Gaffney: Where are you now?
Bensman: I’m in the Big Bend Sector. I selected this area to come visit because the latest CBP data shows a 365 percent increase in apprehensions of adult illegal immigrants. This is not the family units or children; these are adults who are backpacking in huge numbers through this very rugged terrain.
Gaffney: I guess you didn’t get the memo Todd. You just referred to them as illegal immigrants. They’re now described as undocumented migrants. Can you explain why we’re being told this is a horse of a different color?
Bensman: Eh, you know, it’s just Democratic crackpot stuff… Every time Democrats get into office – we’ve seen this kind of stuff during the Obama administration. It doesn’t mean anything. Statutorily, they’re illegal aliens. That’s the language of the statute. I’m going with the statute language. Sorry guys.
Gaffney: Let’s talk more about the crisis. Is there any doubt in your mind, as a guy who has monitored the border closely, and particularly seeing the dangers of it being less secure for a long time and perhaps more assiduously than anybody else, is it anything other than a crisis? And is it getting worse or better?
Bensman: It’s a crisis; I’m glad they finally copped to it. It was becoming increasingly ridiculous that they were avoiding and denying… because the numbers are the numbers. The numbers should go ever skyward on a trajectory that kind of looks like this. I’m thinking that the April numbers will be well in excess of 200,000. That’s just apprehensions and encounters. The immigrants themselves, who I interview on a regular basis – I was just over in Mexico interviewing them this whole week – they are coming here because the administration promised that they would get in. So, of course they’re coming and they’re going to be coming in increasing numbers until that changes. I don’t see that it’s going to change. I don’t see that there’s any hint that it’s going to change. It’s going to go skyward to a point where it’s just historic numbers for the country. This is a historic event, you could say, of a population transfer.
Gaffney: What is your working model of how many more are getaways relative to those who have actually been intercepted or apprehended?
Bensman: Very significant. CBP does not publish getaway numbers, but we’ve had them leaked. Just to give you an idea… last month, there were 172,000 apprehensions or encounters with real illegal aliens, and there were 40,000 more off book that were gotaways, that they believe got through. Do the math. That’s 25 or 30 percent more than we thought. In a sector like Big Bend, though, where the Border Patrol is very thin – where you might have half a dozen Border Patrol agents on a 60-mile stretch of border — they tell me the gotaways are in the 70 or 80 percentile range. They catch a tiny fraction of what they think is going through in the Big Bend section.