There were 212,672 people apprehended at the United States southern border in July, the highest number in 21 years and a 13% increase from June. There were more than 19,000 unaccompanied children detained at the border, likely the second-highest total on record, according to the Associated Press. The massive influx of illegal immigrants arrived during some of the hottest summer weeks, which is typically when border crossings decrease due to the scorching heat. The overwhelming flood of illegal immigrants and the lack of tools to do their job has allegedly crushed the morale of U.S. Border Patrol agents.
Members of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection claim that the Biden administration has handcuffed their agents, which, in turn, has reportedly demoralized the agents trusted to protect the borders of the U.S.
"Morale is in the toilet," Jon Anfinsen, a spokesman for the Border Patrol's union, told the Washington Examiner. "Morale is low because agents aren't allowed to do their job — if our job is to be out patrolling the border in between the ports of entry and actively searching for people who have crossed illegally, but we're not allowed to go do that job, it basically creates this defeated feeling in everyone."
Anfinsen, who is the president of the National Border Patrol Council's Del Rio chapter, said that CBP agents are "burned out and there's really no end in sight."
"Everyone shows up to work sort of downtrodden, almost dead inside, for lack of a better term," Anfinsen stated. "They're not allowed to [do] the job, and they know that people are getting away every single day, every hour."
A former senior official at CBP confirmed the plummeting morale, "Morale is tanking fast. This can be seen in the simple statements made by agents, but even more importantly, it can be seen in increasing processing times. Agents are just flat tired, and we are seeing and hearing it."
The report noted that "up to half of the agents in Texas have been pulled from the border and are indoors, processing people in custody."
"Agents are primarily indoors, processing, and we're dealing with the people who are flagging us down — the ones who are walking up to us and turning themselves in," Anfinsen explained. "Meanwhile, the immigrants who don't want anything to do with us, they're running away, although sometimes they're walking because they have no need to run because we're not there."
The Washington Examiner said it had spoken to five current agents and three former senior officials who worked in the Biden administration.
An agent with the CBP's Air and Marine Operations in Texas revealed that it is easy to spot groups crossing the Rio Grande River, but "there are no agents available" to take them into custody.
The COVID-19 pandemic is exacerbating the shortage of CBP agents. According to data from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, 10,228 CBP employees have tested positive for COVID-19 and 37 have died as a result of coronavirus.
A former CBP employee, who is in daily contact with agents in the field, said, "These guys feel abandoned by CBP and DHS and the administration. Nobody's coming to rescue them."