Briefings in Laredo
Last Monday I traveled to Laredo with Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz to make a firsthand assessment of the dangerous conditions our border patrol agents face every day. A few days prior to our visit, a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter was fired on while attempting to intercept a large group of people, most likely carrying drugs, from crossing the border. The helicopter pilot was forced to make an emergency landing after the copter was hit twice. Thanks to a bullet proof vest placed under his seat the pilot was unharmed and all the other agents are safe. Our agents risk their lives to keep drugs and dangerous criminals from entering our country. However, U.S. policies make it next to impossible for them to make any headway in securing the border. Later that evening at a dinner with a group of agents they expressed their frustration at apprehending the same people over and over again. They shared their belief that the President’s executive amnesty and prosecutorial discretion policy sends mixed messages and encourages people to break the law as they are often simply released back to their home country or allowed to stay in the U.S.
Customs and Border Patrol should also have access to the tools and technology they need to accomplish their mission like unmanned aerial vehicles, and Aerostat balloons. America has the technology and we should be putting it to use. Imagine the efficiency of having an Aerostat balloon a couple hundred feet in the air, able to survey the border and direct agents to interdiction sites. We can't have real immigration reform until we first secure the border.