On Thursday’s broadcast of CNN’s “Situation Room,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd stated that unless courts allow children to be held for more than 20 days, it’s impossible to avoid the separation of families without a catch and release policy. He also said that he believes there are ways to improve or loosen the zero-tolerance policy and “We arrest people and they flat-out tell us that we gave ourselves up because we know you’re going to release us.” Judd said this creates a problem because it diverts agents away from the field and smugglers then exploit those holes in the border.
Judd said he wasn’t consulted by the White House about the zero-tolerance policy, but “I did absolutely present concerns to the agency on what was happening under the zero-tolerance policy, and how we could make it better, or how we could loosen it up. I did have a role in that.”
Judd later stated that if the president is trying to suggest that almost every person trying to enter into the country is dangerous, “then that’s not true. The fact of the matter is, is we do deal with an awful lot of people that do have criminal records in the United States, some of them very bad criminal records, wanted for murder, warrants for rape, for child pornography, for all kinds of things. But yeah, the truth is, is the vast majority of the people that we deal with are very polite, respectful individuals. We just don’t know who — when we’re going to be dealing with those people, or when a situation’s going to be — going to turn bad very fast.”
Judd also said that holding children for more than 20 days is “not going to fly. Because the court decisions are very, very clear that we’re not going to be able to hold the children for more than 20 days. What I will tell you is, is I am very concerned about the magnets that draw people to the United States. We arrest people and they flat-out tell us that we gave ourselves up because we know you’re going to release us. And the problem with that is…smugglers force them to cross the border between the ports of entry because they know it’s going to tie up my resources, and when my hands are tied up, and I pull agents out of the field to process these people, the drug smugglers, or the traffickers of any illegal contraband, create holes in the border and they run their higher-profit contraband through the holes that they create. If these individuals would present themselves at ports of entry, which is a legal process, then it frees up the Border Patrol to deal with the criminality and the cartels and the smugglers.”
Judd further stated that unless courts allow the administration to hold children for more than 20 days, then it’s not possible to avoid separating families without catch and release.
Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett