TUCSON – With a record number of migrants illegally crossing the southern border, there is growing concern that the Border Patrol is being stretched to the breaking point.
According to Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost, 40% to 60% of our nation’s Border Patrol agents have recently been re-assigned to humanitarian duties.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators wanted to know if this is happening in the Tucson Sector.
“Well, I don’t sleep soundly, but it isn’t like it was ten years ago either,” said Cochise County rancher, John Ladd.
For Ladd, our nation’s border with Mexico is his backyard.
Ladd and his family have 16,000 acres just west of Naco.
It’s an area that continues to see people illegally crossing the border almost every day.
“The groups are from two to eight people. They’re in full camouflage, booties, and a cellphone,” Ladd told the News 4 Tucson Investigators
It’s why Ladd is especially concerned about stories that nationally, the Border Patrol has re-assigned half of their workforce to humanitarian duties.
That means agents are being pulled away from border security, and instead, they are working to provide support to migrants illegally crossing from Mexico and beyond.
“For the people coming across the ranch, Border Patrol is who I depend on,” Ladd told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.
Tucson Sector agents tell the News 4 Tucson Investigators, while it is true that agents are routinely re-assigned, other agencies have also been able step-up and take care of non-enforcement duties, leaving Border Patrol agents free to focus on what they do best.
“Border Patrol’s main mission is to secure our nation’s borders, and if we see that we need assistance to be able to continue to do that – that is why we have called out to our DHS partners,” Agent Alan Regalado told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.
Border Patrol officials also say the continued presence of National Guard troops in southern Arizona means Tucson Sector agents can continue to focus on capturing drug and human smugglers.
“Agents care about human life. We care about the safety of the people that are coming into our country illegally, but we need to secure our nation’s borders. We need to make sure that everyone within our country is safe.” Regalado told the News 4 Tucson Investigators.
The News 4 Tucson Investigators will continue to monitor the situation on the border here in southern Arizona.
If you have something you would like the News 4 Tucson Investigators to investigate, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call the News 4 Tucson Investigators tip-line at (520) 955-4444.