I Visited a Migrant Processing Facility. This Is What I Saw.

August 2, 2019 Topic: Politics Blog Brand: The Buzz Tags: PoliticsTrumpImmigrationMigrationSociety

I Visited a Migrant Processing Facility. This Is What I Saw.

"I think, first and foremost, the people of ICE and [Customs and Border Protection] are doing phenomenal work and they’ve done phenomenal work in the midst of a massive crisis that overwhelmed the border with limited resources." 

I prefer merit-based immigration and things like that. But there was a great sense about how awesome our country is by the resources we’re providing. The actual cost that was quoted to me was $250 million just in health care alone, for all [that the Customs and Border Protection] delivered to individuals who come across the border.

 

So, that’s a lot of American taxpayer dollars going to take care of people who are trying to come into our country and we’re doing it right. So, proud of my country, proud of [Customs and Border Protection] and ICE. Frustrated at the lies of the left. I guess that’s my emotional response.

del Guidice: Yeah. And that’s such an interesting response. And I feel like one we don’t hear all the time because we hear people on the left and lawmakers in Congress saying, “Oh, these people are crossing over and then they’re being subjected to concentration camp-like conditions,” when in fact … there was a report out today in the Washington Examiner that said 1.1 million people will have crossed into the border by Sept. 30 and these people want to come because there’s something here and they want to be part of that.

So I think that’s this unique and important perspective to remember and we just want to make sure people are doing it legally.

So, not only did you tour government facilities like ICE and [Customs and Border Protection], you also had some meetings with local businesses and ranchers in the area. What are you hearing from Americans who essentially live on the border and experience this crisis day in and day out?

Green: Well, they’re incredibly frustrated and I missed the meeting with the ranchers when they sat down with the ranchers. That was on the end of Day Two.

But I talked to people in El Paso and business leaders there as I interacted with folks and they’re frustrated. They are overwhelmed. Many … obviously, there’s crime related to this, so they’re fearful in that regard. But yeah, I missed the actual meeting with the ranchers, which was scheduled for the Tuesday afternoon, late Tuesday afternoon.

del Guidice: And some of your Democratic colleagues, I heard they traveled to the border last month. Do you think your experience was similar to theirs’ or do you know if areas where both of your trips differed, or if there were different takeaways from those two different tracks of visits to the border?

Green: Well, clearly, they have different takeaways than us. They’d come away saying just the opposite of what we’re saying, which blows my mind.

But I will say this: Many of the [Customs and Border Protection] guys shared with us that the volume was down. And when I did my ride-alongs on the border, I could see the Mexican national guardsmen actually standing watch across the border.

President Trump’s trade threat clearly had an impact. Mexico responded and the number of people coming across the border has significantly decreased. That’s something that’s relatively new in the past several weeks.

Now, Mexico put those guys on a 45-day deployment, so the Border Patrol is aware of this. They anticipate, or the way they described it is they think that they’re in the eye of the storm and that once those 45-day national call-ups are over in Mexico, they anticipate that the volume will increase again.

Let’s hope Mexico continues to do its part at its southern border. Of course, now there’s their agreement with Guatemala, too, which will help, but that’s probably the biggest difference from the past several weeks.

del Guidice: You mentioned the asylum laws earlier at the start of our conversation. What do you think are some of the biggest loopholes in our current immigration system that need to be fixed, whether it’s asylum laws or other, now that you’ve been there? What are some things that you’re seeing, “OK, we need to definitely change how this works”?

Green: Well, the court cases and all that stuff that led … we talk about, everybody calls it the Flores amendment or the Flores agreement. Well, the result of all of it is that a child, if there’s a child, and if it goes through the process of being verified, that it is with the right people.

And by the way, one of the things we learned on this trip is that 30% of the people that come over with children, they’re fraudulent. Meaning they either rented the child—we actually heard that—but that there were people renting their child to come across and be used basically as a visa.

That’s what this whole Flores thing does, is that it allows, if there’s a child and it’s connected with that individual and it’s not fraudulent, then they get released immediately into the country. They get a court date in the future and that’s it. So it’s a visa into the United States. The child becomes the visa and that’s got to be fixed. That is the central thing that has to be fixed.

Also, the ability to determine credible fear at the border. If we can immediately determine credible fear, then there are people that we could return. It wouldn’t have to wait on a court date. So those are two of the biggest things that need to be fixed.

del GuidiceWhat would you say, during the course of your trip, maybe one of the biggest things that might have reinforced your position about the crisis there, or changed it? Maybe something that was surprising, or something that just reinforced what you’ve seen, what you’ve been told by others who actually live there, about the crisis that we’re seeing?

Green: I was a little surprised to hear the number 30% on fraudulent families, so to speak. I thought that was much larger than I would’ve expected.

Other surprises … I was surprised to hear how supportive the people on the border are of the president’s initiatives. They are very supportive of the tariff threats and the impact that that’s had. And those are probably the two biggest surprises for me.

del Guidice: What is your take, given there’s been a lot and it’s no secret, President Trump campaigned on building a wall along the southern border and there’s been opposition to that in Congress and elsewhere.

Do you think a wall will help? And why do you think there has been such opposition to it?

Green: Yeah, I think the wall absolutely helps. It is hard to get over so people go around it. And what that does is it allows the [Customs and Border Protection] to basically concentrate their efforts. It channelizes the flow of immigrants, migrants, and so they can concentrate efforts and look for the really bad characters like MS-13, terrorists, and the cartels, the crime that’s happening.

So, you see this stuff, if you can narrow the distances over which you have to look, you can find that needle in the haystack and hopefully either stop drugs, stop MS-13 gangs and other crime that’s happening.

 

Obviously, once the immigration laws are fixed, then there’ll be more that they can do with regard to immigrants. But, right now, it’s those drugs and the criminal element that are really the priority to stop.

del Guidice: During your trip, I know that you mentioned you also visited some ports of entry. What was that experience like? What did you see, and what are some reforms in those spaces that you believe need to be made after being there?

Green: I think the entry control points are very good. They’re well managed. There is this constant sea of people coming though and I don’t see an end to that any time soon until we change the laws, but they do a very good job of inspecting.

I think they need more modern technology in terms of X-ray technology. Right now, they’re not looking into every single vehicle, every single transport vehicle that comes over. Clearly, that’s an opportunity for bad things to happen. It would be great if they had more resources in that area.

The other thing I think they could change is, they’re not inspecting any of the vehicles going back, and I think that is clearly an opportunity to identify some of the criminal elements that are coming in and going back. So I would like to see them inspect more of the traffic that’s flowing south.

del Guidice: Given your time visiting and speaking with ICE and [Customs and Border Protection] officials, what would you say is the mood of those who work so hard to protect the border? Are they overwhelmed? Are they frustrated? Do they feel like they’re being listened to? What was the mood that you experienced in getting to spend time with them?

Green: Well, they’re great Americans. They love the country and they’re for the rule of law. They are encouraged right now because of the support that the president’s given and because the $4.6 billion got approved.