There should be concern about the increase of assaults against Border Patrol agents, says the spokesman for a pro-immigration enforcement group.
Recently the head of the U.S. Border Patrol told a congressional panel that while the number of illegal aliens crossing the border is down, violence along the border has increased with assaults on agents nearly doubling so far in 2017. Through June 1, agents reported more than 550 assaults, up from 300 assaults the same time last year.
Acting Border Patrol Chief Carla Provost would not speculate as to why there was such an uptick but noted that it comes as the immigration debate is heating up under President Donald Trump.
Ira Mehlman of the Federation for American Immigration Reform says much of the problem comes from the dangerous and powerful drug cartels operating along the border.
"This is their access into the United States and they're going to do what they believe is necessary to protect their access to this country," he says. "And we as a nation need to respond."
President Trump is allowing the Border Patrol agents to do their job, says Mehlman, and that has deterred many would-be illegals from attempting to cross and also frustrated the cartels.
"But the criminals, they're still operating," warns Mehlman. "And with a lot fewer illegal immigrants coming for other reasons to provide cover, it's much easier for the Border Patrol to spot them, identify them and take action against them."
Meanwhile, Border Patrol agents are frustrated that "holdovers" from the Obama administration are still in place to continue liberal policies, according to Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council.
He told American Family Radio recently that agents are upset with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for keeping those holdovers in place.
"Border Patrol agents were extremely excited," Judd said, referring to President Trump's presidential victory last November.
"But that buzz is quickly dying," he continued, "beause what we're seeing is Secretary Kelly promoting the Obama holdovers that were the main reason for the disaster that we had on the border. So we've got to get Secretary Kelly to do the right thing."
Editor's note: Comments from Brandon Judd have been added to this story.