As Republican candidates debate their proposed solutions to the crisis at the southern border and migrants from Central America and Cuba surpass even the high numbers of illegal crossings in 2014, border agents made a startling revelation at a House Judiciary hearing on Thursday all the more concerning by news of spending cuts in surveillance programs.

After learning that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security plans to cut the budget for aerial surveillance along the U.S.-Mexican border by half, the Republican governor of Texas, [score]Greg Abbott[/score], and Democrat representative, [score]Henry Cuellar[/score], wrote to Jeh Johnson, the department’s secretary.

“Any decrease in aerial observation is not only imprudent, but contradicts the very mission of border security enforcement,” the Texans wrote, asking for additional information about the move and describing it as “unsettling.”

“We believe DHS should request more surveillance and security resources, not fewer. Moreover, Texas requested additional aerial observation resources in a September 30, 2015, letter that went unanswered by your department.

The director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, Jessica Vaughan, called the surveillance “critical to what is known in the security business as “situational awareness.” That’s the kind of program that enables us to know what is happening on the border, so that agents on the ground can be sent to intercept. Apparently, the Obama administration doesn’t want to know what is coming across the border, and doesn’t want the Border Patrol to know, either.”

Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, also delivered a bombshell to the panel when he told members that agents have been instructed to adopt a “catch and release” policy allowing alien women and children to enter at will.

The law requires illegals who are caught to be given a summons to appear in court for a hearing, but more than 40 percent of those given a summons disappear without attending the hearing, a source of embarrassment to the Department of Homeland Security.

Judd testified that border agents are now barred not only from serving the summons, but have been instructed by the Border Patrol not to even ask the alien why they are coming into the U.S.

When Representative [score]Paul Labrador[/score] (R-ID) asked, “What do you think are the consequences for agents who are unwilling to comply with these limiting policies?” Judd immediately replied, “They’ll be terminated.”

William Gheen, president of Americans for Legal Immigration, also appeared at the hearing telling the representatives that the situation at the border “continues to spin out of control. Our gates are wide open, and the final siege of America is well under way.”


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