Border Patrol Chief Drops TRUTH BOMBS on CNN About Illegal Immigration, Smugglers

Friday morning’s CNN Newsroom ended on quite the interesting note as co-host and former Obama official Jim Sciutto brought on U.S. Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost to discuss the tsunami of illegal immigrants crossing into the country and, needless to say, Provost brought the heat and some takes that CNN viewers probably haven’t heard as much as they maybe should.

Sciutto began with quite the stunning take without any snarky side comments: “The numbers at the border of asylum seekers just off the charts. This fiscal year could surpass 900,000 people, first time since the mid-2000s.”

Now, that’s quite the problem!

 

 

Responding to a question about why that’s happening, Provost explained that this has been a slow build, but “[e]ver since families have heard the word that if you bring a child, you will be released, so they're talking to their family members, smugglers are encouraging them” and that this is being confirmed in interviews with illegal immigrants.

Sciutto did invoke the President in his next question to wonder if he’s contributed to the surge:

Does the show of force at the border, deployment of troops, and even the President's rhetoric, some of which I’m sure they have heard, does that affect the dynamic at all? Do some people come imagining, well, I better come now because the policy may change? Or is it just down to the smugglers. 

Without hesitation, Provost brushed that aside, arguing instead that “[i]t’s down to the smugglers” because they “are telling them to come” even though it’s really a money-making scheme for this ruthless smugglers.

“They are looking at this, they look at the migrants as a commodity and they put them at risk. They're not telling the families how dangerous of a journey it’s going to be along the way, and they truly don’t care about them. They care about the money that they’re making,” she added.

When asked by Sciutto what she would like to see happen, Provost argued that the Border Patrol must “be able to detain family units together throughout the immigration process until they can get to have their day in court...because the fact that they know that they're going to be released right now is creating a pull factor for them coming” since the Flores Settlement Agreement caps the days families can be detained at 20.

She also revealed this startling fact: “[C]urrently, I have more people in my custody than I have Border Patrol agents along the southwest border.”

The interview ended with one last hard truth from Provost that all CNN’s dozens of viewers needed to hear about why people (mostly from Central America) are coming (click “expand”):

SCIUTTO: And is it your view that as they come, and as they're questioned, that these are principally economic migrants, right, or folks fleeing danger at home? 

PROVOST: The majority of them that we interview are economic migrants. They're coming from poverty-stricken countries and unfortunately, that does not meet the asylum regulations for them, so it’s — it is the economic factors that are pushing. Some of them do have asylum claims, but then we have the pull factor of if you bring a child, you will be released. 

To see the relevant transcript from May 10's CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto, click “expand.”

CNN Newsroom with Poppy Harlow and Jim Sciutto
May 10, 2019
10:52 a.m. Eastern

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Border Battle; Acting DHS, Defense Secretaries to Visit Southern Border Saturday]

JIM SCIUTTO: The numbers at the border of asylum seekers just off the charts. This fiscal year could surpass 900,000 people, first time since the mid-2000s. I'm pleased to be joined now by the U.S. Border Patrol Chief, Carla Provost. Chief, thanks for taking the time. 

CARLA PROVOST: Thanks for having me, Jim. I really appreciate it. 

SCIUTTO: A big jump at the border in recent weeks. Why is this happening now? 

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Border Battle; Border Patrol Projection: Total Migrant Apprehensions Could Surpass 900,000 in Roughly Next Four Months]

PROVOST: Well, I can tell you it's slowly been progressing. Ever since families have heard the word that if you bring a child, you will be released, so they're talking to their family members, smugglers are encouraging them. As we interview the individuals in our custody, they're telling us that they're being told if I come, if I come with a child, I will be released. 

SCIUTTO: Does the show of force at the border, deployment of troops, and even the President's rhetoric, some of which I’m sure they have heard, does that affect the dynamic at all? Do some people come imagining, well, I better come now because the policy may change? Or is it just down to the smugglers. 

PROVOST: It's down to the smugglers. The smugglers are telling them to come. This is a profit for them. They are looking at this, they look at the migrants as a commodity and they put them at risk. They're not telling the families how dangerous of a journey it's going to be along the way, and they truly don't care about them. They care about the money that they're making. 

SCIUTTO: Right. I know you're a career member of the CPB, and I respect that. I just want to ask you, let's separate the politics. What would work at the border for you? What changes do you need to see made? 

PROVOST: We certainly absolutely have to be able to detain family units together throughout the immigration process until they can get to have their day in court. That is critical because the fact that they know that they're going to be released right now is creating a pull factor for them coming. For instance, currently, I have more people in my custody than I have Border Patrol agents along the southwest border. 

SCIUTTO: Wow. Yeah. So you change that, and I imagine family separation is not something you see as having a positive effect. 

PROVOST: No, I don't see us moving in that direction. As I stated, we need to be able to detain families together. Currently, because of the Flores Settlement Agreement, we cannot do that. We cannot hold families longer than 20 days and the immigration process takes longer than 20 

SCIUTTO: And then I imagine then you need more judges to adjudicate those cases. 

PROVOST: Definitely. 

SCIUTTO: And is it your view that as they come, and as they're questioned, that these are principally economic migrants, right, or folks fleeing danger at home? 

PROVOST: The majority of them that we interview are economic migrants. They're coming from poverty-stricken countries and unfortunately, that does not meet the asylum regulations for them, so it’s — it is the economic factors that are pushing. Some of them do have asylum claims, but then we have the pull factor of if you bring a child, you will be released. 

SCIUTTO: Chief Provost, thanks very much taking the time. 

PROVOST: Thanks for having me.

SCIUTTO: And we hope that we can keep up the conversation. 

POPPY HARLOW: Yeah.

SCIUTTO: Poppy, to you. 

PROVOST: Such an important interview, Jim. I’m glad she joined us.

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