Border Patrol Agents Agree with Barletta on Danger of Sanctuary Cities
WASHINGTON – Yesterday, the House Homeland Security Committee’s Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security held a hearing titled, “On the Line: Border Security from an Agent and Officer Perspective.” The hearing examined the challenges that United States Border Patrol (USBP) Agents and U.S. Customs Office of Field Operations (OFO) Officers face in carrying out their mission to secure America’s borders and ports of entry.
Congressman Lou Barletta (PA-11), once the mayor of Hazleton, PA, took the opportunity to detail his unique experience of illegal immigration and how it hurts local communities. Barletta questioned witnesses about urgently needed border security measures and how sanctuary cities are harming these efforts to protect Americans.
“I was the mayor of a city who had an illegal immigration problem,” Barletta said. “We are two thousand miles away from the southern border. I don’t need to be briefed on this issue, I lived it every single day… I’ve always been told that we must have compassion for the people who come here illegally, but no one speaks up for the victims of these crimes.”
Barletta then asked the witnesses, “What do you see as the most effective means of deterring illegal immigration once and for all, and tell me how sanctuary cities make it more difficult to enforce our immigration laws? I was sued being a mayor wanting to enforce our laws, and now we have over 380 mayors thumbing their nose at the federal government, creating safe havens for people who are in this country illegally. I’d like to hear your opinion.”
Mr. Jon Anfinsen, who has been a Border Patrol agent for 11 years and is currently assigned to the Del Rio Sector in Texas, responded, “Well you mentioned it there: enforce the laws that we have on the books. In the Del Rio sector, we were the first ones to implement what was previously called operation streamline, which meant that anyone arrested across the border in our sector went to jail for some period of time. If it was your first time crossing you might see a week, ten days maybe. If you had crossed multiple times, you’re going to see more time in jail, and ultimately, I don’t have the percentage, it led to a significant drop of apprehensions in our sector. It deterred, at least in our area, but it just pushed it elsewhere. With the interior of the country, [illegal immigrants] feel that once they pass the border, they’re home free. There are no repercussions to being illegally present in the U.S., and we do have laws on the books to do this. There’s no reason not to enforce them, but that’s what has been going on.”
Ms. Rosemarie Pepperdine, who has a 21 year career with the Border Patrol, said, “I agree with Mr. Anfinsen. I also agree that assurance of apprehension at the border is a huge deterrent in illegal immigration. You asked about the safe havens, they definitely hurt us. Not just us as agents, but the American people.”
“I’d like to apologize to all the families across this country who are victims of illegal immigration.” Barletta said in closing. “You know the focus is always on the illegal immigrant who comes here for a better life. But, there are families here that have lost loved ones. And here we are. I hope once and for all we do the right thing and secure our borders, and then deal with the problem on the interior.”
Watch the full video HERE.