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  • The border, the boundary that is incredibly tough

  • to smuggle a monkey across... I am told.

  • -(MONKEY SCREAMING) -Shh.

  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • President Trump has famously made securing the border

  • a key priority for his administration,

  • most notably through his border wall,

  • something which, as we've pointed out before,

  • he himself inadvertently found a flaw in on the campaign trail.

  • There's no ladder going over that.

  • If they ever get up there, they're in trouble.

  • 'Cause there's no way to get down.

  • Maybe a rope.

  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -Yeah. Yeah. Maybe a rope.

  • And I know that sounds stupid, but to be fair,

  • you haven't heard Phase Six

  • of Donald Trump's border security plan,

  • "Go get me all the ropes."

  • And while that wall idea has received a lot of coverage,

  • it is by no means Trump's only border plan.

  • One of his more benign-sounding, but potentially

  • no less dangerous, ideas concerns the Border Patrol.

  • And first, let's be clear about who they are.

  • They are part of Customs and Border Protection.

  • They are not ICE, who you may know from immigration raids.

  • They're also not customs officers,

  • who you'll see at airports and border crossings,

  • nor are they the Borders Patrol, a group of vigilantes

  • who defend abandoned Borders bookstores from raccoons.

  • No, the Border Patrol are the people in green uniforms

  • who literally patrol the boundaries of our country.

  • There are around 20,000 of them.

  • But Trump, in an executive order,

  • has called for them to add five thousand more,

  • to tackle the many problems that he sees

  • on our southern border.

  • Let's stop the drugs and the crime

  • from pouring into our country.

  • You can certainly have terrorists,

  • you can certainly have Islamic terrorists,

  • you can have anything coming across the border.

  • We're gonna have a strong, strong, strong border

  • that people are gonna respect, and the drugs are not gonna be

  • flowing across like gravy.

  • Now, that right there, is what happens

  • when Donald Trump starts a sentence feeling xenophobic

  • -and ends it feeling hungry. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • "We need to stop Mexicans coming in like hot fudge sundaes

  • coming into my tummy, three scoops, whipped cream,

  • no cherry, 'cause I don't do fruit."

  • But-- but for the record, Border Patrol agents

  • do a lot more than just fight drugs, crime and gravy.

  • In recent years, the number of Mexicans apprehended crossing the border

  • has dramatically dropped and has now been surpassed

  • by the sharp rise in migrants fleeing violence

  • in Central America, for whom there is a legal process to seek asylum here.

  • Meaning that agents' days

  • can frequently include moments like this.

  • NEWSCASTER: The Boccé family take their first tentative steps

  • into the United States of America.

  • Within seconds, the Border Patrol are on them.

  • There's no chase, no tension. They expected to be caught.

  • (MAN SPEAKS IN SPANISH)

  • NEWSCASTER: As we film, another two figures emerge,

  • a mother and her daughter.

  • They're given blankets to protect them from the cold.

  • And that's kind of not what people expect

  • when they think of the border.

  • In the Venn Diagram of hardened drug dealers

  • and people who need blankets,

  • that middle section is pretty much just Linus.

  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • Oh, I'm sorry, he is not a drug dealer?

  • The messy hair, the stripy shirt,

  • the thumb-sucking... He sells ecstasy at raves,

  • and he's high on his own supply all the time.

  • There is no Great Pumpkin,

  • he's a junkie, someone intervene!

  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • But-- but the truth is, it is moments like that there,

  • that show how difficult the job of a Border Patrol agent can be,

  • because in that moment, they are delivering aid

  • and processing migrants, but later, that same day,

  • they may be chasing down drug traffickers.

  • So, it's a mixture between humanitarian work

  • and law enforcement, and not everyone can do it.

  • And that is what makes Trump's plan

  • to expand the Border Patrol by 25 percent so concerning,

  • because if you hire agents quickly and badly,

  • it can actually leave us much less safe

  • and have devastating consequences.

  • And the reason we know this is because we have been down this road before.

  • So, tonight, I would like to talk to you

  • about the last Border Patrol hiring surge,

  • because it wasn't that long ago.

  • NEWSCASTER: After the so-called bungling of intelligence leading up to 9/11,

  • President George W. Bush is determined to shore things up at the borders.

  • As part of that mandate, the Border Patrol expanded

  • from 10,000 agents to 20,000.

  • It's true. The late 2000s saw a surge in Border Patrol agents

  • that was matched only by the surge in the number

  • of reality shows about people making cakes.

  • There were so many of those, you don't even know

  • which one of them I made up.

  • It was, by the way, Cake Cucks...

  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -...which, I guarantee you,

  • will be in production some time next week.

  • Now-- now, to meet the surge's ambitious targets,

  • recruitment was aggressive,

  • and the government advertised everywhere,

  • even, at one point, doing this...

  • NEWSCASTER: The Border Patrol spent 8.4 million dollars sponsoring this car,

  • getting it detailed and staffing recruitment booths.

  • (CAR REVVING)

  • That is honestly true. They sponsored a NASCAR team,

  • putting the Border Patrol in such fine company

  • as other actual NASCAR sponsors, Depend Underwear,

  • -and Boudreaux's Butt Paste. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • A product for, I assume, people who want their butt

  • -pasted closed. -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • And look, that wasn't all.

  • They also ran slickly-produced TV ads, like this...

  • ANNOUNCER: As a mobile law enforcement arm

  • of the Department of Homeland Security,

  • it is the job of the Border Patrol

  • to prevent terrorists and terrorist weapons,

  • and all those who seek to do us harm,

  • from entering the United States.

  • (RADIO CHATTER)

  • ANNOUNCER: The Border Patrol.

  • We protect America. Are you up to the challenge?

  • You have to admit, they make that job look very exciting,

  • although, in fairness, anything said

  • in that tone of voice would be exciting.

  • (DEEP VOICE) Here is my kitten. I named him Bootsie.

  • Don't wee on the rug, Bootsie.

  • I'm not sure he likes me as much as I like him.

  • (RESUMES REGULAR TONE) But the truth of their job is

  • that most agents work alone, patrolling vast swathes of desert.

  • And whilst some days feature bursts of action,

  • others can involve absolutely nothing,

  • which can be challenging in and of itself.

  • REPORTER: One of the larger problems... is boredom.

  • HEYMAN: It doesn't mean that it's never dangerous.

  • There are bandits out there, there are drug organizations out there.

  • What they're not really getting is preparation for...

  • the boring, non-risky reality of almost all of their career.

  • -(AUDIENCE LAUGHING) -Exactly.

  • Boredom is a significant part of life

  • as a Border Patrol agent.

  • And they should probably train for it.

  • For every hour they spend in target practice,

  • they should probably spend ten hours watching Mozart in the Jungle.

  • Are you funny? Am I supposed to care about you?

  • Who's that woman with the oboe?

  • I'm confused, but I'm also bored.

  • (AUDIENCE LAUGHING)

  • But-- but the big problem was that as they doubled in size,

  • meeting and maintaining their hiring quotas meant

  • that their screening process wasn't always as strong

  • as it could have been.

  • It was only late in the surge that the CBP

  • started giving applicants polygraph tests,

  • something that most other federal law enforcement agencies do,

  • and to listen to James Tomsheck, who headed Internal Affairs

  • for CBP through most of the surge,

  • their findings indicated they probably should have done that sooner.

  • TOMSHECK: The shocking discovery we found

  • was that more than half of the persons

  • who had cleared background investigations,

  • failed the polygraph examination,

  • the vast majority of them providing detailed descriptions

  • of the criminal activity they had been involved in.