By Tom Ozimek
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said Saturday that the only thing that would meaningfully bring down illegal immigration is if Mexican cartels see former President Donald Trump back in power and fear that his policies will be “very, very bad for them.”
Mr. Judd made the remarks in a Jan. 20 interview on Fox News, a day after top U.S. and Mexican officials met in Washington to discuss strengthening cooperation in addressing the throngs of illegal immigrants pouring across the southern border.
While U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the “historic” proportions of the border crisis now gripping the nation, a significant focus of Friday’s meeting was on the “root causes” of migration, including pouring money into Central American countries to encourage would-be illegal immigrants to stay put.
Mr. Judd predicted that talks with Mexican officials would not be fruitful, insisting that the power to curb the flow of illegal immigration lies north of the border anyway.
“We know that we can control everything that happens here,” Mr. Judd said, adding that, “if President Biden was seriously concerned about this issue, all he would have to do is give us policy.”
Republicans, who have blamed President Joe Biden’s policies for record numbers of illegal border crossings, have called for a restoration of the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy, an end to the Biden administration’s “catch-and-release” tactics, and implementation of asylum and parole reforms.
Democrats have said they welcome Republican efforts to enhance border security, but they insist it should be as part of a broader package of immigration reform. So far, however, efforts at immigration reform have faltered in Congress.
Trump’s Actions on Border Were ‘Brilliant’: Judd
While Mr. Judd said comprehensive immigration reform would be a welcome development, he said that much could be done right now to stem the influx.
“He doesn’t have to have Congress give us laws,” Mr. Judd said of President Biden. “Yes, it would be nice to have those laws because that’s a long-term fix, but President Biden could fix this immediately with policy.”
“We saw that with President Trump. It was brilliant what he did to drop illegal immigration to 45-year lows. Biden could do the exact same thing,” he said.
At a Friday meeting with a group of mayors at the White House, President Biden acknowledged that the southern border is not secure.
“No, it’s not,” President Biden said after being asked by a reporter if he thinks the border is secure, which comes as the president is pushing for a deal in Congress that includes border security measures.
“I haven’t believed that for the last 10 years, and I’ve said it for the last 10 years. Give me the money,” he added.
Asked for comment about President Biden’s remarks, Mr. Judd praised the president’s admission that the border is not secure. The president has long avoided calling the situation along the southern border a crisis.
“Biden said the border’s not secure but then he talks about the wrong thing,” Mr. Judd said.
“He talks about money. We don’t need money for this issue,” he continued, adding that all the available intel suggests that the record-breaking numbers of illegal border crossings are poised to get even bigger in the coming months.
He then said he’s convinced there’s really only one thing that will stem the tide of illegal immigration.
“The only thing that is going to drive these numbers down is if the cartels recognize that President Trump is going to be very, very bad for them,” Mr. Judd said.
“This is a business [for the cartels],” he continued. “They recognize that they have to generate a profit. Do they scale back, trying to make this less of an issue for President Biden going into 2024? Or do they just continue saying, ‘Hey, it’s a foregone conclusion Trump is going to win, let’s generate as much profit as we can right now?’”
“It’s all up to the cartels. The Mexican government is not going to do anything. They have no incentive to do anything right now because of the amount of money that goes into their economy based upon illegal immigration and drug smuggling,” Mr. Judd said.
President Biden’s admission that the border is far from secure comes as he seeks the passage of a supplemental spending package that would satisfy Republican calls for border security measures.
Democrats and Republicans have been locked in negotiations over President Biden’s request for additional aid for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan.
Republicans have insisted that any additional funding for the Ukraine war must include meaningful measures to bolster border security.
“The crisis at our southern border has deteriorated to such an extent that significant action can wait no longer. It must start now, and it must start with you,” House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-La.) urged President Biden in a Dec. 21 letter.
The speaker called for measures like ending the Biden administration’s controversial “catch-and-release” policy, expanding expedited removals, renewing border wall construction, and reinstating the Trump-era Remain in Mexico policy.
President Biden said at Friday’s meeting with mayors at the White House that he expects a bipartisan deal on border security next week.
“Now the question is for the speaker and House Republicans: Are they ready to act as well?” President Biden said.
“They have to choose whether they want to solve the problem or keep weaponizing issues to score political points against the president,” he said, adding that he’s prepared to accept “massive changes” on border security in response to Republican demands.