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Border Patrol official says work is intensifying under Trump administration

A Border Patrol vehicle drives by in Tecate, Calif., seen through a hole in the metal barrier that lines the border in Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2016, in Tecate, Mexico. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)

LISTEN: Ron Vitiello, Chief of the United States Border Patrol

PHOENIX — The acting deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol said the work his agency does has gotten more intensive under President Donald Trump’s administration.

“I think the intensity of our work has changed,” Ron Vitiello told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News on Friday.

Vitiello said the increase in intensity is attributable to a January executive order signed by Trump that not only mandated the construction of a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but also allowed for the hiring of 5,000 additional Border Patrol agents.

“Plans are underway to make that happen,” Vitiello said.

The acting deputy commissioner said his agency has felt like it has backing since Trump took office.

“It’s nice to see that support all the way up through (Washington, D.C.),” he said.

Vitiello, a 32-year veteran of the Border Patrol, spent two years working in the Tucson Sector, specifically near Nogales. Though he now works on the West Coast, he still visits Arizona regularly.

He said it is important that he and other higher-ups spend time with agents in the field.

“It’s important for us at headquarters to understand what the problems and challenges the employees face when they’re on the ground,” he said.

“So getting close to them, doing employee engagement, understanding what they’re faced with – it makes us better decision makers.”


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