ARIZONA NEWS

Border Patrol union leader says morale ‘in the tank’ after trying year

Jan 26, 2022, 4:45 AM

A group of people from Haiti stand at a gap in the U.S.-Mexico border wall after having traveled fr...

A group of people from Haiti stand at a gap in the U.S.-Mexico border wall after having traveled from South America to the United States on Dec. 10, 2021, in Yuma, Arizona. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

(Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – The head of the U.S. Border Patrol union said agent morale is “in the tank” after a year in which the number of migrant encounters soared.

“I’ve never seen it lower in my 24-year career,” Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s The Mike Broomhead Show on Tuesday.

New U.S. Customs and Border Protection data showed more than 2 million migrant encounters at the Southwest border for the 2021 calendar year.

That includes more than 178,000 encounters in December, more than in the three previous Decembers combined.

Judd said December is usually a slow month on the border because people don’t want to leave home during the holidays.

“But this last December was completely different than anything that we’ve ever seen before,” he said.

There were over 1.7 million encounters in fiscal year 2021 (October 2020-September 2021), more than in the two previous fiscal years combined.

Judd believes the numbers are so high because the Biden administration’s “catch and release” policy acts as “a magnet” to people seeking to enter the country illegally.

“It’s completely put morale in the tank,” he said.

The Border Patrol lost about 200 more agents than it was able to hire last year, Judd said. He said an “anti-police movement” and federal policies that make the job more difficult are among the reasons for the attrition.

“Our agents, they put on that uniform because they want to go out and protect the American public, and when they’re not able to do that, they don’t feel like their job means anything,” he said.

“If you don’t feel like your job means anything, you’re going to be looking elsewhere.”

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Border Patrol union leader says morale ‘in the tank’ after trying year