AMU AMU Disaster Crew Homeland Security Legislation Podcast

Podcast: How COVID-19 Is Changing Immigration and Security along the US Border

Podcast featuring Glynn Cosker, Managing Editor, Edge and
Sylvia Longmire, author and border security expert

How is the coronavirus affecting immigration and security along the U.S. border with Mexico? In this inaugural episode of the brand-new AMU Disaster Crew podcast, join host Glynn Cosker for a conversation with Sylvia Longmire, an expert in border security, immigration and Mexico’s drug wars. Learn how COVID-19 has suspended immigration hearings forcing asylum seekers to stay in crowded tent camps along the border for longer periods of time as they wait for courts to reopen. Also, learn about the effects on DHS’s relatively new migration protocols program (MPP) that changes the way CBP processes asylum requests from migrants.

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Read the Transcript:

Glynn Cosker: Hello, and welcome to AMU Disaster Crew’s very first podcast. This new podcast will feature regular guests with expertise in various fields, including homeland security, emergency and disaster management, public safety, counter-terrorism, intelligence, immigration, border control and a lot more.

Joining me today is Sylvia Longmire, an expert in border security, immigration and Mexico’s drug wars. Sylvia has written two books, Cartel and Border Insecurity. She frequently appears on national news outlets as an analyst and best of all, she’s also a regular contributor to AMU’s news site, In Homeland Security. So, how are you, Sylvia?

Sylvia Longmire: I’m good. Thank you for having me.

Glynn Cosker: It’s my pleasure. It’s always great to speak to you. Today, we’re going to discuss a topic that has defined this year so far, and that of course is COVID-19, but we’re going to take a look at it from the angle of how the coronavirus is affecting immigration and security along our border with Mexico.

So with that in mind, Sylvia, let’s talk about the migration protocols program. Sylvia, why don’t you tell us a little bit about the migration protocols program and how COVID-19 has affected it?

Sylvia Longmire: Sure. Well, better known as the MPP, this started in January of 2019 and went into effect in some parts of the border several months later in the summer of last year. And it was a really big change to the way that the Department of Homeland Security and specifically, Customs and Border Protection would process asylum requests from migrants coming in from Mexico, or I should say through Mexico, from Central America and beyond. It used to be where migrants would appear at a port of entry, and they would request asylum, basically through the CBP agent that was at the port, or would request asylum from a border patrol agent if apprehended in between the ports of entry.

Sylvia Longmire: However, now, because of COVID-19 that has all kind of ground to a halt and has changed completely. Because of the border surge that happened last year and the humanitarian crisis on the border, and how the detention facilities and the ports of entry were being overwhelmed, Department of Homeland Security enacted a new process for dealing with these asylum claims, where instead of keeping migrants in the United States, basically out on bond until their immigration hearings, they would send asylum seekers back to Mexico to wait along the border for their appointment in front of an immigration judge. And this turned everything around because now all of these camps, or pretty much tent camps were springing up along the border from migrants who didn’t want to go back home to Honduras or El Salvador, or wherever they came from and wanted to wait for months until they could get in front of an immigration judge.

Start a Homeland Security degree at American Military University.

So now, we’re seeing these tent camps growing and expanding along the border. And the wait time could be anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Now, with COVID-19, the immigration hearings have all been pushed back. So migrants are being forced to wait in these camps, south of the border, for even longer. And supposedly, the immigration hearings are supposed to start again on July 20th, but the Canada border, it’s going to remain closed for at least another 30 days. And I’m pretty much expecting the same thing to happen with the Mexico border. So who knows how long it will be before all of those migrants waiting in Mexico, south of the border, will get in front of an immigration judge.

Glynn Cosker: Right. And of course, I would imagine that COVID-19 is going through those people in those camps. Is that right?

Sylvia Longmire: Basically, the reports of COVID-19 in the camps have been scattered. There was a report that came out within the last week about the first case in a camp in Matamoros, which is south of Brownsville, Texas. They had one person come in and that person was immediately sequestered and quarantined and put in isolation. But there have been many reports of hundreds of other people in camps in Tijuana and other parts south of the border that have been infected.

And especially when you’re in a camp like that, where there is minimal sanitation, very little running water and the inability to shower and wash your hands and wear masks and things like that, obviously the potential for a health crisis is huge. And Mexico has seen an explosion of cases in the last month or two. So that, combined with the lack of effective reporting and transparent information coming out of Mexico really makes it hard to gauge exactly how bad the situation is in these tent camps.

Glynn Cosker: Right. I hear you. And speaking of what’s been going on down there at the border, of course, President Trump, he put securing the border front and center in his 2016 presidential campaign. But here we are in 2020. Obviously, it’s a strange year because of COVID-19. So, why don’t you tell us, what do the border apprehension numbers look like right now this year?

Sylvia Longmire: Well, compared to last year, which is when we had that big border surge, the numbers are way down. In June of last year, there were roughly 104,000 apprehensions whereas in June of this year, they’re down to 32,000 apprehensions. But still, that’s a pretty high number considering everything that’s going on in the world.

You take a look at the reason why immigrants come to the United States illegally in the first place is usually looking for work or looking for educational opportunities, or just pretty much a better life. But the type of work that would normally be offered to illegal immigrants, which is under the table work is not prevalent right now because so many businesses are either shuttered or going out of business and can’t afford to hire new workers. But that hasn’t stopped immigrants from coming in.

Sylvia Longmire: We’re also seeing cases where some immigrants are coming across the border, looking for better medical care than they can get in Mexico. As of right now, what I’m understanding the border patrol policy is, if migrants are apprehended and they’re sick, they are taken to the hospital, and as long as they’re apprehended on the north side of the border within the United States. And it depends on what country they’re from. Most of the time, because of the MPP and the current migration policies, they’re sent back right away. But if they’re apprehended in the United States and they’re sick, they get taken to the hospital and migrants know that.

So that may be a reason why the numbers aren’t even lower than they are right now, but we’re still seeing anywhere from 30 to 35,000 migrants being apprehended each month right now. So I’ll be interested to see what the numbers are for July, as things start to really get out of hand, because we’re seeing the numbers spiking in Arizona and in Texas.

Glynn Cosker: Do you think that a lot of the people attempting to gain entry are infected already with COVID-19, and they’re coming to the US because they know they’ll get better medical care, or at least they’re trying to get into the US because they know they’ll get better medical care? Is that something that you see happening?

Sylvia Longmire: Obviously, that’s a concern, but we have no evidence to establish any sort of correlation there. I think that people who wanted to come to the United States are going to come for whatever their reasons were, regardless of whether they’re sick or not. We also know that the availability of testing in Mexico is considerably lower than it is in the United States. So a lot of these migrants have been traveling for weeks, if not longer.

Remember, some of them are coming from Central America and some are even coming from Europe and from Africa, from South Asia. So they’ve been on the road for a long time. And if they’ve had mild symptoms, which at least from what I understand, roughly 40% of the people who are infected with COVID-19, according to the CDC have mild symptoms. So they may brush it off as just a cold and never even know that they have it because there’s no way that someone on the road traveling all the way from Central American and Mexico can stop and get tested and wait for the results.

Maybe some of them know that they’re infected and are coming here for healthcare. But honestly, right now, I don’t see any evidence that that’s a major driving factor for illegal border crossings.

Glynn Cosker: Right. And you said that there’s still around 30 to 40,000 people showing up at the border each month. So when you consider how many people are infected with COVID-19 worldwide right now, not to mention the US of course, and Mexico and Central America and South America, so our Custom and Border Protection folks down there are having to deal with the lot of new things this year, and in particular, COVID-19 when they’re getting thousands and thousands of people still every day. So how are our border patrol agents taking care of themselves? So what are some of the things that they’re doing down there to protect themselves?

Sylvia Longmire: From the reports that I’ve read, they’re using gloves and they’re using masks, but not in all cases. And the challenge for me as an analyst trying to figure out what’s going on there at the border in real time, on the ground, the interactions between border patrol agents and the people that they’re trying to catch, whether it’s drug smugglers, because I’m pretty sure that drug smuggling hasn’t just completely shut off just because of COVID just by the nature of what it is, and CBP and the border patrol have not been very transparent about what those things are.

Now on their website, they say what they’re doing, and they say how they’re trying to maintain some sanitation in their detention facilities and what their procedures are. But in real time, at least from my experience in the real world, usually reality and what’s on paper aren’t always the same thing. So it’s really hard to say.

Sylvia Longmire: Now, we know from the numbers, CBP has reported that a little over 1,300 of their personnel total have tested positive. However, there are at least 20,000 border patrol agents on the ground just in the southwest border, so that doesn’t even take into account the agents that are on the northern border, working at ports of entry, at airports, at sea ports. So relatively speaking, that’s a small percentage, but I have a sneaking suspicion that the number is a lot higher.

There was actually a report in a Texas newspaper that a border patrol agent passed away about a week ago from getting infected. Now, that could be anybody. Maybe he had preexisting health conditions just like anybody else that has died from getting infected, but from the conditions that the agents are working in and the people that they’re coming into contact with and just the nature of the job, they’re out in the field and they’re running around and they’re away from running water sometimes. Maybe they have hand sanitizer. It’s really hot.

We’re in the middle of July, and on the border you’re talking triple digit temperatures every single day. So wearing a mask can’t be particularly coaamfortable. So it’s really hard to guess exactly how high the numbers are and how much risk border patrol agents and Customs and Border Protection agents are in when they’re interacting with immigrants and with smugglers.

Glynn Cosker: Right. And of course, you mentioned how hard it gets there now in July. It pretty much stays that warm. And maybe that might be a reason, what we’re talking about here might be a reason as to why some of our southern states are peaking in COVID-19 infections. But let’s talk now about the immigrants’ countries of origins. What kind of toll has COVID-19 had on those nations?

Sylvia Longmire: We’re not seeing the percentage of infections and numbers that we’re seeing here in the United States, which is incredibly high here. However, because the testing apparatus is so weak in those countries, it’s hard to know how many people are infected.

I remember reading a report from Guatemala just a few weeks ago, saying that they just don’t have the testing capacity to really know how bad the problem is. Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, they’re developing countries and they just don’t have the financial capability or the logistics, or just the infrastructure to be able to test a broad swath of their population. Mexico is only now starting to ramp up their testing, but we saw in the news that the president of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, wasn’t really even taking coronavirus that seriously until relatively recently.

Sylvia Longmire: Honestly, it’s hard to say, but considering the explosion of cases that we’re seeing in Brazil and in other parts of South America, it’s like South America is lagging behind as far as catching up to where we are in the numbers. But because of the conditions there, I expect those numbers to be relatively high if they’re not now, in the next couple of months. So while we don’t have the concrete numbers, I would bet money that the situation with COVID in those countries where migrants are mostly coming from in Central America are not doing that great right now.

Glynn Cosker: Let’s talk about one of the other things that is affected by COVID-19, and that would be our ICE detention facilities. Now, we talked about the camps earlier. As a whole, how is ICE being affected by COVID-19 this year?

Sylvia Longmire: Well, ICE detention facilities work pretty much the same way as any other type of jail or prison system. So you take a look at what’s going on with the jails where you’re seeing outbreaks, and in some places they’re trying to alleviate that by releasing the lowest risk of offenders. So ICE is trying to figure out how to do that, and there’s a lot of pressure on ICE to release low level … well, not even low level offenders, but people who are in detention facilities who don’t have any violent history or have any criminal history.

If you look at the ICE website, and they have their numbers that they update regularly, so right now as of July 10th, the detained population in ICE facilities is almost 23,000 people. And they’re saying that they’re COVID-19 positive cases that they only have roughly 1200 positive cases out of those 23,000. And that they’ve tested about 13,500 of the detainees. So over half of the population in ICE detention facilities have been tested, which is actually pretty decent.

Sylvia Longmire: But as far as I understand, they’re really not motivated to start releasing immigrants who have been apprehended and are in detention facilities anytime soon. They have released some, I believe, who were just for immigration violations, but when it comes to drug traffickers or anybody with a criminal history, I’m pretty sure they’re going to be loathed to release those into the general population anytime soon. But right now, their numbers are low. The potential, obviously, just like in any sort of enclosed space or jail or prison or detention facility, the potential for something like that to spread quickly is very high.

Glynn Cosker: You mentioned drug smugglers just now, and you’re an expert of course, on Latin American, particularly Mexico’s drug wars. So this is an odd question perhaps, but how is COVID-19 having any effect on the cartel wars, or the violence that has been going on in recent years in Mexico surrounding drugs, illicit drugs?

Sylvia Longmire: That is the thing when it comes to illegal activity is trying to figure out exactly what’s happening to who and when and how, especially when it comes to a medical crisis. It’s very difficult because they’re not reporting testing numbers amongst their specific population, but money is money. And the interesting thing about drug use and drug addiction is that the supply and the demand, or especially the demand tends to remain static. It doesn’t fluctuate with different conditions such as pandemics.

So if somebody is addicted to methamphetamine or heroin, that addiction is not going to go away just because there’s a virus going around. So the demand for certain types of drugs is going to stay more or less the same. So it’s incumbent upon the cartels to keep supplying that and keep bringing the money in to sustain their lifestyle. And they still have to pay off government officials and police and everything. So while I haven’t taken a look at the seizure numbers along the southwest border, I would gather that probably the drugs are continuing to flow across the border pretty much as they were.

Sylvia Longmire: Now, here’s the thing is that because the border is close to non-essential traffic, the border crossing is a lot lighter than it was simply because not as many people … you can’t cross the border to go on vacation. However, people are still being allowed to cross the border for work and for other essential purposes. So it may be more difficult for them to get loads across going through the ports of entry, simply because the customs and borders inspectors may have more time to take a look and inspect vehicles that are suspicious coming across, because the line might be a little bit shorter.

However, because of testing and because of the concerns of people coming in who are infected, that may also go the other way; the lines may be even longer or drug smugglers might be worried that they’ll attract attention because they have to sit there and wait longer if somebody wants to check their temperature or take a look at anything else that might be related to COVID. Now, that’s at the ports of entry.

Sylvia Longmire: Obviously, when you’re taking a look at people who are bringing in particularly the large bales of marijuana, which is primarily what’s brought across the border between the ports of entry, that’s a different story. That’s wide open, that’s not in an enclosed space and I would not expect that type of drug trafficking to be impacted severely by COVID-19. So essentially, Americans still want their drugs, they still need their drugs, and the cartels still want their money that comes from the transport and the sale of those drugs.

Glynn Cosker: I imagine though that there might be … I don’t know what the statistics are, but I would imagine that something like this, and as you said, you have to have a valid reason to cross the border now, or pretend to have a valid reason if you’re a drug smuggler perhaps.

But when they look at the statistics for this year, if the volume of illegal drugs coming across the border will be less than years past, and if so, then can our government learn something from these new tactics, or these tactics that have been brought on by COVID-19, where they’re changing their best practices at the border? They’re making it a lot more regimented and such, and people can only come across the border for certain reasons. Do you think that any part of this COVID-19 process of securing the border will remain in future years?

Sylvia Longmire: I certainly think that we’re going to learn a lot once we start taking a look at the numbers, especially after the end of the year. One thing that we do know for sure is that the cartels are much better at adapting to adverse circumstances than our law enforcement agencies are, because we have to deal with bureaucracy and with budgets, and approvals and strategies, and things like that. And the cartels can make decisions on a dime.

So for instance, you have the type of vehicular traffic, just for example, that you have coming through the ports of entry is that you have cars that are driven by individuals, where you have drugs stashed in the windshield wiper fluid container, in hidden compartments or in the tires, or things like that. But then you have the drugs that are coming in through the trucks, the 18 wheelers and the big tractor trailers.

Sylvia Longmire: So at least in my head, you would have more of a problem with people crossing the border in individual vehicles or personal vehicles. Because again, why are they crossing the border? The United States doesn’t want them to come in, especially if it’s for tourist reasons or non-essential reasons. However, those trucks that are carrying cargo, that are carrying food and foodstuffs and products, and things that still need to come across the border for merchandise or any other business reasons, those trucks are still going to come across.

So I wouldn’t be surprised if we see a shift in the drugs being brought more in larger commercial vehicles and less so in private vehicles. But we’ll find out once those numbers are all sussed out and we can take a look, probably I would say starting in March or April, and then moving through the rest of the year with the seizures. Not only what the seizure numbers look like, but attribution to the different types of vehicles, the ports of entry and things like that. So yeah, I’m a geek when it comes to breaking down those numbers.

Glynn Cosker: Right. Yeah, I think I am as well, actually. So let’s talk about a different angle of this. We were talking about the numbers and the amount of people who the border patrol personnel have to see every day. How seriously do you think the federal government is taking COVID-19 in regards to immigration and keeping these people when they arrive in camps and such? Are they putting enough focus on that?

Glynn Cosker: We are seeing a lot of focus, obviously on COVID-19 as a whole and all of the precautions, the social distancing and throughout the general public, but how seriously is the federal government taking the precautions for their own men and women down there at the border?

Sylvia Longmire: I think it depends on what part of the federal government you ask. Now, obviously there’s two components here is our own people and then anybody coming in. And I think it’s very clear that the federal government doesn’t want any foreigners that could even remotely, potentially be sick to come in.

There have been some reports that The White House is using the COVID-19, the pandemic to just basically stop all asylum and prevent anyone from coming in. We’ve seen issues with green cards, permanent residency with certain types of visas that they’re trying to cut off, even with foreign students that they’re trying to keep foreign students from using online learning and kicking out foreign students, and not renewing their visas. There’s some evidence to that end that, well, we don’t want the foreigners coming in at all.

Sylvia Longmire: Now, taking a look at the people who are working on the border, we’ve clearly seen a shortage of PPE in hospitals and clinics and everything. So I would have to assume that the shortage is being extended to law enforcement as well, because they’re essential, they’re first responders. But when you think about where you’re going to send the masks and the gallons and everything, at least my first thought is, well, obviously send them to the hospitals where people are sick. So I don’t know how much of a shortage, or if there even is a shortage amongst agents that are working on the ground, but I think that there is a concern.

I think it would be really, and I’m a cynic, I’m a total cynic, but I think it would be really bad to think or say that the federal government doesn’t care or doesn’t care enough. I’m sure they care very much about the health and safety of their agents, because they’re the ones that are on the front lines that are stopping people from coming in that don’t need to be coming in. But as far as on the ground and making sure that they’re following up on getting them the PPE and they adhere to the different guidelines, I don’t know how much of a connect, or disconnect for that matter, there might be between Washington and what’s happening on the ground.

Sylvia Longmire: We’ve certainly seen that disconnect in other situations that are not related to the pandemic, so I’d be curious to see what’s going on, to be a fly on the wall if you will, in the briefing rooms and such that are going on in the different sectors, as far as if their needs are being met for protective equipment, and also for policies on how to deal with immigrants and smugglers that are coming across. That are most likely not wearing any sort of masks or any other protective equipment.

Glynn Cosker: Right. And to that end, you mentioned people are testing positive in the camps. So, what would happen if there was just an upsurge in deaths in the camps and people in very serious condition, immigrants at the border who are being detained in the camps? What if there was just a severe uptick in cases where people were dying?

The question would be, do these people get the healthcare immediately in the United States? It’s almost an ethical question. Are they sent back to where they came from, even though they’re in very serious condition and they’re suffering from COVID-19? Could you extrapolate on that?

Sylvia Longmire: Yeah, and this is again, where my cynicism comes in. If they are on the south side of the border and they have not seen an immigration judge yet, I don’t think there’s any way that our government will let them in. I think that as long as they’re in Mexico, that The White House believes that it’s Mexico’s problem. And if they get sick, they need to seek treatment in Mexico. And that’s what we’re seeing right now.

Because it’s not just the pandemic, it’s not just the virus. Those camps, they don’t have the most sanitary conditions. So people are still getting colds and they’re getting other infections and other illnesses. Those haven’t just magically gone away just because we have COVID-19. So all of that in the eyes of our government is Mexico’s problem to deal with, and Mexico kind of took that under pressure.

Sylvia Longmire: Many people may remember that, not that long ago, that our president was threatening tariffs on Mexico. I believe it was 25% tariffs on vehicles and on some other things if they didn’t step up to stop people from coming across the border, heading northbound, and also coming from Central America into Southern Mexico. And they just kind of went along with that. So recently Mexico signed this third party agreement where anyone who was coming through Mexico from a third country had to request asylum in Mexico before requesting asylum here.

Originally, Mexico was opposed to that, but they agreed to that as well. So it seems that Mexico is playing doormat to The White House right now, which is really tough to see. So if anybody is sick in those camps and they think that they’re going to get a hearing or get into our medical facilities, I think they’re in for a really big disappointment.

Glynn Cosker: I agree, I think so too. You mentioned some of the legislation that the president has brought in, or was trying to bring in. And of course, it’s an election year. We all know that four years ago the chant was, build the wall, which we heard over and over again in 2016. Obviously, COVID-19 is affecting this election cycle in a way that hasn’t happened really since World War II. But at that same time, do you think the president’s initiative of building a wall and his campaign promise to do so has been successful? Or where do we stand on the wall right now?

Sylvia Longmire: I’m trying to be a professional and not laugh right now because it’s just been so fascinating to watch the progress, or I should say the total lack of progress with the wall based on how the political winds are shifting in Washington.

So for the first two years of Trump’s tenure, it was a Republican majority. You had a Republican Senate, a Republican House and obviously, a Republican in the White House, and nothing really happened with the wall. And then you had obviously, the House switched to a Democrat majority, and we saw the crisis with the funding. We saw the national security emergency, and billions of dollars taken away from the Department of Defense and redirected. We saw the courts stepping in and injunctions, and all this craziness. So that’s part of it.

Sylvia Longmire: But for about three and a half years into President Trump’s Administration and only roughly three miles of brand, spanking new fence, fence being placed in grass and dirt where no fence has ever been. Only three miles of new fence has been constructed. 240 miles of fence have been replaced, but as far as new fencing, he’s nowhere near to fulfilling that promise. Now, I imagine that the blame would go towards Democrats for withholding money to Congress in general, to the courts for not siding with him and all sorts of things. But ultimately, the fence has gone nowhere.

Now, you bring in the pandemic and you can say, “Well, construction companies obviously are slowing down and you can’t build, whether it’s a skyscraper or the border fence.” It doesn’t matter, construction is going to slow everything down. However, we’re still seeing repairs done on roads and other infrastructure projects going on across the United States, even if it’s at a slower pace. So I think that it’s a combination of things that has prevented the fence from moving forward. Part of it is money issues, part of it is politics, part of it is the pandemic affecting the progress of construction. But a large part of it is also a complete lack of political will to move forward with the wall.

Sylvia Longmire: We’ve seen how different legislation has slowed down immigration to an extent. We saw last summer, how the highly controversial and unethical, if I should say, the family separation policy worked to slow things down for a little bit, but then it shot right back up. So there are so many different factors that are impacting the flow of migrants across the border. And even though the fence hasn’t progressed or hasn’t really been built, again, more than three miles, I think you’re still going to see that illegal immigration coming through because it’s just not being addressed the proper way through legislation, through immigration reform and through a really comprehensive strategy. Instead, it’s just build the wall. And obviously, that’s not happening right.

Glynn Cosker: It’s still interesting to me that this being again, an election year, I don’t think there’s going to be anything that either candidate can bring up other than COVID-19, because that is 99% of what is on someone’s mind right now.

So, do you predict in the coming months that … because right now, we’re not exactly in the heat of the battle, so to speak, with the election. The conventions haven’t even happened yet, but when it gets to be September and October, do you think that this is all we’re going to hear about is COVID-19 and what to do about it? And if so, what is the next administration going to do about it? Is that something you feel comfortable responding to?

Sylvia Longmire: Oh, sure. I think the polls pretty much say it all. You take a look at polls, whether the polls are from a conservative source or a more liberal source, or a central source, academic, whatever, and they all pretty much say the same thing; that the top things on voters’ minds are obviously COVID-19, but also the economy and how those two are going to play together.

So I think it’s important for any candidate, whether it’s Joe Biden or Donald Trump to talk about other things. Foreign policy, that hasn’t gone away. Everything’s slowed down a little bit, but I’m taking a look at, where are we on North Korea? We’re pretty much back at square one, but North Korea hasn’t gone away. Vladimir Putin is still in Russia, Iran is still a problem. We still have things going on in Syria. So those are issues that we need to take a look at. Border security, obviously still concerns many Americans, and that’s something that needs to be discussed.

Sylvia Longmire: If and when the debates happen, I don’t know how that’s going to work out as far as debates, but I don’t think it would be logical to only discuss those two issues, the economy and COVID in the debates. But because of where we are, we have to be realistic and say, that’s what voters are going to have on the top of their minds. So yeah, I think that’s going to be the primary focus, but I’m certainly hoping that both candidates are going to address other aspects of domestic policy, and especially foreign policy when it comes to different election issues.

Glynn Cosker: I’m just picturing the debate now with both candidates with masks on, and it’s an interesting visual. Well, I wonder if that will happen. But seriously, I think this election year is one of the most important we’ve had in a long time, perhaps even since The Great Depression and World War II, because this is so unpredictable. It’s just so unprecedented. And the next president, whoever it is, has to take care of one of the biggest problems that the country has faced since the war.

Glynn Cosker: So it’s going to be an interesting few months. Time will tell, and we’ll look back on this in 50 years from now to see if there was a magnificent thing that took place that got everything back to normal, or if there was a disaster. And I’m hoping it’s the former and not the latter. Thank you for joining us today, Sylvia. It’s been a pleasure speaking to you, as always.

Sylvia Longmire: Oh, it’s definitely always interesting talking about the border.

Glynn Cosker: Absolutely. That was Sylvia Longmire, my guest today on AMU Disaster Crew, on our very first podcast, but do tune in again. We’re going to have regular episodes featuring regular guests, all experts in various industries connected to homeland security and emergency disaster management.

Glynn Cosker is a Managing Editor at AMU Edge. In addition to his background in journalism, corporate writing, web and content development, Glynn served as Vice Consul in the Consular Section of the British Embassy located in Washington, D.C. Glynn is located in New England.

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