Diary

Further Analysis: CPB Agent Educates CNN on the Border

RedState contributor Brandon Morse beat me to punch on publishing about this but there’s enough here that I’ll still share my thoughts and not let my efforts go to waste.

I would encourage you to watch the whole thing as it entails some extremely important context that’s consistently missed.

Here’s the segment if you haven’t seen it and then we’ll break it down and discuss.

CNN’s Brooke Baldwin, predictably, starts this off by trying to “gotcha” him over the clip of a border patrol agent joking about children crying. The agent (in Spanish) notes that it sounds like an orchestra behind him and “all we need is the conductor.” What the context of his comments are and who he’s saying it to are of course not important because when something goes viral, none of that matters. It’s only about the narrative.

Cabrera notes that they are likely just making light in a difficult situation. Let me comment on this first, because Baldwin’s initial reaction is what you’ve seen from most of the mob, i.e. indignation.

This is the reality: Unless you are a CPB agent, you have no idea what these men and women go through. You do not know the horrors they see, the stress they are under, and the dangers they face. Most reading this have likely never faced such mental hurdles. Whether it’s as a military member in combat, working with poverty in the third world, or facing down criminal horrors domestically, humor (even dark humor) is a very common coping mechanism.

For the media to take that unnamed agent’s joke, with no context to his state of mind or what he may of been going through emotionally, and to use it to bludgeon him and the CPB is disgusting and unethical. It’s the worst kind of “journalism.” Any conservative that takes part in that needs to stop and think about what they are doing.

Baldwin continues by asserting that some asylum seekers are being delayed at ports of entry. Cabrera responds by pointing out that this problem has been going on for four years and needs to be dealt with.

“We’ve had this situation going on for four years now,” he said, adding, “I don’t think you can necessarily blame it on one administration or another. It started under one and is continuing under another. It hasn’t been fixed and it needs to be fixed.”

I have a feeling his fix and her fix are likely different.

Streamlining asylum claims is needed. Part of doing that is weeding out fraudulent claims early. Right now, 80% of a asylum claims are found to be frivolous. That’s a huge stress on limited resources and means legitimate claims get delayed at ports of entry as a result.

The fix to that problem isn’t catch and release like Baldwin’s network champions, as it would only further stimulate flows that overwhelm the system.

Cabrera continues on that point about the importance of deterring illegal crossing.

“Right now we have this beacon of, ‘We’ll leave the light on for you, you come across illegally and we’ll let you into the country.’ And if you guys have seen some of the stuff we’ve seen down here, you’d understand how important it is to have a tough stance to divert people from coming here.”

He goes on to explain to CNN’s audience that it’s not as simple as screaming about the children being separated after detainment. Children are being given Plan B pills and birth control because they will be raped on the journey. Children are dying of heat stroke and sickness. Human traffickers are using kids as pawns to gain entry into the US. All of this then simply feeds the fiscal coffers of the cartels in a vicious cycle of money, drugs, and violence.

His point is simple. In an attempt to decry children being temporarily separated from parents, the alternatives proposed by the media, Democrats, and some Republicans may actually put even more children in far worse situations. Unintended consequences are often the worst consequences.

“Having kids in detentions centers, obviously, it’s not ideal,” he said, “but it’s far better than the alternative: a lot of these kids not making it.”

Baldwin continues by asserting to Mr. Cabrera that there’s “no law” saying they have to separate families at the border, taking the expected shot at the Trump administration.

To his credit, he attempts to correct her on that note. She rebuffs him by saying she “respects that law” (talking about him enforcing immigration laws) but then repeats the assertion that there’s no law mandating the separation of families.

This is a red herring and a misdirection by the media that is infuriating. She’s correct only in the sense that families don’t have to be separated if the CPB simply doesn’t enforce the law, doesn’t prosecute illegal entries, and releases families into the interior where they’ll likely never show up for a hearing.

Notice that Baldwin doesn’t give that context. Why? Because she and other media members know it’s a losing issue among American citizens. Instead, they continue to assert nebulously that families don’t have to be separated by law when what they really are saying is that families don’t have to be separated if we choose to ignore the law.

The 1997 Flores settlement and 2016 ruling by the 9th circuit are real. They legally demand that families be separated in the case of detainment of the parents because children can not be detained for 1) more than 20 days and 2) in jails for obvious reasons.

Despite these objective facts, we’ve had “fact checks” galore asserting that the Trump administration is lying when they say that the law needs to be changed on this. This is again, the worst kind of “journalism.”

Mr. Cabrera furthers this point by stating that no American citizen would be able to drag their kid across multiple states, subject them to abuse, and then claim their kid happily at the end of their journey. They’d be prosecuted immediately for abuse, neglect, and any other number of crimes.

This is the insanity of our current system. Why should our standards for illegal immigrant be any different than those for American citizens? An illegal who puts their child through such a situation should be held to the same exacting standards you or I would be held to. What that likely means is the child being removed from the parents, a crime being prosecuted, and the child remaining with kin or in foster care until that is adjudicated.

All in all, this interview is fairly tame and it’s worth noting that Baldwin, when faced with someone with authority on the issue to respond to her assertions (instead of her own bubble), is much more conciliatory than she has otherwise been. She even appears to agree with much of what the CPB agent says by the end of the interview and acknowledge their impossible situation.

Keep in mind, nothing he said is previously unknown and many of us have been trying to rationally highlight these challenges for the better part of a month. Much of that has went unheeded because emotion has overwhelmingly trumped rational thought to this point.

In a way this interview was refreshing in so much as it was civil for the most part, mainly because Mr. Cabrera managed to handle her gotcha attempts without escalating the tone. The CPB agent made some very good points that are consistently overlooked, Baldwin was able to digest those (even accept them to some degree), and they didn’t end screaming at each other.

In other words, we just witnessed a white whale of discourse where reality and rational discussion are allowed to rise above emotional rantings. Enjoy it because you aren’t likely to see it happen too often and I have a feeling CNN won’t be using clips of this interview during primetime tonight.