A strained Border Patrol is getting increased attention from the Biden administration. Tense meetings have taken place between senior officials and the rank-and-file as the agency deals with the largest influx of migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in decades.
The Department of Homeland Security is planning a series of measures aimed at addressing the workload and morale of agents in the agency it oversees. DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is pledging to more forcefully pursue criminal prosecutions of people accused of assaulting Border Patrol agents.
Chris Magnus, the new commissioner of Customs and Border Protection said, "That's something that agents in the field want to hear because assaults are on the uptick." Magnus said, “We are not just seeing folks who are fleeing to the U.S. to get away from conditions. We are seeing smugglers, members of cartels, and drug organizations that are actively engaged in doing harm.”
As the Associated Press reports, President Joe Biden's reversal of many of the tough policies Trump put in place at the border could cause trouble for Democrats in the midterm elections.
Customs and Border Protection agents have reportedly encountered migrants coming from all over the world along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last year alone, agents encountered migrants around 1.7 million times at the U.S.-Mexico border raising the number to the highest in decades, according to the Associated Press.
According to a Pew Research report published in August of last year, U.S. Border Patrol reported nearly 200,000 encounters with migrants along the U.S.-Mexico border in July of that year. That was the highest monthly total in more than 20 years, according to Pew.
Magnus, who is the former police chief of Tucson, Arizona said in an interview, “We’re seeing folks that are encountering political conditions and violence, unsafe conditions to live and work, at unprecedented levels.” He said, “We’ve seen, for example, in places, earthquakes or other environmental conditions. We’re seeing unprecedented levels of poverty. All of these are things that are in many ways, you know, pushing migrants again at high levels to this country.”