Border Patrol Chief Expresses Disappointment Over The Lankford Bill’s Defeat And Speculates That Good May Have Exceeded Bad

In an exclusive interview with Fox News, the head of the U.S. Border Patrol stated that while the now-doomed Senate border bill had certain drawbacks as well as positives for current policy, overall it should have been seen as a reasonable compromise.

Border Patrol Chief Expresses Disappointment Over The Lankford Bill's Defeat And Speculates That Good May Have Exceeded Bad

Chief Jason Owens thanked bill co-authors Sens. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., Kyrsten Sinema, I-Ariz., and James Lankford, R-Okla., telling “The Story” that the Border Patrol cannot fulfil its duty without support from Congress.

“And, as long as there’s no action coming out of Congress, we’re languishing in the same situation. So I don’t think there’s anybody that says that the bill has to have everything that we need for us to accept [it] –  that’s why we have compromise,” Owens said.

“There are aspects of that bill that I liked for the agency. And there are aspects of it that, of course, I didn’t.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican from Texas, and other opponents of the bill cited a clause that requires lawsuits opposing it to be brought in District of Columbia courts rather than in Texas, New Mexico, or any other border state where the challenges may have started. What other conservatives described as a daily average threshold of 5,000 migrants before the activation of emergency powers to shut down the border entirely was a point of contention.

Instead, Sinema said Fox News, there has been a “real misunderstanding” over the emergency powers provision that has been criticised by the right.

In response to a question concerning whether the measure would have moved the United States closer to “operational control” of the Mexican border, Owens stated that during his 28 years with the agency, he has never once declared the border to be completely secure.

Alejandro Mayorkas, the Secretary of Homeland Security, selected Owens to take over as Acting Chief in the summer of 2023.

He had previously overseen the Houlton Sector, which mainly straddles the international boundary between Maine and New Brunswick, and headed the occupied Del Rio Sector.

“We need more people. We need more agents on the line. They need more force multipliers in the way of technology and equipment infrastructure that doesn’t just help them do their job better, it helps keep them safe,” Owens added, citing provisions in the bill that would have increased the number of Border Patrol agents on staff.

“I am disappointed. And I would tell [Congress], don’t stop: Keep working together and come to a consensus that helps us keep this country safe.”

He emphasised that processing asylum applicants is not the Border Patrol’s responsibility and that agents are taken off the queue to perform these auxiliary tasks in the absence of adequate manpower and other issues.

“While we’re busy doing this, the cartels are taking full advantage of it somewhere else along the border to bring in who knows what and who knows who,” Owens said. “These are the types of things like fentanyl, like other hard narcotics and hardened criminals that do represent a danger to our community.”

“So as long as we’re stuck having to deal with a migrant influx, we cannot be out on patrol.”

Owens further stated that the current issue of the high percentage of adult male singles crossing the border illegally or seeking asylum would be resolved if a measure were to provide legislative authority to hold apprehended migrants in custody until their removal is decided.

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