When I hear Washington politicians arguing whether the number of immigrants across the southern border has reached a “crisis,” I don’t know if I should laugh or cry.
I know there is a crisis. We live it every day.
As a referral, I have been an elected sheriff in Val Verde County, Texas for the past 12 years. Prior to that, he worked for local law enforcement agencies, primarily in Val Verde County, for 30 years.
For the record — it doesn’t matter — I’m a proud Democrat.
Val Verde County is vast. It is 3,200 square miles, about 150 miles west of San Antonio, just east of Big Bend. We share a 110-mile border with Coahuila, Mexico.
In the 42 years here, I haven’t seen as many migrants as many immigrants risk crossing the Rio Grande in the last two months.
Death and deportation
Our sheriff’s office typically consists of four patrol agents per shift — covering all 2 million acres and all 110 miles of borders. It can be overwhelming pretty quickly.
Item: My agent caught the body of a young Cuban man from the Rio Grande River and identified him with a passport in his pocket. He probably traveled with another person, who hasn’t appeared yet.
Item: Unlike Latin Americans who move in hopes of proving their asylum claims, Mexicans are more likely to avoid capture because they are subject to immediate deportation at the nearest point of entry. .. Earlier this month, Mexicans were killed when the driver of the vehicle did not surrender, overturned the vehicle and expelled the deceased. A week later, eight Mexicans were killed in a high-speed chase that ended in a head-on collision, leaving two US citizens in critical but stable condition. One is an 11 year old girl.
Item: We were called to retrieve the body of a Haitian woman who had a body on the American side of the river. She was pregnant with twins and the pregnancy was at maturity. The body of her husband was found on the nearby Mexican side.
Item: Three of my four agents detained 54 South Americans who turned back, spending more than half of their working hours. They held the group until the arrival of the border guard, and only one agent served the entire county for several hours. At this event, 75% of my resources were used to support the US Border Guard.
Given the current situation, in addition to the lack of sufficient police resources to protect our community, the actual transportation system that moves these individuals after being released by the border guards There is none.
Our community lacks the transportation infrastructure and resources to accommodate these individuals overnight as needed. Currently, the city of Del Rio rents two buildings to a small local volunteer group, where it can feed, care for and connect with relatives and friends at selected destinations. If overnight stays are required, the city will be forced to place people in the area, either police officers or firefighters, and will detain those resources.
This unprecedented flow of immigrants began just days before January 20th. Immigrants, along with everyone else, have noticed that the United States is trying to settle for immigration policy.
If Washington lawmakers can see what I see every day
Earlier this year, our agent was involved in assisting the border guard a couple of times a month. Currently, it occurs 24 hours a day, 4-5 times a day.
I wish I could invite Washington decision makers to Val Verde County, not just a photo opportunity.
If they can stay for a few days and see the madness and mayhem happening now, they will no longer waste time trying to determine if the border situation is a “crisis.”
If they could witness my agent pulling the body of a pregnant woman at maturity out of the Rio Grande, they could have set aside their differences.
If they can see asylum seekers as they challenge the dangerous towline of the Rio Grande, they will find that the dragging years must end.
They set their ego and ambition aside if they could see what my agents were doing every day, as well as what all border communities were doing on a daily basis. , Will find a common foundation for a comprehensive solution to immigration reform.
Democrat Joe Frank Martinez is an elected sheriff in Val Verde County, Texas.
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This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Border Crisis: I’m a Texas sheriff and four agents are patrolling 110 miles.