Border Patrol Officials Claim They Were Silenced by the Biden Administration

By: Beth Moreton | Published: May 17, 2024

Border patrol and immigration have long been among the biggest issues facing the U.S. since Joe Biden became president. One thing that has happened is the lack of communication between border patrol officials and the media.

Former border patrol officials have recently spoken out and said that they went from being able to freely communicate with the media under Donald Trump to being restricted by Biden in how they spoke to the media.

The Number of Immigrants Has Increased

The number of immigrants, both legal and illegal, attempting to cross into the U.S. has increased in recent years, with San Diego seeing a particular increase at its Mexico border.

Immigrants lining up outside US border force. There are carrying bags and suitcases. They are standing next to a van and a border force worker is helping them onto the van.

Source: @Jacqueline__us/X

The San Diego-Mexico border received 2.5 million migrants between 2022 and 2023, 80% of which were legal. This has led to San Diego officials voting to spend $19 million on a transit center to provide shelter, food and other services while they are being processed.

Better Management at the Border Is Needed

To help to try and manage the situation going on at U.S. borders, in particular the San Diego-Mexico one, better management is needed due to the extreme wait times.

The San Diego-Mexico border. On the left is San Diego, which has one building surrounded by grass and sand. On the right is Mexico, which has a busy city with cars on the road, billboards and buildings in close proximity.

Source: Sgt. 1st Class Gordon Hyde/Wikimedia Commons

This is mostly in relation to cross-border travelers, with many deciding to no longer cross the border into the U.S. because of the wait times. As little information is out there, online groups have been created to give people this information.

U.S. Border Patrol Officials Were Banned From Giving Out Information

Matthew Hudak, who has recently retired from being second in command of the U.S. border patrol has said that when he was working under Biden, officials were banned from giving the public and media any information.

U.S. border control officials are standing on a road with cars and other vehicles behind them.

Source: CBP Photography/Wikimedia Commons

This caused many issues for officials as, due to the increase in the number of immigrants crossing into the US, many questions were left unanswered, which caused rumors to spread.

Officials Had to Seek Approval to Speak

When wanting to give a statement to the media regarding what was going on at border patrol, officials were told that they would have to request permission from the White House before they could speak.

U.S. border force security checking a person’s passport.

Source: ABC7/YouTube

Even if permission was granted, this was often under the condition that someone from the White House was present, and it often wasn’t the border patrol officials speaking to the media, as someone else would be passing on the information they felt was relevant.

Border Officials Under an Unofficial Gagging Order

The order for border officials not to speak to the media or public wasn’t actually written in writing, as these restrictions were verbally passed down to officials.

A border control official working on a computer. A man is talking to her from behind the computer.

Source: ABC7/YouTube

They were even prohibited from sharing requested information from the press, such as images and videos of what was happening at border control. Any time officials did speak to the press about what was going on, they had to do so anonymously with the hope of not being caught out.


Illegal Immigration at an All-Time High

One of the many issues with border patrol officials being unable to speak directly to the media themselves came after the U.S. experienced an all-time high of illegal immigrants entering the country.

A man trying to climb over a wall from Mexico into the U.S.

Source: Tomas Castelazo/Wikimedia Commons

This has happened since Biden became President in 2021, with the levels being significantly lower when Trump was President. Many wanted answers as to how this was happening, but no one could give out any information.


A Backlog of Migrants

The amount of migrants entering the U.S. has led to a backlog, which has resulted in many migrants being allowed into America while they are waiting several years for their application to be processed.

Immigrants in the U.S. living in tents due to lack of accommodation. Some are walking toward the tents carrying bags.

Source: NBC News/YouTube

This backlog has only happened during Biden’s time as President, with migrants mostly coming from Central and South America. By September 2023, around 6 million people were on a non-detained docket.


Border Chief Never Spoke to the President

With the growing calls for action regarding the border crisis, more issues emerged when former border chief Raul Ortiz revealed that despite having spent two years in the role, he had never spoken to President Biden or Vice President Kamala Harris.

Raul Ortiz posing for an official portrait. He is in front of the U.S. flag.

Source: United States Customs and Border Protection/Wikimedia Commons

He said this was a major problem as he was in charge of 21,000 people and that decisions were being made based on politics and receiving media coverage, such as only placing personnel on a 2-mile stretch and leaving out the other 200 miles.


Trump Had a Better Border Control Media Policy

Compared to Biden, Trump had a better border control media policy as he allowed the media to tour the facilities where children were being held after he introduced a child separation policy.

A group of migrants being kept inside a cage.

Source: @OregonBlondi/X

The initial media requests were very straightforward, with officials previously having frequent contact with the media. But this contact with the media has been completely stripped back under Biden.


Some Media Restrictions Were Due to COVID

Not all of the media restrictions were due to secrecy. When Biden was inaugurated, the U.S. was still at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and media tours of processing facilities were limited to follow pandemic procedures.

U.S. border force control. Cars and trucks are parked next to border control checkpoints.

Source: CHCH News/YouTube

However, that was in 2021. Now there aren’t as many COVID-19 procedures in place, so officials don’t see why the same restrictions are still in place.


Border Patrol Morale Has Been Damaged

Due to the limitations on speaking to the media and the only communications coming from the press office in Washington, border patrol officials’ morale has been at an all-time low.

U.S. border officials walking in front of border control checkpoints.

Source: CHCH News/YouTube

These limitations have caused more rumors to circulate among the press and the rest of the U.S., which puts officials in a difficult situation. They are left unable to confirm or deny anything, and many are calling for Biden to allow them to regain their voices again, which is looking unlikely.