Nov 10, 2019

Trump immigration officials shrug off reports of saws cutting through border wall

In an interview with Jim VandeHei for "Axios on HBO," acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan shrugged off concerns of smugglers cutting through and climbing over President Trump's border wall.

  • In a separate interview with Margaret Talev, director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli told "Axios on HBO" that while some may be able to break through, there at least isn't "entire swaths of the border now where they can come and go as they please."

The big picture: Trump had sought to make the wall impermeable to outsiders, but recent reports have shown smugglers cutting through the wall with saws and power tools. Morgan argued that "the wall was never designed to be that no one could ever, ever get through it," but instead to "give the Border Patrol agents an extra boost of operational capacity to get time to get to there."

  • The border wall is still under construction — largely held up by funding and bureaucratic hurdles.

What they're saying:

"The important thing we've been trying to get out to the American people: It's not just a wall. It's a wall system we need. And the wall system needs to be part of a multilayered strategy of infrastructure, personnel and technology. If you have all three of those and the right locations, the right amounts, then we will be successful."
— Mark Morgan to "Axios on HBO"
"The wall is working. I don't think anybody ever thought it would be indestructible. And none of us expect the cartels in particular to sit there and do nothing while we block their chosen paths of their corridors to move their products, whether they be people, drugs, weapons, what have you."
— Ken Cuccinelli to "Axios on HBO"

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In interviews with "Axios on HBO," two top immigration officials echoed claims from President Trump that immigration at the Mexican border is an "invasion."

The big picture: Trump received pushback for using the term, with critics saying it demonizes immigrants and sounds too reminiscent of war. Acting commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan and acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli told "Axios on HBO" that it was a justified way to represent the situation at the southern border.

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Border Patrol official: Racist Facebook posts will "absolutely" face consequences

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Top Trump immigration official challenged on Border Patrol diversity

In an interview for "Axios on HBO," acting commissioner of Customs and Border Protection Mark Morgan defended the level of diversity within the organization, despite its leadership being overwhelmingly white.

Why it matters: The vast majority of America's immigration policymakers are white, despite the issue primarily affecting people of color. The leaders are also primarily male. America is overall 51% female, 18% Hispanic and 13% African American.

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