EL PASO, Texas – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) began his visit to the U.S.-Mexico border by participating in a night operations brief and riding along with Border Patrol union members Thursday night.
Portman is Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Portman saw how the Border Patrol deploys and integrates agents, sensors, horse patrols, and aerial surveillance to secure the southern border, according to a news release from Portman’s office. He also heard firsthand from Border Patrol about the current struggle to retain agents due to the overwhelming, record-breaking number of migrants and drugs crossing into the United States across the border.
“I want to thank every hard-working member of the U.S. Border Patrol as they deal with the growing crisis at our southern border,” said Portman. “We owe them the resources both to do their job effectively and retain the many well-trained agents who serve. It was stunning to see how many people, including unaccompanied children, unlawfully crossed the border during my ride-along last night.
“Border Patrol agents are concerned about the rapid increase in unaccompanied children, which increased by 62 percent between January and February, as well as the increase in total encounters with unlawful migrants, which surpassed 100,000 in February. Border Patrol agents told me about how unaccompanied children and families are used to divert agents while traffickers move illicit substances like meth and other deadly drugs across the border,” Portman stated in the news release.
“We are still early in the year and not yet in the peak season for migrant travel, so we are likely to see continued increases in unlawful immigrants and deadly narcotics at our border unless the Biden administration changes its failed approach,” said Senator Portman, Ranking Member of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
The following day (Friday), Portman toured an area near the Monument Three border wall section, the U.S. Border Patrol Paso del Norte processing station, and received an operational brief from Gloria Chavez, Chief Patrol Agent, USBP El Paso Sector and Command Staff, according to the news release from the senator’s office.
Agent Chavez highlighted that currently there is a struggle to retain agents due to the overwhelming, record-breaking number of migrants and drugs crossing into the United States across the border.
Portman began his visit to the border yesterday by participating in a night operations brief and riding along with Border Patrol agents.
“I appreciated the thorough operational brief at El Paso Sector Headquarters from Chief Patrol Agent Chavez, as well as being able to see the Paso del Norte migrant processing station, and an area near the Monument Three border wall section,” Portman said. “It is clear that the Biden administration’s dismantling of the previous administration’s policies with no consideration of the ramifications has incentivized migration, and increased Border Patrol manpower is critical.
“The Paso del Norte processing facility is seeing an increase in migrants of 150 to 200 percent which is stretching manpower and resources thin. Near the Monument Three border section, I was shocked by the difference between the new wall sections and temporary wall sections left unfinished due to the Biden administration’s executive order. The crisis at our southern border is clear, and I urge the Biden administration to provide Border Patrol with the resources they need while stepping up efforts to collaborate with international partners – including the governments in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador – to address this challenge, discourage migration, and provide safer alternatives to making the dangerous journey north,” said Portman.