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If wall is a go, Border Patrol expects surge of crossings into Southwest

Border wall prototypes are on display in San Diego in October 2017. (AP File Photo)
LISTEN: Brandon Judd, President, National Border Patrol Council

PHOENIX — The proposed wall between America and Mexico remains part of immigration reform, and that has the Border Patrol taking another look at staffing.

“We are prepared for [a rush on border crossings before the wall goes up] — we’re not staffed for it, that’s the problem,” National Border Patrol union President Brandon Judd said Monday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Arizona’s Morning News.

“But we can do surges in certain locations. We can pull [staff] from locations that aren’t as busy and we can move them over to the locations that are busy until we get fully staffed.”

There were about 19,400 agents working across the country last year. In 2011, there were 21,444.

Judd, who spent years at the Tucson Sector, cited pay and job dissatisfaction as reasons for attrition.

The Department of Homeland Security said apprehensions for fiscal year 2018, which began last October, had increased slightly.

“If we arrested 300,000 people last year [trying to cross into the Southwest], if we’re 50 percent effective, then 150,000 people got by us.”

The White House immigration plan has drawn some dissatisfaction from members of both parties, but overall, Judd believed the proposal was “an extremely good deal,” he said.

In exchange for $25 billion in funding for the wall, Trump has said about 1.8 million immigrants — the majority protected by Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — could be eligible for a path to citizenship.

Judd doesn’t have a big problem with that.

“If we’re able to shut down the border to where we apprehend and deport every single person that crosses the border illegally, then that 1.8 million people we legalize is actually a very good trade-off.”

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