Texas ranchers say changes in immigration and border security policies by the Biden administration created chaos, danger, and personal costs to those living along the Texas border with Mexico. Record migrant crossings leave residents as far as a hundred miles from the border scrambling to keep up with the damages caused to their property.
“The folks along the border will tell you that they have always dealt with illegals but this is different,” Texas Farm Bureau President Russell Boening told Breitbart Texas. ” The sheer magnitude and number of people moving through is overwhelming. The brashness and expectations of the people is different than years ago.”
Boening said ranchers in South Texas are dealing with three main issues in regard to the border crisis. Those include economic losses from damages to gates, fences, crops, and other property being destroyed by human smugglers as they flee from law enforcement. They also include concerns for the safety of their families and employees.
Texas ranchers who live not only along the border, but as far inland as 100 miles, tell the stories of their experiences with the migrants and the damages inflicted on their property.
Rancher Stephanie Crisp-Canales said her ranch is located more than 60 miles from the Mexican border. “It has never been this bad down here,” she said. “Despite what the media reports — doesn’t report — there is a crisis going on down here.”
She described life on her ranch and the damages caused by what are referred to as bailouts. Bailouts are what happens at the end of a law enforcement pursuit when the smuggler will drive through the ranchers’ gates and fences forcing expensive repairs on the ranchers and endangering the public traveling on the roadways.
“They plow through our fences, they plow through our gates,” Crisp-Canales explained. “They either will wreck the vehicle or they will purposely stop the vehicle, and everybody in that vehicle bails.”
She said the ranchers now must bear the cost of repairing their gates and fences. They are also liable for any accidents caused by cattle getting out onto the roadways.
She also explained the dangers to their cattle from the garbage left behind by those being smuggled through the ranchlands. She said they must also be vigilant anytime they stop to open a gate as migrants will hide and attempt to steal their vehicles.
Brian King, a farmer near the border in Dimmit County showed some of the damages caused to his fences by human smugglers operating in the area.
“We went from, during the last six years, a few incidences of people running through our fences and illegal aliens crossing our place to now, it being a weekly occurrence,” King said while standing in front of a recently damaged fence. “They came in off the highway back there and ran through this fence.”
He explained this one incident will cost about $1,500 to repair. “It’s been a weekly occurrence now for the last four months,” King stated.
Bill Martin, another rancher in Dimmit County, said, “I have been a rancher in Dimmit County all of my life and this is just about the worst I have ever seen in traffic coming through from the border.”
Martin said he encounters migrants seeking directions to Carrizo Springs, Texas, on a daily basis.
“Practically daily, I have water issues,” he explained. “I found a water line that was left running.
“They opened a valve and let the water run out into a dirt tank,” the rancher said. “If I hadn’t found it, it would have shorted out a pressure pump. That would have cost me about $1,500. But luckily, I got there.”
“Fences have been run through and houses have been broken into,” Martin stated. “Prior to this year, I bet I went two years without seeing a single illegal. In the past two weeks, I saw more than I saw in the past two years.”
“We can’t keep gates closed,” he said. “We can keep water sources where they need to be.”
Recently, Texas Governor Greg Abbott asked farmers and ranchers in South Texas to keep track of the costs associated with migrant smuggling through their ranches, Breitbart Texas reported.
“I strongly encourage Texas landowners along the border to report any personal property damages they incur due to unlawful immigration, by completing the Self Reporting Damage Survey, our state will be equipped with the necessary data to continue addressing the ongoing crisis at our southern border and provide the support our landowners and communities need to stay safe and secure,” the Texas governor said in a written statement.
The Farm Bureau’s Russell Boening explained that it is not just the cost to the ranchers and farmers that concerns them. It is also the inhumane treatment of the migrants themselves at the hands of the cartel-connected smugglers.
“They are often lied to by the human smugglers,” Boening said. “They are left to fend for themselves if they can’t keep up. This often happens to children.”
“I’m sure you saw the incident where 5 children under the age of 11 were found abandoned by a landowner,” he continued. “And then if they do make it, where do they end up? Set up with gangs, forced into prostitution?”
In May, a Texas rancher near Eagle Pass, Texas, found five little girls who had been abandoned on their ranch. The smugglers left the girls, all under the age of six, with no food, water, or adults to care for them, Breitbart’s Randy Clark reported.
Rancher Kate Hobbs showed the conditions in which they found the little girls.
“The influx across the border is out of control, and the Biden Administration has shown that is not going to step up and do its job,” Abbott told Breitbart Texas in a one-on-one interview a few hours ahead of his Border Security Summit on Thursday. “And, amidst reports of even more people coming in across the border, we know we have to step up and do more.”
Abbott told President Trump during a recent border visit that during Operation Lone Star, Texas law enforcement officers have already arrested nearly 1,800 people for criminal violations of state law.
The governor said this is in addition to: “40,000 apprehensions of people who’ve come across the border illegally, and they have busted 41 stash houses.”
Boening explained how different the current border crisis is compared to previous spikes in border crossings.
“The brashness and expectations of the people is different than years ago,” the Farm Bureau president concluded. “We often hear about the unaccompanied minors and family units that actually give themselves up to authorities, but there are also groups of young male adults moving through carrying backpacks and accompanied by a coyote with an automatic weapon. Do we really think these folks are looking for asylum or work?”
More video interviews with ranchers from Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona may be found on the Texas Farm Bureau Border Crisis Impact page.
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 Facebook.