Brandon Judd: Why Trump’s tariffs on Mexico are needed to cut illegal immigration

President Trump sent a message of strength and leadership Thursday night when he announced he will impose escalating tariffs on Mexico in a bold move to halt the flow of illegal immigrants and protect our national security.

Once again, the president showed he is keeping his promise to stand up for America’s interests and the American people.

As a Border Patrol agent and as the current president of the National Border Patrol Council – the exclusive labor representative of approximately 16,000 Border Patrol agents – I know first-hand the consequences of an unsecure border. In my dual roles, I see the issues we face on our southern, northern and coastal borders, and I’m an eyewitness to the national emergency taking place on our border with Mexico. 


This is why I fully support the president’s decision on increasing tariffs and his other actions to secure our border and enforce our immigration laws.

President tweeted Thursday night: "On June 10th, the United States will impose a 5% Tariff on all goods coming into our Country from Mexico, until such time as illegal migrants coming through Mexico, and into our Country, STOP. The Tariff will gradually increase until the Illegal Immigration problem is remedied, ... ….at which time the Tariffs will be removed.”

"If Mexico still has not taken action to dramatically reduce or eliminate the number of illegal aliens crossing its territory into the United States, Tariffs will be increased to 15 percent on August 1, 2019, to 20 percent on September 1, 2019, and to 25 percent on October 1, 2019," the president said in a statement released later by the White House. "Tariffs will permanently remain at the 25 percent level unless and until Mexico substantially stops the illegal inflow of aliens coming through its territory."

As a Border Patrol agent and as the current president of the National Border Patrol Council – the exclusive labor representative of approximately 16,000 Border Patrol agents – I know first-hand the consequences of an unsecure border.

Make no mistake, the choice of how high the tariffs will go and how long they will remain will be up to the government of Mexico. 

Unfortunately, for President Trump’s entire time in office Congress has refused to work with him to finally secure our borders.

In my 22-year career as a Border Patrol agent I’ve worked under both Democratic and Republican presidential administrations, and under a House and Senate controlled at different times by Democrats and Republicans. During that time, I have never seen Congress refuse to fund border security – until now.

The congressional inaction we are now witnessing is made worse by Mexico’s refusal to enforce its own immigration laws, which are actually much stronger than our own. These two failures – as well as the ongoing emergency at our southern border caused by a dramatic rise in illegal immigration – have prompted President Trump to act wisely and unilaterally in America’s best interests.

Although other presidents have vowed to secure our borders, it is President Trump who is actually following through. But he must have congressional support for necessary spending and improvements in our laws to accomplish this vital mission.

Some members of Congress who are the president’s political opponents know this, and as a result, will continue to stonewall, turn a blind eye, and advocate for those who illegally enter our country rather than for those whom they’re elected to represent.

I recently completed a voluntary 30-day detail to process illegal immigrants at the epicenter of the illegal immigration national emergency – the Rio Grande Valley Border Patrol Sector’s Central Processing Center in Texas.

While at the center, I interviewed and processed families with children as young as 2-years-old who came to the U.S. from their home countries – mainly Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras.

It was clear to me that the incentive these illegal immigrants have of being released into the United States with a years-away future immigration court hearing date far outweigh the benefits of remaining in their home countries.

It’s that incentive – or the lack of a deterrent – that has managed to turn the immigration crisis into a national emergency.

With the Border Patrol apprehending record numbers of illegal border crossers from countries other than Mexico – and the lack of funding to properly detain, process and house them – we are in unchartered territory. Congress knows this as well as President Trump, yet the president is the only one willing to tackle this problem head-on and solve it.

Many congressional delegations have visited our southern border, specifically to the hotspots in the Rio Grande Valley and El Paso. But far too many lawmakers refuse to admit that they can help President Trump fix this problem. 


Immigration should not be a partisan issue. It is irresponsible to ignore immigration laws approved in years past by both Democratic and Republican elected officials and to simply open our borders with no safeguards to millions of people who would like to come to our country.

This is why I urge Congress to act in the best interests of our nation and the American people by joining with President Trump to fix our immigration laws.