The U.S. Border Patrol has come under an unprecedented level of attack as of late from predominantly left-of-center open-borders advocates. U.S. Senator John Cornyn wasted no time in speaking up for the men and women serving as Border Patrol agents.
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart News, Senator Cornyn discussed a variety of threats facing the Border Patrol agents themselves and their ability to properly perform their duties of keeping our borders as secure as possible.
“There are attacks against Border Patrol Agents and they need to be able to defend themselves,” said Senator Cornyn. He was referring to a recent effort led by the American Civil Liberties Union and the nonprofit Police Executive Research Forum to prevent Border Patrol agents from using deadly force if they were being attacked by illegal aliens in remote areas with either a vehicle or rocks. “Many of them [Border Patrol Agents] are out in ones or twos, there is not the same backup available that metropolitan police settings allow,” he explained.
The senator also addressed the issue of Border Patrol agents often being sent out into remote areas where their radios do not work. The lack of attention their parent agency, the Customs and Border Protection Agency (CBP), has paid to making sure sufficient radio coverage exists has left many of the men and women of the Border Patrol in danger, alone and without the ability to call for help. Cornyn vowed to make sure these circumstances change, stating: “This is completely unacceptable. We should not abandon them to fend for themselves without the ability to get backup.”
Another matter addressed by Senator Cornyn pertained to the pay of Border Patrol agents. The National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) has been fighting for a bi-partisan supported pay reform package for their agents. The Obama administration has been seeking to reduce overtime hours for the agents, thus allowing even larger gaps in security along the U.S./Mexico border.
With too few agents and restrictions on their ability to properly perform their duties, the NBPC has increasingly spoken out regarding the detrimental effects on their ability to keep our borders as secure as possible. Senator Cornyn stated: “The President’s efforts would cut the overtime hours of Border Patrol agents significantly.” The Senator explained that the type of work involved in patrolling the border often required Border Patrol agents to work longer hours than intended while pursuing narcotics smugglers or other illegal aliens.
“When I was in Rio Grande Valley Sector [Texas border region], because of cuts, many [Border Patrol agents] don’t live in the area they are patrolling. Many have to drive far distances to get to where they are assigned,” Cornyn said. “We should pay for that time, going to and from the job.”
Cornyn also warned that the President’s overtime cuts could go much deeper than is understood and stated: “That will decrease security drastically. It is penny wise and pound foolish.”
“Napolitano said the border is secure, even though approximately half is not under operational control,” Cornyn stated. “I voted against the Senate immigration bill because they came in at the last minute offering 46 billion, but no plan to implement it or any metrics to measure the plan’s success. This administration and Napolitano had zero plans to deal with the border, so I had zero confidence in their ability to get the job done.”
“This administration doesn’t acknowledge the need to do more, they act as though status quo is acceptable,” he said. “This is willful ignorance on their part. We increased the size of Border Patrol during the Bush administration, we have not done so since that time.”
“We need to increase the numbers in Border Patrol and in Customs. I offered an amendment to add 10,000, a 50/50 split between Border Patrol and Customs,” said Senator Cornyn.
Cornyn stopped short of directly saying he would support the pay reform package the NBPC is asking for. He agreed with the proposals in substance but indicated such bills can often be very different by the time they are actually voted on. The Senator then offered a bold statement addressing the issues the Border Patrol agents are facing, stating: “We need to improve the size of the Border Patrol force, we need to make sure they are paid, not tie their hands, and let them return deadly force with deadly force.”