From the Last Word show...
JOHN SANDWEG, FORMER ACTING DIRECTOR, IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT:
Well, obviously, a lot to cover here. I think the president,
unfortunately, engaged in a number of real distortions about what`s going
on at our southern border.
Our border`s never been more secure. You know, just 15 years ago, we had
over a million people being arrested with only 5,000 border patrol agents
there to stop them. Today, we have over 22,000 border patrol agents facing
the lowest numbers of border apprehensions we`ve had, you know, in decades.
So this kind of notion that with this border is out of control, full of
drugs coming across, terrorists and criminals, really is rejected by the
data. We have a humanitarian crisis but it`s not one that poses a real
SANDWEG: You know, Lawrence, 18 years ago when you had 1.5 million people
crossing that border, there were definitely areas where you needed fencing.
The good news is that`s largely been built and it was relatively effective.
Well, the border – beginning in 2014, we saw this real shift where all the
sudden you stop seeing, you know, individuals infiltrate the border and try
to evade capture and get into the United States. You saw the Central
American families who come up, mothers with their children seeking asylum
in the United States.
We`re not adequately resourced to deal with that threat. We don`t have
enough immigration judges. We don`t have enough humanitarian resources
dedicated for health and human services to kind of help the transition of
those people and move their cases along quickly.
The good news is the president does request money for those two things.
The bad news, though, is that he seems so fixated on this kind of security
solutions that aren`t designed and are really ill-suited to address the
humanitarian crisis we`re facing.
SANDWEG: I think there`s some areas where we probably need to replace
existing walls. There`s some areas in Nogales, Arizona where they use old
mats from aircraft landing, things from World War II. Certainly, we can
replace those walls there.
But generally speaking, the areas where we need the walls, the walls exist.
And if they don`t exist, it`s because simply the terrain doesn`t lend
itself to it. What we really, really need are the immigration judges and
got to give them credit for requesting 75 new immigration judges, but what
we don`t need is $5.7 billion dedicated to a wall that`s going to be