SAN ANTONIO, Texas — Joint Task Force – West (JTF-W) Director Manuel Padilla, Jr. told Breitbart News that having a secure border with Mexico is a “matter of national security” during a 45-minute exclusive interview.
“When one visits the border, you will see the compassion of the agents,” Director Padilla told Breitbart News Border and Cartels Director Brandon Darby. “You will see the agents rescuing this year over 4,500 rescues. You will see somebody assaulting the agents. And I’m going to say it, unfortunately, you will see some misconduct by one agent, which is not the norm.”
“So the border has all these things,” the director stated. “If we were to portray an objective picture of what’s happening on the border, I think every American will understand that…having a secure border is not an option…it’s a matter of national security.”
During the 45-minute interview with Darby (below), Director Padilla discussed the humanitarian and national security crisis caused by the largely unsecured border between the United States and Mexico. These issues include human smuggling, drug trafficking, and cartel violence.
The director also discussed the need for a physical barrier and how they impact border patrol agents versus cartels. He continues with a discussion about the abuses of migrants by their smugglers.
Padilla said the South Texas border has lagged behind in the construction of physical barriers because of heavier traffic in areas like El Paso and San Diego. “If you look a the tactical infrastructure that we have to include the walls is a lot less than other parts of the country,” he explained. “It’s kind of shifted traffic to different areas.”
“I was very hopeful, very happy when I saw that this administration was very focused on establishing the personnel, technology, and infrastructure to the levels that we are working on and also that engagement with Mexico and Central America,” Padilla concluded.
President Donald Trump appointed Director Padilla to lead the Department of Homeland Security’s Joint Task Force — West in October 2018. The task force coordinates the assets and personnel of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the U.S. Coast Guard, and other federal agencies to secure the U.S. southwest border.