MCALLEN, Texas — The U.S. Border Patrol reported more than 400,000 people who illegally crossed the border were able to get away without being arrested over just the past 12 months, according to the agency's previous leader.
"We have over 400,000 documented gotaways, people or incidents, where people cross the border, got away this last year," former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said in an interview that aired on Fox News Tuesday evening.
Scott, ousted from government by Biden administration officials after 29 years in the Border Patrol, said instances like thousands of people surging across the river in Del Rio, Texas, led to "hundreds of miles of border [where] we have no idea what took place."
The Border Patrol tracks "gotaways," people it knows entered the United States without permission but were not apprehended, through technology and agents in the field.
Federal agents also stop many migrants along the border each month. The Border Patrol apprehended nearly 200,000 migrants just in August, far more than in previous years. In the first seven months that President Joe Biden has been in office, more than 1.2 million people have been encountered illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico. That figure does not include the number who got away without being caught.
Scott in May was forced out of his post as the most senior leader of Border Patrol's 20,000 agents. In his farewell message to agents, obtained by the Washington Examiner, Scott said unprecedented numbers of known or suspected terrorists have crossed the southern border in recent months as agents are pulled away from the border to transport and process migrant families crossing.
“Over and over again, I see other people talk about our mission, your mission, and the context of it being immigration or the current crisis today being an immigration crisis,” Scott said. “I firmly believe that it is a national security crisis. Immigration is just a subcomponent of it, and right now, it’s just a cover for massive amounts of smuggling going across the southwest border — to include TSDBs at a level we have never seen before. That's a real threat.”
TSDB refers to known or suspected terrorists, as identified in the FBI's Terrorist Screening Database.
"Your peers or you are taking criminals, pedophiles, rapists, murderers, and, like I said before, even TSDB alerts off the streets and keeping them safe from America," Scott said. "Even if we processed several thousand migrants that day and even if thousands of them were allowed into the U.S., you still took those threats off the street, and I think that's worth it. So, please don’t ever undersell how important your mission is."
The surge of migrants from mostly Central American countries has prompted Border Patrol to pull more than 40% of agents from the field to help transport, process, and care for people in custody, meaning fewer agents are able to patrol for national security threats. Often, smugglers send over large groups of families and children to divert agents to one area and then run other contraband or people over the border where agents are not present.
The Washington Examiner was first to report in June that Biden administration officials were forcing out Scott at Border Patrol headquarters in Washington after 16 months on the job. One person with firsthand knowledge of Scott's decision said in May that Scott was told to retire, resign, or move away from headquarters. The decision by Scott's bosses was “completely driven by politics," even though Scott's position is apolitical.
The government's 2021 fiscal year started Oct. 1, 2020, and ended Sept. 30.
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Original Author: Anna Giaritelli