While testifying before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Border Patrol agent Chris Cabrera indicated that nearly 6 out of 10 illegal aliens cross into the United States without being apprehended. Cabrera is an agent at the Rio Grande Valley Sector in Texas and is the vice president of National Border Patrol Council (NBPC) Local 3307, a union for border agents.

“Ask any line Agent in the field and he or she will tell you that at best we apprehend 35-40% of the illegal immigrants attempting to cross," Cabrera said, reading from a written testimony. "This number is even lower for drug smugglers who are much more adept at eluding capture."

Cabrera went on to testify that that his fellow agents “face retribution” from their superiors for reporting illegal alien groups larger than 20.

“Agents who repeatedly report groups larger than 20 face retribution. Management will either take them out of the field and assign them to processing detainees at the station or assign them to a fixed position in low volume areas as punishment,” Cabrera told lawmakers. “Needless to say Agents got the message and now stay below this 20 person threshold no matter the actual size of the group.”

Cabrera also noted that the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency, a component of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), is manipulating statistics and misleading the American people about security along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“I want to address whether or not the border is secure. If you ask this question of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) or senior management at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), they will tell you the border is secure,” the Border Patrol agent told lawmakers. “They may even point to statistics and metrics showing that the Border Patrol is 75 percent effective in apprehending illegal immigrants and drug smugglers.”

However, he also said, “I want to be crystal clear – the border is not secure,” later adding, “How can this enormous gap exist between what the DHS tells you here in Washington and what our Agents know to be the truth in the field? Frankly, it is how you manipulate the statistics.”

Cabrera concluded his testimony stating that Border Patrol Chief Michael Fisher is wrong in claiming that border agents are “75 percent effective and the border is secure” and calling for more resources for Border Patrol agents.

Watch the full Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee hearing

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Updated: Wed, Apr 1st 2015 @ 10:25am EDT