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Thread: More Southwest border fencing needed, but it is not sole answer, chief says

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    More Southwest border fencing needed, but it is not sole answer, chief says

    More Southwest border fencing needed, but it is not sole answer, chief says

    Erin Kelly , USAToday
    2:20 p.m. EST November 30, 2016

    (Photo: Ross D. Franklin, AP)

    WASHINGTON — More fencing is needed along the Southwest border to keep migrants from crossing illegally, but neither fences nor walls alone will solve the problem, the new border patrol chief told a Senate panel Wednesday.

    U.S. Border Patrol
    Chief Mark Morgan, who has been on the job about four months, was not asked directly about President-elect Donald Trump's plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and make the Mexican government pay for it. But Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, asked Morgan whether he believes that fencing works.

    "Do we need more fencing? Yes," Morgan responded. "Does it work? Yes. Do we need it everywhere? No. Is it the sole answer? No. It's part of an overall, multi-layered strategy."

    Johnson asked Morgan to work with the committee to install more fencing where it is needed along the nearly 2,000-mile border between the U.S. and Mexico, but the senator said he's not talking about erecting fencing along the entire length of the border. Instead, he said better fencing is needed in some places. The
    U.S. government has already built fencing along about 700 miles of the border.

    "Fencing works," Johnson said. "A better wall works."

    Morgan said, "I agree." He cited the effectiveness of fencing in the Border Patrol's
    San Diego, Calif., sector at stemming the flow of immigrants crossing the border illegally. He said Border Patrol officials were able to move 100 agents to more troublesome spots because they were no longer needed in the San Diego area.

    However, Morgan said fencing must be combined with more high-tech strategies, including sensors and drones that alert agents when people are crossing the border illegally. He also said the Border Patrol needs more horses and dogs and needs to share intelligence more closely with other U.S. and international law enforcement agencies to keep migrants from reaching the border.

    "If they've made it to the border, we've ... essentially already lost," he said.

    Despite all the controversy during the presidential election about Mexicans crossing the border illegally, the number of undocumented Mexicans coming into the U.S. has been decreasing due to the deployment of more Border Patrol agents and more powerful technology after the 9/11 attacks, Morgan said. The improved economy in Mexico has also drawn many home, said
    Sen. Tom Carper of Delaware, the committee's senior Democrat.

    Since fiscal 2000, apprehensions have dropped by more than two-thirds on the California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas borders, Morgan testified. In the
    Tucson, Ariz., sector, apprehensions have plummeted from more than 616,000 in fiscal 2000 to fewer than 63,400 in fiscal 2015.

    The biggest challenge for the Border Patrol is not Mexicans, but Central American children, unaccompanied by their parents, who are fleeing gang violence and poverty in
    Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, Morgan said.

    An unprecedented 70% increase in unaccompanied children overwhelmed the border in 2014. Those numbers fell in 2015 from 68,540 children to 39,970 children. However, the number rose to nearly 60,000 children in fiscal 2016, Morgan said.

    The chief said he saw a 6-year-old and an 11-year-old pair of siblings from Honduras come across the border, holding hands. He said the rise in unaccompanied children has turned the Border Patrol into "professional child care providers" who have added baby powder and baby wipes to the list of supplies they now must buy regularly.

    "It takes a tremendous amount of resources to do this," Morgan said.

    "We're going to do whatever this country asks us to do, but I never thought in my 20 years that I would be, as part of the procurement, ordering baby powder and baby wipes,"

    Morgan said a Border Patrol supervisor in the Rio Grande sector of Texas told him recently.

    He said agents also told him that, as part of their job taking care of children in processing centers, they are in charge of making sure "the burritos that are being provided are being warmed properly."

    Morgan said he thinks that the U.S. policy of allowing the children to stay in the U.S. after they surrender to Border Patrol agents encourages parents to send their children on the dangerous journey from
    Central America to the U.S.

    Most of the children are cared for by Border Patrol agents in holding centers before appearing before immigration court judges, who typically release them to family members in the U.S. with an order to appear in court at a later date to determine whether they qualify to remain in the U.S. permanently.

    Morgan said the policy toward Central Americans may need to be changed the way it has been for Mexicans, who are immediately sent home when they are apprehended crossing the border illegally.

    Morgan is the first Border Patrol chief who has never served as an agent. The former Marine spent 20 years at the FBI, where he rose to become an assistant director. Before that, he was an officer for the
    Los Angeles Police Department.

    The chief said he has visited 11 Border Patrol sectors and plans to meet regularly with agents to listen to their concerns.

    Morale within the Border Patrol has been notoriously low for years.

    The number of assaults against agents has risen 200% in the past year, Morgan said, adding that two agents have been killed in the short time that he has been chief.

    "It's a dangerous job," Morgan said.


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  2. #2
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Aug 2005
    Wow. 30 million illegal aliens in the country and Congress is still trying to decide how best to keep more out. Amazing!!
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    Senior Member Beezer's Avatar
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