One out of every five illegal immigrants apprehended at the U.S.-Mexico border in 2014 had a criminal record — a number that totals 100,000 convicted criminals, according to testimony at a House Oversight Committee hearing Wednesday.
“The numbers are astounding,” said Rep. John Mica, R-Fla. “One hundred thousand criminal aliens entering the United States. Basically it’s out of control.”
Those numbers were put forward in a report prepared for the committee by Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, who testified Wednesday. While the border with Mexico is the most important entry point for illegal immigrants and narcotics into the U.S., the U.S. Border Patrol is approximately 5,000 agents short of Congress-mandated staffing, and there are no agents at all in Phoenix, said Judd.
Judd told the committee that violence at the border has escalated heavily since the early 2000s with the emergence of “well-organized, heavily armed, and pathologically violent” drug cartels, and said the cartels are notoriously violent within Mexico.
“To give you a sense of the violence, the official death toll … is 60,000,” said Judd, referring to the number of people killed in Mexico by drug cartels. “However, the unofficial death toll is over 120,000 killed and another 27,000 missing and presumed dead. In Mexico, the cartels kill without hesitation or fear of prosecution.”
In June, Mexican drug cartels shot at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter and actually shot down a Mexican helicopter, according to House testimony Wednesday.
Less than 100 miles from where the helicopter incident occurred, off-duty border patrol agent Javier Vega was murdered in August by two criminal illegals while protecting his family on a fishing trip.
“What I find the scariest part about the worsening violence in Mexico is how it’s extending now inside the United States,” said Judd. “We’re not only seeing violence on the border but this is extending now inside the United States and that’s scary.”
“It’s not only on the border now; it’s coming into the United States … it’s going to be a long effort at the border and … it’s out of control,” said Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y. She pointed to bipartisan efforts to pass a bill that would make trafficking guns across the border a felony.