Reflecting on 100 Years of the Border Patrol

Parsing Immigration Policy, Episode 159

By Mark Krikorian, Mark Morgan, and Rodney Scott on June 13, 2024

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Two former chiefs of the U.S. Border Patrol join Parsing Immigration Policy this week on the occasion of the agency’s 100th anniversary. Rodney Scott and Mark Morgan join host Mark Krikorian discuss how, despite a century of government policies that have often made it harder to secure the border, the Border Patrol has always remained committed to protecting America’s national security. Morgan emphasizes that “bad politics, the lack of political courage, strength, and will decade after decade has made the Border Patrol’s job more difficult…but yet somehow they still are able to succeed.”

The Biden administration has leveraged Americans’ compassion for migrants to promote policies that hinder the Border Patrol’s ability to do its job. One such policy is the elimination of rapid DNA testing, which helps agents in identifying human traffickers. The mass influx of illegal immigrants that started in 2021 has overwhelmed the Border Patrol, preventing them from engaging in preventive measures like rigorously interviewing suspicious migrants. This situation has led to the departure of many experienced agents and has hindered the training of new agents to address potential national security threats at the border. Morgan and Scott emphasize that illegal immigration is not a victimless crime, underscoring that Border Patrol agents are not motivated by racism or any other nefarious motives; rather, they are safeguarding American national security and the integrity of the legal immigration system.

Going forward, Morgan and Scott stress the importance of improving transparency at the border to pressure politicians to provide resources and policies that will improve border security.

In his closing commentary, Mark Krikorian, the Center’s Executive Director and podcast host, discusses the eight Tajikistani nationals – all of whom crossed the Southern border and were then released – who were recently arrested on terrorism charges. The vetting process failed to detect these Tajiks’ terrorist ties, and once these ties were discovered, the fact that these foreign nationals were not detained allowed them to disappear into the country. Border security is ultimately a matter of national security, and cases like this showcase the limitations of vetting and the importance of detention.


Mark Krikorian is the Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies.


Rodney Scott is a former Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.

Mark Morgan is a former Chief of the U.S. Border Patrol.


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Intro Montage

Voices in the opening montage:

  • Sen. Barack Obama at a 2005 press conference.
  • Sen. John McCain in a 2010 election ad.
  • President Lyndon Johnson, upon signing the 1965 Immigration Act.
  • Booker T. Washington, reading in 1908 from his 1895 Atlanta Exposition speech.
  • Laraine Newman as a "Conehead" on SNL in 1977.
  • Hillary Clinton in a 2003 radio interview.
  • Cesar Chavez in a 1974 interview.
  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi speaking to reporters in 2019.
  • Prof. George Borjas in a 2016 C-SPAN appearance.
  • Sen. Jeff Sessions in 2008 comments on the Senate floor.
  • Charlton Heston in "Planet of the Apes".