Appearing Monday on CNN with anchor Jim Sciutto, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent Chris Cabrera defended President Donald Trump’s threat to close the U.S.-Mexico border amid rising illegal immigration, conceding, “It’s so far out of hand you guys wouldn’t believe it if you saw it.”
A partial transcript is as follows:
JIM SCIUTTO: The president has now issued a threat to close the border. I’ve been asking a lot of people the same question — in national security, I asked the former ambassador of Mexico a short time ago — I’m just curious. Did anyone in your agency call for, make the case for, request for the closing of the border that you’re aware of prior to the president’s threat to do so?
CHRIS CABRERA: You know, not that I’m aware of. Down in my level we don’t hear too much about that, but what we do know is just in our area alone, last week, we saw 9,000 people, almost 9,000 people, apprehended. That’s not even counting the hundreds or thousands that are getting away from us because we don’t have the manpower out there.
SCIUTTO: Would closing the ports of entry help that? Because I spoke to Ambassador Roberta Jacobson, she was until last year the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico and she and others have made the point that you close the ports of entry that will chase those migrants between the ports of entry. What’s your view?
CABRERA: I think people are coming in legally, they’re coming between the ports of entry is not really an option for them. I think it will do two things: One, it will get Congress to wake up and realize that it’s time to get to work. We’ve been dealing with this since 2014 and nobody has lifted a finger and it’s falling directly in the lap of the border patrol, and we’re struggling down here just to keep things going. On the secondhand of that, if they close those ports of entry, we can use those agents to help us out in the field to get a control over what’s going on. It’s so far out of hand you guys wouldn’t believe it if you saw it.