A 245-mile stretch of the southern border near Del Rio, Texas, is being guarded by a total of 12 Border Patrol agents, the Washington Examiner reported.
That’s the all-time lowest number of agents on duty in that area, as more migrants than ever illegally cross the border, the Examiner reported Sunday.
The surge of migrants that began after President Joe Biden took office has worn down agents who have become despaired and physically drained.
“Morale is in the toilet,” National Border Patrol Council Vice President Jon Anfinsen told the Examiner.
“Morale is low because agents aren’t allowed to do their job — if our job is to be out patrolling the border in between the ports of entry and actively searching for people who have crossed illegally, but we’re not allowed to go do that job, it basically creates this defeated feeling in everyone.”
A former senior official at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the federal agency that oversees the Border Patrol, agreed with Anfinsen.
“Morale is tanking fast,” the official wrote the Examiner in an email. “This can be seen in the simple statements made by agents, but even more importantly, it can be seen in increasing processing times. Agents are just flat tired, and we are seeing and hearing it.”
Anfinsen said the current crisis has taken a significant toll on agents because they already are “burned out and there’s really no end in sight.”
Although Border Patrol’s 19,000 agents are not allowed to speak with the media, five current agents and three former senior officials who worked in the Biden administration spoke to the Examiner.
The last six months have produced the highest level of illegal immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border since 2000 under former President Bill Clinton.
Texas and New Mexico combine to see 60% of known illegal crossings at the border.
Under Biden, tens of thousands of families and children have been released into the U.S. and will face immigration court proceedings years down the road.
The Examiner reported that up to half of the agents in Texas have been moved from the border to help process people in custody.
One federal agent working for CBP’s Air and Marine Operations in Texas said groups of migrants have been seen crossing the Rio Grande River, but “there are no agents available” to apprehend them.
“Agents are primarily indoors, processing, and we’re dealing with the people who are flagging us down — the ones who are walking up to us and turning themselves in,” said Anfinsen, the president of the council’s Del Rio chapter.
“Meanwhile, the immigrants who don’t want anything to do with us, they’re running away, although sometimes they’re walking because they have no need to run because we’re not there.”