PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) – The Border Patrol agents noticed an increase in “OTM’s” about two years ago around the Rio Grande. They believed that these “other than Mexican’s” were fleeing a land of violence and poor economic condition. But now with such a drastic increase, the border patrol stations are lacking the facilities to house them.
Shawn Moran is the Vice President and Spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council. His organization represents more than 17,000 border patrol agents and staff members. These are the men and women who serve on the front lines of defense against illegal immigrants coming into our country.
Moran states that once the initial flow of immigrants from places like El Salvador and Guatemala came in 2012, word spread to family members still living there that coming to America is easy, if you’re willing to follow a few simple rules.
When illegal immigrants crossed the border, they would immediately give themselves up to the border agents who already lack a place to hold all of them. Then, they are released to family members already living in the United States and given a court date for an immigration hearing. He referred to this system as “catch and release”.
“I think the number one thing is we need to end the catch and release policy, we need mandatory detention for people who are crossing the border,” said Moran. “The law allowing for the release of juveniles from non-contiguous countries needs to stop. We need to close that loop hole and make sure that people are held and they are not just released with no consequences. It’s the lack of consequences that’s fueled this crisis.”
Custody Re-determination is never successful for the agents. Once they release the illegal immigrants into the United States an upwards to 80% never come back for their hearing. He says we gave them what they wanted, they wanted into the United States and now they’re going to do anything they can to stay.
(Border Patrol -Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Moran continues that his group is mainly concerned with the fact that they lack man power to control all the people crossing the border. Then once they are in and released to family members, there is no system of keeping track of where they go in the country. They simply can disappear from radar.
Border Patrol Agents express deep concern regarding the health of the detainees. Many people are coming in with diseases like H1N1, Swine Flu, Scabies, and Lice. They are afraid that the environment they are in is a perfect breeding ground to spread these illnesses, putting the United States at risk of a potential outbreak.
“As with the illegal drugs, we are the draw, we are the consumers of illegal aliens so to speak,” said Moran. “And if we have a magnet that’s drawing them here and we don’t turn that magnet off they will continue to be drawn here.”