On September 11, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott sent a letter to Senate leadership warning about serious law-enforcement and national-security vulnerabilities at the Southwest border. He laid blame for the disaster there firmly on the Biden administration, claiming that its focus is on moving illegal migrants into the United States. It is an eye-opening, informative, and at times scary read.
Scott was a long-time fixture at the former INS and then CBP, serving for 29 years under six different administrations. He started as a Border Patrol agent in 1992, eventually rising to sector chief in El Centro and San Diego (respectively) before being named Chief of the Border Patrol in 2020. He remained in that position before retiring in February.
His reasons for writing that letter are set forth therein: Scott is “sickened by the avoidable and rapid disintegration of what was arguably the most effective border security in” U.S. history in the last few months.
My career in immigration and Scott’s have roughly overlapped, and I can tell you the Southwest border between August 2019 and January 2020 was in the best shape I have seen in my professional career — there was nothing “arguable” about it. And now, it is far worse than ever, as I experienced firsthand.
Scott is also clear as to why, as he puts it, “control of our borders has disintegrated overnight”: “Common sense border security recommendations from experienced career professionals are being ignored and stymied by inexperienced political employees”.
Specifically, according to that letter, seasoned experts at CBP, ICE, and DHS have presented the president’s advisors with options to reduce the flow of illegal entrants and “reestablish some semblance of border security”, but those recommendations have been “summarily rejected”.
Why is the president’s “inexperienced” crew ignoring the advice of veteran, non-political professionals? The chief explains that it is because Biden’s folks are “laser-focused on expediting the flow of migrants into the U.S.”
Consequently, they are “downplaying the significant vulnerability” their policies have created, weaknesses that can be exploited by “terrorists, narcotics smugglers, human traffickers, and even hostile nations to gain access to our homeland.”
That is undeniable: When was the last time that you heard the president or his underlings mention the inevitable deleterious consequences of the migrant surge on the “opioid overdose crisis” our country is facing, to say nothing of the threat that surge poses to national security? Illegal immigration does not exist in a bubble of peaceful and (otherwise) law-abiding “asylum seekers looking for a better life”.
With respect to that national security threat, Scott posits that if “[l]ow level, unsophisticated and uneducated smugglers are illegally crossing the border and increasingly evading apprehension daily”, why wouldn’t “well-resourced terrorist networks, criminal organizations[s], and hostile nations” not be “doing the same”?
He describes thinking that those malefactors wouldn’t be doing so as “naïve”, and you can trust him on that: Scott also served as deputy executive director of CBP’s anti-terrorism office.
Worse (and somewhat shockingly), he asserts that the DHS Secretary (Alejandro Mayorkas, although he is not named) and other political appointees within the department “have provided factually incorrect information” to Congress and the American people.
A media class that is largely objectively pro-Biden and like-minded Democratic congressional leadership would almost definitely provide a lot of cover for the president when it comes to most negative news, but apparently there are some facts too big to elide or explain away.
For proof, just look at the pictures that CNN ran on September 21 from the border in Del Rio, Texas. They look more like scenes near a refugee camp on the Pakistani border than they do the outskirts of a modern American town. But ignoring them would shred the outlet’s credibility even with its most dogged fans.
That said, Scott does not identify the “factually incorrect information” that DHS officials have presented to Congress and the public. He does, however, suggest that congressional leadership “request detailed information from DHS/CBP on the number of individuals with Terrorist Screening Database ... alerts” Border Patrol has arrested this year.
He also encourages those leaders “to ask questions about the surge in” Border Patrol “personnel assigned to the border in Texas. Specifically: “What national security and public health risks are we knowingly accepting in the areas these agents were pulled from?”
Respectfully, if the president or his subordinates have hidden the threats posed by terrorists exploiting an out-of-control border (for which they are largely to blame), or are blithely accepting that dangerous people may enter areas of the border that are being left undermanned as they reassign agents to change diapers, “electoral” consequences are not the only ones that they should be facing.
Scott also confirms points that I and others have made about how cartels are both creating and taking advantage of the chaos at the Southwest border:
[I]llegal entries are being scripted and controlled by Plaza Bosses that work directly for the transnational criminal organizations (TCO) to create controllable gaps in border security. These gaps are then exploited to easily smuggle contraband, criminals, or even potential terrorists into the U.S. at will. Even when [Border Patrol] detects the illegal entry, agents are spread so thin that they often lack the capability to make a timely interdiction.
Reading Scott’s letter, one comes away with the impression that the border is like a basketball game where smugglers and cartels are the Harlem Globetrotters and Biden’s DHS advisors are their perennial patsies, the Washington Generals — the latter basically mailing it in, but trying just hard enough to make a show of it for the fans.
Only, there are no fans of a wide-open border and its attendant criminal and national-security risks, aside from the smugglers, cartels, and economic migrants themselves. In its attempt to hold the door for those migrants, the Biden administration has allowed the others to come on in, too. And possibly terrorists, as well. Chief Scott’s letter is a warning Congress would do well to heed.