Border Patrol agents are “beyond frustrated” as President Biden prepares to visit the southern border on Sunday, with agents and a former top Border Patrol official telling Fox News Digital that rank-and-file agents on the frontlines are unconvinced by a visit that they see as too little, too late from the White House in regard to the border crisis.
Biden will visit El Paso, Texas on Sunday where he will meet with elected local officials and community leaders, while assessing operations at the border, according to the White House.
It’s unclear whether he will meet Border Patrol agents, but the head of the Border Patrol union told Fox News Digital that if he did, he’d meet a workforce where morale is low from two years of a historic border crisis.
“We’re beyond frustrated that it’s taken him two years. We’re beyond frustrated that he allowed this issue to get as bad as it is,” National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd told Fox News Digital. “He’s not coming to the border of his own accord. He would have done that a long, long time ago.”
Judd says he believes the visit is due to pressure from certain media outlets as well as from fellow Democrats including NYC Mayor Eric Adams, who has taken aim at the administration over its handling of the crisis that has hit New York City as well as others.
“Because you now have Democrats, his constituency, his base, now that they’re upset, now you’ve got Eric Adams, you’ve got the governor of Colorado. That’s the only reason that he’s coming to the border. And it’s two years too late.“
As for the announcements made by the administration, which include an expansion of Title 42 to include Haitians, Cubans and Nicaraguans, combined with an expanded parole program — alongside a transit ban that precludes anyone from asylum if they have gone through a third country without seeking asylum there. Judd was cautious, but said if the administration followed through with its plan without making broad exceptions, the policy could be a game-changer.
“If he follows through with what either he or DHS has said, if he follows through with that, it will be a game changer. It comes down to the implementation,” he said.
That cautiousness was echoed by other agents, who also expressed skepticism about the visit and the policy.
“I’ll believe it when I see it. Plus it won’t matter. He’s not going to change his policy,” one agent who spoke to Fox News Digital on Thursday said. “It’s definitely not going to be meaningful.”
Meanwhile, Rodney Scott, who served as Border Patrol Chief under both Presidents Biden and Donald Trump, told Fox News Digital that the visit was “better late than never” but said that agents he spoke to have not been impressed.
“Based on the rest of the press conference, everybody that I’ve talked to thinks it’s just going to be for show, that nothing is going to change,” he said.
He also said there is concern that there will be a sanitized environment that the president sees, rather than the chaos that they deal with at the border every day.
“Secret Service isn’t going to want the president around 8,000 unvetted, unknown individuals that just crossed the border that day. So they’re really worried that he’s going to see the processing centers and it’ll be a dog and pony show and that it’s really for show and not for substance,” he said.
He also said that agents noticed that he didn’t mention Border Patrol or their work at all during his lengthy speech.
“He didn’t talk about enforcement. He didn’t talk about the cartels controlling the border and taking that control and all the things that agents want to hear, and there was a void of that. It was all about processing and finding ways to vet more people and get them released into the United States quicker,” he said.
Should Biden meet any Border Patrol agents on the trip, despite low morale and consternation at the administration’s policies, Scott stressed that he didn’t think there would be any explicit signs of disrespect like that that faced DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas in early 2022.
“From what I saw over 30 years, [agents] step up to the plate and they do their job as government civil servants that day. So I really doubt anybody’s going to be overly disrespectful,” he said. “And I also doubt that they’re going to expose him to front line agents that have not been handpicked by not just management, but by DHS management to minimize anything embarrassing like what happened in Yuma where people turn their backs on the secretary, those types of things.”
“But I don’t think you’re going to see anybody run up and give him a hug either way,” he added. “The guy stabs them in the back, undercuts their mission every single day. But he’s still the president of the United States and they respect the position, even if they don’t respect the person.”