Joyce Kaufman: You can’t say I’m really happy to talk to you because we always have to talk about these horrifying situations and, in particular right now, what’s happening on the border. And you have an article out right now that says, ‘this is what organized mass migration looks and feel like. The media may have left the audience but the show goes on.’ Talk a little bit about what you’ve been seeing down there on the Rio Grande.
Todd Bensman: Sure, and I’m sorry I’m not able to deliver happy meals here at lunch time. I just returned from the Rio Grande Valley Sector, which is the southern tip of Texas. That’s also the epicenter of the mass migration crisis, where it’s maybe the most intense and robust down there because of family units. That’s where the families and children mostly go. And they are being ushered across the border. There’s no obstruction whatsoever. It’s really interesting to see that. Actually, I’ll just say that it’s the first time I’ve ever seen anything like that at the border in all the years I’ve been covering it, where you have absolutely unobstructed mass migration, where the cartels on the Mexican side are tolerated and accepted by the American authorities on the American side and even, to a certain extent, work in tandem to just keep the pipeline full and moving into the United States. I would watch at night, boatload after boatload – sometimes two or three at a time – coming across like a D-Day invasion, is how it reminded me, of how boats just filled with women and children just being directed to the processing stations a little bit inland up the river bank. Border Patrol-run processing stations, all night long, all day long. Where no one even tries to stop the boat smugglers, who just get out chit-chatting and bantering with the national guard. Border Patrol will not even bother arresting them, and they know they have carte blanche – on both sides of the border. The immigrants are very expectantly ushered up into the processing areas, where given papers. Their pictures are taken. Then they’re put on these big giant white buses til they fill up, and then the buses go to a brick and mortar place where, within a day or two, they’re given legal papers and put on Greyhounds into the United States. Nobody hides. Nobody’s running. Immigrants are turning themselves in because they know that’s how you get into the United States.
Kaufman: This is a national security issue at this point… It’s like a conveyor belt now. It’s just coming and coming and coming. The idea that the media is not interested in this story… they don’t even bother to go down and film it.
Bensman: There was an initial flurry of press coverage of this. I mean, even CNN went down there in the beginning and shot some footage. But now it seems like the man-bites-dog aspect of this is kind of over. And the way I put it in my story for CIS.org is that it’s been normalized, industrialized. Everybody’s just sort of resigned to it and has accepted this as status quo, that this is the way it’s going to be, so the media for the most part have left. There are still some conservative media outlets down there, like Fox News recently did some coverage. But for the most part, you’re not going to see the New York Times, The Washington Post, or any of the old legacy media down there very much. It just struck me that everybody’s just sort of resigned to it. The Biden people won’t go down there. They won’t give it the gravitas of a visit. That’s a purposeful strategy, to make it seem like there’s not enough going on for us to go down there, it’s no big deal. But, it’s just never going to stop, that level of immigration. And let me put it this way too: I spend a lot of time with Border Patrol. Border Patrol agents are just trained to block, interdict, arrest, deport, stop this. That’s their job, their training, their basic foundational duty. And these guys have all been turned into Walmart greeters.
Bensman: They’re not doing any of that stuff in this area of the border. They may be doing it in other areas of the border. But in that area, the epicenter where they’re coming in by the tens of thousands? They’re not even allowed to arrest the boat smugglers who just come right out on shore. I mean, heck, I could have tackled any one of them myself – they’re just three feet away from me – and made a citizen’s arrest. But they wouldn’t have prosecuted them. They would have just let them go. They’re just incredibly demoralized. They’re just Walmart greeters in that area.