“Everyone’s asking you to process faster,” said Vice President of the National Border Patrol Council Art Del Cueto. “We need to stop just processing faster and we need to have serious consequences for people breaking our law.”
Del Cueto represents 18,000 Border Patrol Agents and support personnel assigned to the U.S. Border Patrol. He hears the frustration from agents being pulled from patrolling the border to instead process migrants.
As the number of border crossings continue to rise, Del Cueto believes there are solutions that need to come from Washington.
“You have to detain them, you have to have immigration judges and asylum officers down on the line,” Del Cueto said. “You need to look at these cases. The individuals that do not qualify, you have to immediately expel ’em and send them back to their country.”
The National Border Patrol Council has been highly critical of the Biden Administration, pointing to the record number of migrant encounters at the southwest border since President Biden took office in January of 2021.
In April, Del Cueto welcomed a bipartisan group of lawmakers from Washington, led by Senator Kyrsten Sinema and Congressman Juan Ciscomani, to see the border firsthand.
“The drug cartels, the people that are bringing drugs into the country, they don’t care what side of the aisle you are on. They just want to sell their product and make money.”
Del Cueto believes the Mexican drug cartels take advantage of gaps along the border left vacant as Border Patrol agents do administrative work.
He says cartels use those gaps to smuggle in drugs and individuals looking to avoid detection.
“Those are all things that are going to continue to affect this country for many, many years,” explained Del Cueto. “There’s a proper way to come in. But right now the only individuals that are taking advantage are the criminal element, the drug cartels, because they know where the gaps are being created.”
Del Cueto said the biggest frustration for his agents comes after they apprehend migrants trying to evade detection.
“They’re out there in the middle of nowhere,” said Del Cueto. “They’re putting their lives on the line. They’re going through through tough terrain, they’re going through the mountains, and then they apprehend a group that is trying to evade apprehension. Once they’re apprehended the first thing they say to you is asylum. Well, then why were you evading apprehension? When you see that, the big picture from being around sometime, you know a lot of that is a distraction by the drug cartels because they’re trying to get their product across, and they know this preoccupies the agents out in the desert.”
Art Del Cueto has been with Border Patrol since 2003. He has served as an elected official for the National Border Patrol Council for more than 10 years.