Rep. Issa: Border Patrol Officers Retiring Over Migrant Situation Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) speaks as U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken testifies before the House Committee On Foreign Affairs March 10, 2021 on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Ting Shen-Pool/Getty Images)
By Sandy Fitzgerald | Monday, 05 April 2021 09:38 AM
There is "already" a mass exodus of Customs and Border Patrol officers who are retiring or seeking other government work because of the spiraling situation at the nation's southern border and President Joe Biden's policies, Rep. Darrell Issa said Monday.
"What we are seeing is that anyone who can retire is retiring," the California Republican said on Fox News' "Fox and Friends." "Many are applying for other federal jobs. It's a demoralizing time and it's only going to get worse."
His comments come as more Americans disapprove than approve of how Biden is handling the immigration situation with thousands of unaccompanied migrant children showing up at the U.S.-Mexico border and larger immigration efforts, according to a new Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll.
The survey found that 40% of Americans disapprove of Biden’s handling of children reaching the border alone, compared with just 24% who approve. Thirty-five percent don't have an opinion either way.
Meanwhile, migrants are being sent to aging military bases across the country, and that is adding to the stresses being felt by agents from the Border Patrol and with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Issa.
"Every time they find these remote facilities, that's more people within the system, the most challenged systems," said Issa. Border Patrol and ICE find themselves basically guarding people that shouldn't be in the country. They certainly shouldn't be sitting on old retired World War II military base re-purposed to hold these people. Not since the Haitian boat lift have we seen this kind of volume of people being placed on military bases."
In late March, the Pentagon approved a request from the Department of Health and Human Services to temporarily place unaccompanied migrant children at two Texas military bases, according to a CNN report. Children were to stay in a vacant dormitory at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland and temporary housing was to be built on an empty plot of land.
The Pentagon is also reviewing a request to house migrant children at Camp Roberts in California, chief Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said last week.
"We do have the request in the building. We are analyzing it as we have the others," Kirby told reporters during a news briefing at the Pentagon.
On Tuesday, the Department of Health and Human Services, who submitted the request for support to the DoD, conducted a site visit of the National Guard base in central California to determine whether it could be used as another location to temporarily house migrant children.
The Paso Robles Daily News reports that the California Department of Health and Human Services is sisting Camp Roberts with housing children ages 4 to 18 years old for four to six weeks. The initial request was for 1,500 beds but it could go higher, according to the news report.
The Biden administration has reportedly asked government employees to volunteer to go to the border to help with the influx of migrants, and Issa said that for some of what's going on, trained people aren't needed.
"It doesn't take a trained border patrol agent to basically say come on, get in the bus, and let's move you into America, and that's what's beginning to happen," said Issa. "The border patrol, with a rare exception of some high-value targets and a few recognized drug people for the most part they are, asked to be part of a welcome mat. There is no question at all."
He also said that the use of military bases like Camp Roberts ad the further use of federal troops will also "continue to spin out," as there will probably be more than 200,000 "so-called refugees in the way migrants coming north.
"Caravans that are absolutely forming to come north are going to dwarf anything that we have seen before," he warned.