A Texas border sheriff said changes in border security and immigration policies put in place by President Joe Biden led to a spike in drownings as increasing numbers of migrants cross the Rio Grande. Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez (D) said at least six migrants drowned since the start of the year while attempting to illegally cross from Mexico into Texas — triple the number of drownings from all of last year.
“I think it’s driven by the lack of this administration addressing immigration issues,” Sheriff Martinez said in a radio interview with The 830 Times in San Angelo, Texas. “In my opinion, when this administration came in, they threw the baby out with the bathwater, and they didn’t have a policy in place, and now they’re struggling to catch up, and from what I’m seeing, they’re not being totally factual as to what they’re doing with these immigrants.”
Martinez’s comments came as he reported the drowning deaths of at least six migrants in his single Texas border county in two months. The last drowning, a Cuban migrant found in an area upstream from the international border crossing, had been in the river for several days or a week, the sheriff said. He said there was probably another migrant with him, but that body had not yet been found.
“Last year, we had a total of two all year long, and one child that was never recovered,” the sheriff explained.
Sheriff Martinez accused the Biden administration of not telling the truth to the public about the dangers the current border crisis poses to the public.
“For example, they say that they’re testing them for COVID, but that’s not really happening unless they’re showing symptoms, and the Border Patrol is just too busy,” he said. “There are just too many immigrants to process and not enough personnel in the field to go after these little groups that are getting away.”
“This loss of life is very sad, and I wish this administration, both sides, would get together and come up with something that’s effective for everyone. They’re putting that burden on the border, on the citizens of our community. We’re dealing with it on a daily basis, and there’s not enough being done,” Sheriff Martinez concluded.
Val Verde County is located along the Central Texas portion of the Rio Grande River border with Mexico. It includes the cities of Del Rio and Comstock.
Martinez is not the only Texas border-area Democrat elected official to publically criticize the Biden administration’s policies and their impact on communities along the Rio Grande.
In February, Texas State Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) complained about the numbers of migrants being released into the Rio Grande Valley communities without being tested for COVID-19, Breitbart Texas reported.
“(Border Patrol agents) were just dropping them off at the bus station without testing them. Obviously, that’s very alarming to all of us in that they’re coming from Central America and through Mexico and to be released into the United States without being tested for COVID is really unconscionable,” Senator Hinojosa told a local news outlet.
U.S. Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX), who represents the district that is home to the Laredo Border Patrol Sector, harshly criticized the Biden Administration’s lack of honesty about what is happening along the border, Breitbart’s Ian Hanchet reported.
In a Fox News Channel interview, Cuellar said:
I can tell you this, those numbers of people that are being released, they’re purposely withholding that information. They’ve been told not to withhold that information. I now know that they’re bringing people from McAllen over to Laredo, processing them in Laredo, and they’re going to release them in my community. … I’ve seen this before, don’t let the local communities know what you’re doing where they’re starting to bring people in from the valley, process them in Laredo, release them at a bus station. And, again, I’ve seen this before in the past.
Earlier this month, the South Texas congressman said the situation along the border is “not a crisis yet, but it’s going to get there very soon.”
“The number of unaccompanied kids, the number of families who are coming in are just increasing every day,” Cuellar told Fox News. “In my district, just a couple of days ago, 166 people. And it goes on, and just different numbers are going up. So, it’s not a crisis yet, but it’s going to get there very soon.”
The criticisms of the Biden administration’s border and immigration policies come as U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials report more than 64,000 migrants being apprehended by Border Patrol agents in February — just in the five border sectors headquartered in Texas. Nationwide, Border Patrol agents apprehended more than 100,000 migrants after they illegally crossed the border.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior news contributor for the Breitbart Texas-Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Price is a regular panelist on Fox 26 Houston’s What’s Your Point? Sunday-morning talk show. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face