A Democrat congresswoman has been accused of using taxpayer funds to send her staff into Mexico in secret to train asylum seekers on how to get around United States immigration laws.
Her staff was sent to the northern border town of Ciudad Juárez to find migrants who were sent back using the “remain in Mexico” policy.
The National Border Patrol Council’s El Paso chapter and several Customs and Border Protection personnel told the Washington Examiner aides to Rep. Veronica Escobar, who took over 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke’s district, and the local Catholic diocese have interviewed thousands of migrants in Juarez over the past few weeks to find cases where Department of Homeland Security officials may have wrongly returned people.
“What we believe is happening is Veronica Escobar’s office is going … to basically second-guess and obstruct work already done by the Border Patrol,” a senior union official said in an interview with The Examiner.
“What we’re hearing from management is that they’re attempting to return people, and the story was changed in Mexico, where a person who understood Spanish before now doesn’t understand — where a person who didn’t have any health issues before now has health issues,” they said.
“They went through and interviewed everybody, cherry-picked them, brought them back, and now are using them as tag lines. They’re going over there and manufacturing a lot of these issues,” they said.
The Border officials said that they are concerned that what she is doing is using the interviews to then claim the Border Patrol is not allowing legitimate asylum seekers in.
“We had finally found a happy medium ‘cause we always get crapped on when it comes to immigration laws, and then they’re finding loopholes to bring them back,” another official said.
Former immigration judge Mark H. Metcalf said it is “more of a stunt than a genuine threat to the integrity of the process.”
“She’s trying to obviously say these people have been wrongly denied their claims and they’re waiting when they shouldn’t be,” he said.
But, he said, if it is proven that she is coaching migrants to create fake stories to get into the United States she could be prosecuted.
A Department of Homeland Security official aware of the situation said Democrats, nonprofit organizations, and 2020 hopefuls “are furious that these migrants” are not permitted to “await their court dates in the U.S., where they have the opportunity to disappear and slip into the interior never to be seen again.”
“By opposing a system that assists migrants and speeds wait times, these individuals are exposing a cause that looks more like a cover story for their political motivations.
“Any efforts to subvert and obstruct federal law enforcement operations should receive a full review,” they said to The Examiner.
In one incident, an Escobar aide and diocese official walked a male migrant over the bridge in June and asked for him to be admitted into the U.S. because they had found he had “cognitive disabilities.” Officers took the boy and turned the case over to the Border Patrol, where an agent found a Constituent Information and Privacy Release Form with the U.S. House of Representatives seal on it inside the 17-year-old’s file. Two officials said the paper would have to have been put in his file while he was interviewed in Mexico and was not supposed to have been left there because it would reveal to the Border Patrol that a member of Congress or their staff was meeting with migrants in Mexico.
The boy has since returned to Mexico because the medical condition was not diagnosed by a medical professional but by an aide of the congresswoman, one official said Friday.
“Management saw that form and was like, ‘What is this?’ and reached out to our International Liaison Unit. And ILU said, ‘Yes, Veronica Escobar and several other politicians are in Mexico trying to defeat the MPP program,’” the union said to The Examiner.
“Resources are being diverted into a foreign country in an attempt to reverse already-decided legal action, meaning these people were found inadmissible under a new program and they must remain in Mexico. They’re trying to subvert that,” they said.