What the Governor’s Press Conference Left Unresolved on Our Border
FALFURRIAS, Texas—Governor Rick Perry’s much-anticipated announcement of the deployment of up to 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard to portions of the Texas border with Mexico left many issues unresolved. As the deployment appears to be focused on the Rio Grande Sector of the border, the most looming unresolved issue is the fate of the rest of the border.
The memo leaked from an unknown state agency to The Monitor newspaper stated the deployment would be primarily to the Rio Grande Sector. While this is certainly the most concentrated area of illegal immigration and the unprecedented influx of unaccompanied minors, the majority of the Texas-Mexico border is still relatively unprotected.
Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby has spent the past year and a half analyzing the border from Brownsville to San Diego. He said, “What about the Laredo sector? The Del Rio sector? The Big Bend sector? The El Paso sector? Some could argue the Big Bend sector is sufficiently remote, but the Laredo, Del Rio, and El Paso sectors are nearly wide open for human and narcotics smugglers. God bless these leaders for doing something, but I wish they would have brought up the rape trees near Falfurrias where young women get raped by their coyotes and their garments of clothing get tied to trees as a sick trophy. I wish they would have brought up the vast areas of the Laredo sector where the Los Zetas cartel sends their smugglers with near impunity."
Darby continued, "Attorney General Abbott has a very decent plan for border security and I commend him for the effort, as I do Governor Perry for his. I also understand that both General Abbott and Governor Perry are using the Rio Grande Valley sector as an example for what can be done across Texas' border with Mexico, but I sure do wish they would acknowledge that the other four sectors of the Texas border are so open. Saying we are securing the border, when in actuality we are only securing one-fourth, does not help and only reinforces dominant left-of-center false narratives that the border region is already okay. It is not okay."
During recent weeks, several members of the Breitbart Texas team have traveled the main highway corridors that lead from Houston and San Antonio to the border. In nearly every one of those trips, no law enforcement presence has been detected between the Border Patrol Checkpoint and Highway 83, the major east-west corridor that connects the communities of the Rio Grande Valley. This allows the drug smugglers and human trafficking smugglers to move their cargo freely northwards to Houston and other cartel hubs in Texas. Our team has also noticed that the trip from McAllen to Laredo contains 80-mile stretches with no visible law enforcement present along the border. There were no federal, state, or local law enforcement present.
The cost of the deployment was estimated by Texas Military Forces commander, Major General John Nichols, to be up to $12 million per month. The Governor’s press conference did not address in detail where these funds would come from. These expenditures are in addition to the $1.3 million per week currently being spent in the Operation Strong Safety surge currently underway.
Also left unsaid was the plight of counties located inland from the border such as Brooks County that surrounds the city of Falfurrias. While Brooks is not a border county, because it has a Border Patrol checkpoint, it has many of the same law enforcement problems that face border counties. Additionally, because of the large numbers of deaths of illegal immigrants in the ranch lands, the county cannot afford its own law enforcement agency. The sheriff’s office is forced to rely upon the volunteer police officers from outside the county who come here to work for no pay. 44 people have been found dead in these fields this year alone and this represents but a small percentage of those who probably lost their lives trying to get around the checkpoint. The Governor’s press conference did not address this issue.
General Nichols said his soldiers will have the authority to detain suspects but that they do not plan on doing so. The term “force multiplier” was used by nearly every speaker, but it was unclear exactly what the guardsmen will be doing. Nichols said the deployed troops’ mission will be to refer and deter.
Texas State Representative Dwayne Bohac appeared to also have unresolved questions from the Governor’s announcement. “I wholeheartedly support the Governor placing the National Guard in the Border,” Bohac said. “I support the Governor, and further ask him to call us in to a Special Session. The goal would be twofold: 1. Get our heads around the scope of the problem, and 2. Formulate solutions given the scope. Texas is too important not to do everything we can. The rule of law must prevail....”
Many Texas grassroots leaders are also calling for a special session of the Texas Legislature to resolve these unanswered questions. Breitbart Texas reporter Sarah Rumpf reported on a call by tea party and other grassroots leaders late last week for Governor Perry to call a special session and to deploy the National Guard. It remains unclear if the Governor will call a special session to address these unanswered issues.
Bob Price is a staff writer and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX.