In a recent interview, U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens offered a candid assessment, asserting that, in his nearly three decades of service, the southern border has never truly been secure. Owens shared his thoughts during a discussion with Martha MacCallum concerning the controversial border bill unveiled by the U.S. Senate, a proposal that has encountered significant opposition from Republicans.
As the leader of the Border Patrol, Owens shoulders the responsibility of advocating for the necessary tools and legislative support to empower the agency. Reflecting on the proposed bill, he acknowledged both favorable and unfavorable aspects, emphasizing the perpetual challenge of border security.
Owens addressed the bill’s potential impact on border security when questioned, stating, “In the better part of 28 years, I have never seen a situation where I, as a law enforcement professional, would have said the border is secure.” He emphasized the pressing need for increased personnel, advanced technology, and enhanced infrastructure to fortify the agency’s capabilities and ensure the safety of its agents.
Expressing disappointment in Congress’s failure to pass a comprehensive border package, Owens underscored the grave risks posed by such inaction. He clarified the Border Patrol’s primary mission, asserting, “The mission of the Border Patrol is not to process asylum seekers,” highlighting the strain on resources and diversion from crucial tasks caused by the surge in migrant influx.
Owens stressed the dangers faced by those attempting unauthorized entry, falling prey to criminal entities along the perilous journey. Additionally, he voiced concerns about the vulnerability of the country when law enforcement is redirected to handle the influx, allowing cartels to exploit enforcement gaps and facilitate illicit activities.
WATCH: @USBPChief Jason Owens:
“In the better part of 28 years, I have never seen a situation where I as a law enforcement professional would have said the border is secure…”
Owens on gotaways: “There’s so much of the border that we don’t have control [of]… It’s in the… pic.twitter.com/9qH3NWzybB
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 7, 2024
The Border Patrol Chief called for substantial investment in technology, infrastructure, equipment, and manpower to address the multifaceted challenges posed by the border situation. Admitting a lack of situational awareness regarding the number of illegal aliens evading law enforcement, Owens emphasized the existing gaps along the border, making it challenging to ascertain the true extent of the issue.
Highlighting the agency’s ongoing efforts, Owens disclosed capturing hundreds of thousands of individuals attempting unauthorized entry. He raised concerns about individuals evading capture, speculating that those choosing to bypass established entry points might harbor criminal intent, posing potential threats to the nation.
In response to inquiries about the border bill’s effectiveness, Owens asserted, “If it allowed us to hold those people in custody until they were actually removed and delivered a consequence, then yes, it absolutely would have.” The Border Patrol Chief emphasized the critical need for consequences and a deterrent impact to address the complex and evolving challenges at the southern border.