The title to this missive are the words used by the Deputy Commander of the McAllen US Border Patrol headquarters. He was sincere in conveying this message as we toured the detention and processing section where we saw the faces of those who have entered our Constitutional Republic illegally. Men, women, boys, girls, babies, all there because we have a collection of spineless politicians playing games based upon the politics of their ideological agenda. Elected officials who are endangering many lives, while they sit far away, unconcerned, unaffected by the crap they have created.
We arrived at the Border Patrol headquarters at 9am CT yesterday. We received an information briefing and orientation. By 10am we were heading into the detention area, which was never intended to contend with the current surge of illegal immigrants. At 10am they were processing 455 individuals. We were told that was a light day.
I wanted to be here myself and assess the situation. I was never the type of Commander that sat around in the office, or the TOC hooch, when in combat. I wanted to get out see the action, be there with my troops and know the battlefield. Ladies and gentlemen, I can firmly report that it is, indeed, worse than I expected. This is not a “manufactured crisis.”
The folks down in the Rio Grande River Valley (RGV) want us to hear their cry, know their plight. There are some 600-1500 apprehensions being conducted, with an average of 1200, occurring in the McAllen USBP sector. A majority of these individuals being apprehended are OTMs (Other than Mexicans). There is also a cross-section of folks being apprehended from 90-91 other countries — Chinese, Bangladesh, Pakistanis, and even Eritreans. And, yes, there are 5-6% of criminal illegal immigrants who are “re-apprehended,” yes, these are the folks who already have criminal records in the United States.
The healthcare risk is immense, with diseases we had eradicated here in America. There are cases of chicken pox, measles, and tuberculosis and many of the USBP agents must wear masks, and, of course, wear surgical gloves.
There’s been an epidemic of illegal, unaccompanied, children flowing into the RGV. Since the word is out that having children in your group, traveling as a family unit, presents an advantage, guess what is happening? Border Patrol told us they are experiencing the issue of “recycled children.” Yes, somehow, there is a system of children being used as recurring escorts of different “family” units. That is why biometrics and fingerprinting are key elements being used for identification.
We were told that these individuals go right up to the USBP Agents and request asylum. They are stating as a primary reason, “fear of return,” which, if you know the true definition of asylum, as we shared, it does not fit. Many claim that they are fearful of the gangs, well, there are plenty of folks in America who live in neighborhoods with gangs. McAllen knows about that, along with drug cartel operatives.
What is our biggest problem here? It is the infamous “notice to appear” that these illegal immigrants are receiving. What these notices have come to be called by illegal immigrants are “permisos,” yes, they are seen as permissions to enter and stay in the United States. Why not, since these hearings they are told to report to are three, four, five, six years into the future.
Remember the title of this missive, “Exploiting a Broken System.”
So, what are the solutions?
First, increase the ICE detention facilities for family units, currently there are only three. Get more immigration judges and asylum case officers down on the border to expedite this process.
Second, we need to change the insidious twenty day court ruling (Flores Settlement) on the detention of family units. We are right back to “catch and release,” and the problem is exacerbated from there.
Next, and perhaps most important, we need to tighten up the threshold for declaring asylum. That is where the elected officials come in. Fear of return is not a reason for asylum in the United States, and asylum should be applied for in host country at our Embassy, or at first border encountered, not transiting until you get to the United States.
Finally, we must end the child accompaniment rule.
Yes, there is an emergency that needs to be declared. Doing so would open up additional nonprofit resources for our Border Patrol. Let me express the dire need of personnel. The McAllen sector has 600 personnel assigned. Of that, 120 are detailed out to other duties. That leaves only 480 personnel for three shifts in the entire sector that covers some 51 Rio Grande River miles. That is only 30-50 agents per shift to safeguard a very open sector. We need to clear out a buffer zone to afford our USBP better visual surveillance along the Rio Grande. Right now, vegetation overgrowth prevents our men and women from having good eyes on target. They do have good surveillance resources, but nothing beats eyes on the target. They need all-weather patrol roads along the border. That is a necessity.
Since the mid-1990s we have seen surges along our border in the San Diego, El Paso, Tucson, Yuma sectors, and now it has hit the Rio Grande Valley sector. Previously, we implemented focused preventative measures that created a deterrence. Why not now?
Our US Border Patrol Agents deserve better. The Americans here in the RGV darn sure deserve better. I will keep speaking out about the situation here, and our US Border Patrol and the people of the RGV have an ally in me. We must keep exposing the true state of our porous border until the issue is solved.
This is simple, either we are a sovereign country or we are not! I say we are. What say you?
Elections do indeed have consequences, so let’s stop supporting, voting for, those who refuse to safeguard our country, and it’s citizens.
[To ensure you never miss an article, please sign up to be notified when a new column is posted! It’s free and you may opt-out at any time.]
During his 22 year career in the United States Army, Lieutenant Colonel West served in several combat zones and received many honors including a Bronze Star, three Meritorious Service Medals, three Army Commendation Medals, one with Valor device, and a Valorous Unit Award.
In November of 2010, Allen was elected to the United States Congress, representing Florida’s 22nd District.
West is a commissioned officer in the Texas State Guard. He’s Fox News Contributor, former Director of the Booker T. Washington Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Senior Fellow at the Media Research Center, contributing columnist for Townhall.com, and author of Guardian of the Republic: An American Ronin’s Journey to Family, Faith and Freedom, and, Hold Texas, Hold the Nation: Victory or Death, and the forthcoming We Can Overcome.