidence, only rhetoric,” Judd said.

Former Chief Patrol Agent of the Yuma Sector in Arizona Chris Clem believes that “Remain in Mexico,” which is formally known as the Migrant Protection Protocols, is one of many effective programs that Biden can implement with executive authority.

“He could use that same authority to say we’re going to implement the Migrant Protection Protocols, the way it was intended. We’re going to implement the prompt asylum case review policies that we had done in the past. We are going to reissue the contracts that had been funded before to secure the border. We are going to go ahead and open up more detention space for ICE so we can detain people longer,” Clem told the DCNF. “These are all things that the executive branch has, so he has the authority to do it. He doesn’t need any additional authorities. And I think if he was moving that direction, Congress would have no problem to fund him appropriately.”

Trump’s former acting ICE Director Tom Homan cited section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), which authorizes the president “to suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens” whose entry he “finds … would be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”

“He has done all he can do to destroy the most secure border in this nation’s history and create a significant national security vulnerability that he will end up suffering from,” Homan said of Biden.

Under Biden’s leadership, Border Patrol has recorded record levels of illegal immigration at the southern border, where agents recorded more than 2.2 million migrant encounters in fiscal year 2022 and more than 2 million in fiscal year 2023, according to federal data.

Between October and December, Border Patrol recorded more than 629,000 encounters with migrants crossing the southern border illegally, according to the data.

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