U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens said the Mexican drug cartels are flooding the southern border with illegal immigrants in part as a distraction so that they can smuggle "other things," including drugs and convicted sexual predators, into the United States.
In June, the Biden administration appointed Mr. Owens—a longtime veteran of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) who started his career in 1996—to lead the agency. He replaced outgoing U.S. Border Patrol Chief Raul Ortiz amid intense political scrutiny over President Joe Biden's immigration policies.
"In terms of flow and the threats that we're seeing with fentanyl and with the criminal organizations that are our adversary, it's about as bad as I’ve ever seen it," Mr. Owens said.
"This isn’t sustainable. This is up and down the system, everybody is overwhelmed. Even the government of Mexico, which have been great partners [sic] for us, the U.S. Border Patrol, a lot of times our facilities are already over capacity."
"I believe it’s a money-making opportunity for those smugglers, and I believe it’s a distraction from them to cross other things into the country," he said, later clarifying that the "other things" that cartels are smuggling are narcotics, fentanyl, bulk cash, weapons, and people of interest, whether it be hardened criminals, gang members, or convicted sexual predators.
Mr. Owens also said that the primary focus of border agents should be to stop the smuggling of those things, but instead, they're overwhelmed with tens of thousands of illegal immigrants flooding the border.
'Human Shields'Former U.S. Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott expressed similar concerns in late March during an interview with NTD News, The Epoch Times' sister outlet, explaining that people who cross the border serve as the perfect "cover" for the cartels' other operations.
"The cartel uses these people as human shields to shape the border to completely overwhelm all law enforcement in areas very systematically so that they can bring in other threats—people that are willing to pay more money to not meet a Border Patrol agent, or the narcotics, the fentanyl that we see poured into our cities all across this country," Mr. Scott said. "Those are the threats that the illegal immigration is a cover or a mask for."
Deadly drugs such as fentanyl are also pouring across the border, Mr. Scott pointed out, noting that the threat today is "more than ever before" due to a partnership that the Mexican cartels have entered with China's communist regime.
"The cartels in Mexico are creating fentanyl, and the profit is so high, and the commodity is such a small amount, it’s easier to smuggle," he said.
According to the DHS, the active-duty personnel will focus on "logistics and other functions at the border to allow more CBP agents and officers to return to their core mission and responsibilities."