U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo, R-Colo.

U.S. Border Patrol sector chief Carlos X. Carrillo should be removed from his post after telling a town hall meeting in Texas the agency’s job “is not to stop illegal immigrants,” says Republican presidential candidate Rep. Tom Tancredo.

Carrillo reportedly said: “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop illegal immigrants. The Border Patrol’s job is not to stop narcotics … or contraband or narcotics … the Border Patrol’s mission is not to stop criminals. The Border Patrol’s mission is to stop terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering the country.”

Tancredo called on David Aguilar, the chief of the U.S, Office of Border Patrol, to remove Carrillo from his leadership position.

“I hope David Aguilar will repudiate Carrillo’s statements and remove him from a leadership position in the agency,” Tancredo said in a statement released by his office. “Anything less will leave doubts about the integrity of the agency’s top management and its commitments to controlling illegal entry into our country.”

Aguilar, however, defended Carrillo and said the comments were taken out of context. He said the Border Patrol’s mission “is to protect our country’s borders from all threats. Our highest priority is keeping terrorists and terrorist weapons from entering our country.”

After Carrillo made the comments, he followed up with a letter to the editor of the Laredo newspaper to elaborate.

“Carrillo’s letter to the editor of the Laredo newspaper did not deny or repudiate these statements,” said Tancredo.

“If Mr. Carrillo’s remarks represent a new mission statement not yet published by the Department of Homeland Security, then Secretary (Michael) Chertoff needs to come up to Capitol Hill and explain this new mission, because it seems suicidal to me,” Tancredo said.

On the agency’s website, it still lists its mission as:

We are the guardians of our Nation’s borders. We are America’s frontline. We safeguard the American homeland at and beyond our borders. We protect the American public against terrorists and the instruments of terror. We steadfastly enforce the laws of the United States while fostering our Nation’s economic security through lawful international trade and travel. We serve the American public with vigilance, integrity and professionalism.

Tancredo said, “If the Border Patrol has developed a new technology that can distinguish between terrorists and other illegal border crossers without first catching them and checking them out, that is good news. But if that is not the case, Mr. Carrillo’s statements are extremely irresponsible and demoralizing to officers in the field.”

The Colorado congressman continued: “If the Border Patrol is no longer trying to stop illegal entry into our country, border states will have to set up their own border police to halt this flow. I think this will be news to the governors in Texas, Arizona, California and a dozen states on the northern border.”

Tancredo said many constituents have been contacting his office, including “both retired and active duty Border Patrol personnel who say this is a radical departure from the historical mission of the agency and has already had a damaging effect on the morale of the rank and file officers who walk the line.”

T.J. Bonner, the president of the National Border Patrol Council representing 12,000 agents, told the Washington Times Carrillo’s comments didn’t make sense.

“It is shocking that such a high-ranking official would make a statement that is so completely at odds with the law and the Border Patrol’s mission,” Bonner said.

He said more than a few front-line agents are wondering “if the mission has indeed changed, and if they will face punishment for apprehending illegal aliens or drugs.”

Tancredo said Carrillo’s comments reflect an attitude among some that undocumented immigrants seeking work are not doing any harm.

Tancredo earlier told WND he agrees with the importance of stopping terrorists and weapons of terrorism at the border.

But he said it is more important to find a threat that acts as a deterrent for terrorists. He earlier suggested that the U.S. could threaten to “take out their holy sites.”

“If that isn’t a deterrent, fine. I’m more that willing to listen to anyone who tells me what a deterrent will be,” he told WND. “Because you’d better find one. That’s my point, You better find a deterrent, because if you don’t have one, I guarantee you, you will have the event.”

He also said the problem with porous borders is so significant that it affects schools, prisons, the economy and even the ecology of the U.S.

“And then what happens in terms of the quality of life when we go to a nation of half a billion people here by the mid-century, all, by the way, immigration-related?” he asked. “The porous borders, what does that mean for national security? How can you not talk about immigration and porous borders and border security if you want to discuss the issue of national security?”

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