The president of the National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) vigorously defended President Donald Trump’s assertion that the border wall would reduce illegal crossings by 99 percent. His testimony during a hearing of the House Homeland Security Committee followed that of the acting Border Patrol deputy commissioner who danced around the issue when challenged by a California congressman.
During President Trump’s visit to the border on March 13 where he viewed the border wall prototypes, the President said, “We have a lousy wall over here now, but at least it stops 90, 95 percent. When we put up the real wall, we’re going to stop 99 percent. Maybe more than that.”
U.S. Representative Nanette Barragan (D-CA) challenged the president’s assertion during the Homeland Security Committee’s Border and Maritime Security Subcommittee hearing on March 15.
“This week, the President visited California. It was the first trip to the state, my state,” Barragan began. “The trip to California was designed to bring attention to the President’s signature issue, and campaign promise, the wall.”
“During the trip, the president said the wall would stop, and I quote, 99 percent of illegal entries across the border from Mexico,” she said.
Directing her attention to Commissioner Vitello, Barragan asked, “Would a wall prevent 99 percent of illegal entries at the border?”
Vitello danced around the question in his response.
“When we have the investment in the complete fashion–technology, infrastructure, mobility to the border–we will be much more effective,” he claimed.
Barragan challenged the commissioner’s assertion stating, “But there’s no matrix to know it’s 99 percent, is that correct?”
Vitello responded defensively, “We have a matrix that we call the interdiction effectiveness rate, and what that does, it gives us a box score if you will, about how many enter and how many are caught. Where you have this infrastructure in complete fashion–when we have a barrier, when we have access to that barrier, when we have sensors to queue the response from our agents…”
Barragan interrupted Vitello.
“So, no, nobody on this panel, can anybody else on this panel attest that 99 percent of the illegal entries will actually be prevented?”
“I didn’t hear the quote directly,” Vitello responded. “But, there was a briefing he was given by the chief patrol agent in San Diego, Ronnie Scott, which talked about the 99 percent decrease in activity in San Diego based on this investment in personnel, infrastructure, and technology. That was part of the brief. I had not heard what [the President said] directly.”
In contrast to Vitello’s failure to directly address the question, Border Patrol Agent Brandon Judd, in his capacity as president of the NBPC directly addressed the issue of the effectiveness of a barrier.
“As an agent who has extensive experience working with and without border barriers, and as the person elected to represent rank and file Border Patrol agents nationwide, I can personally attest as to how effective physical barriers are,” Judd stated. “A wall in strategic locations will ultimately lead to far greater effectiveness and allow us to direct our very limited manpower resources to areas without barriers and where illegal crossings are more likely to take place.”
In responding to a question from Subcommittee Chairwoman Martha McSally (R-AZ), Judd responded, “We can secure the border and we can make this problem go away once and for all.”
“Congresswoman Barragan asked acting Deputy Commissioner Vitello if he believed that the wall would be 99 percent effective,” Judd continued. “I can tell you that the U.S. Special Forces have tried out those barriers and they found that those barriers are impenetrable.”
“I would say absolutely yes,” Judd stated emphatically, “those walls will be 99 percent effective, but we only need them in strategic locations.”
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, Gab, and Facebook.
(Disclosure: Breitbart Texas sponsored the Green Line podcast for the NBPC in an effort to provide a platform for agents to inform the public about the realities on the border and what Border Patrol agents face. Director Brandon Darby received an award from the Laredo chapter of the NBPC for his work in helping to defend and bring a voice to Border Patrol agents. Breitbart News assisted in covering funeral costs for a slain Border Patrol agent previously.)