U.S. Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens, in a recent interview, expressed his views on the controversial border bill put forth by the U.S. Senate and the state of border security over the last three decades. Owens, who has served in the agency for nearly 30 years, stated unequivocally that he has never felt the border to be secure in his tenure.
Owens was speaking with Martha MacCallum when he addressed the newly proposed legislation which has come under fire from Republicans. As the leader of the Border Patrol, he is tasked with lobbying Congress to equip the agency with the necessary tools and legislation to perform its duties effectively.
“There are definitely aspects of that bill that I liked for the agency,” he said. “And there’s aspects of it that, of course, I didn’t.” He further clarified that, in his view, the bill would not have ensured the security of the southern border.
He pointed out the need for more resources, including additional agents, technology, and infrastructure, to not only improve their performance but also ensure their safety. “We need more people, we need more agents on the line, they need more force multipliers in the way of technology, equipment, and infrastructure that doesn’t just help them do their job better, it helps keep them safe,” he said.
WATCH: @USBPChief Jason Owens:
"In the better part of 28 years, I have never seen a situation where I as a law enforcement professional would have said the border is secure…"
Owens on gotaways: "There’s so much of the border that we don’t have control [of]… It's in the… pic.twitter.com/9qH3NWzybB
— Steve Guest (@SteveGuest) February 7, 2024
Owens also expressed disappointment at the failure of Congress to pass a satisfactory border package, emphasizing that this put the nation at serious risk. He explained that the Border Patrol’s mission is not to process asylum seekers, but to deal with the influx of migrants who should ideally be applying for entry through an established port of entry.
According to Owens, bypassing established ports puts migrants at risk as it leaves them at the mercy of smugglers and cartels. It also diverts the agency from its main tasks, allowing cartels to exploit the situation to traffic drugs, criminals, and other dangerous elements across the border.
Owens expressed concern over the number of illegal aliens evading law enforcement and infiltrating the U.S. each month, as the lack of situational awareness leaves large areas of the border unmonitored. He emphasized the need for more technology, infrastructure, equipment, and manpower to address these challenges.
In response to whether the border bill would have had a positive impact on the situation, he said: “If it allowed us to hold those people in custody until they were actually removed and it delivered a consequence, then yes, it absolutely would have.”