(The Center Square) – The number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southern border by the Texas Department of Public Safety over the past year has somewhat alleviated what is otherwise a huge problem as the Biden administration does not fails to enforce US immigration laws, a former US Border Patrol official said.
While Texas acts as the first line of defense on the southern border, former Border Patrol Chief Rodney Scott said, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents want to do their job but are held back by US policies. Biden administration.
In the five months since President Joe Biden took office, Texas has seen an increase of 2,000 people entering the state each day in rafts, boats and through gaps in the unfinished border wall, the Governor Greg Abbott noted Last year. This number has only increased over time.
In the first two months of Operation Lone Star, a network of now 1,600 state troopers working with local and federal law enforcement, the Texas DPS made more than 30,500 referrals to the U.S. Border Patrol, and reported an 800% increase in the amount of fentanyl confiscated over the previous year.
Since last March when the operation began, state troopers have arrested more than 10,000 illegal immigrants, including smugglers and drug traffickers, Texas DPS Director Steve McCraw said. This is in addition to apprehensions made by local sheriff’s offices and Border Patrol agents. Soldiers also seized more than five tons of methamphetamine and more than $17 million in cash in nine months last year, and enough fentanyl to kill more than 260 million people, he said.
“Any of those stats would have been in St. Louis or Chicago or anywhere without [criminal illegal aliens] never checked,” Scott said. This means, he says, that Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials can release people in the United States “but at least we know who they are.”
At a Texas Public Policy Foundation forum on Wednesday, Scott spoke out about the effectiveness of Operation Lone Star, saying Texas stood up for the United States in response to an increased crime wave resulting from the policies open borders of the Biden administration.
During his 30-year Border Patrol career, before becoming Chief, Scott served as Chief Patrol Officer for the El Centro Sector in California, Deputy Chief of the Counterterrorism Bureau of State Customs and Border Protection United States and Director of Incident Management and Operations. Coordination Division at CBP Headquarters in Washington, DC
He stressed that what happens at the border is not an immigration issue, but a public safety issue.
“Just think about your home for a minute, because border security is exactly the same as your home,” he told a large audience in Austin. “People are expected to show up at the front door, announce themselves, decide who comes in. If they come any other way, there’s a response, and in Texas, it’s It’s a bit more aggressive than other states,” he said, referring to Texans who own guns and know how to use them to defend themselves.
In addition to policing the border and intercepting criminals, another job of CBP is to track down those entering the country, he said.
“We need to know who’s here,” Scott said. The Texas DPS and Texas National Guard have “drown the gap created by the Biden administration,” he said, which “at least lets us know who” the illegal trespassers are, as officers Border Patrol handle them.
“They are fingerprinted and photographed. If they’re criminals, Texas can step in and act,” Scott said. “If they’re on the terrorist watch list, the FBI will respond and act. If there are steps that can be taken legally, they will be taken.
“It’s a huge responsibility and it’s very expensive and Texas really took a huge hit,” he added. “Even public safety in other areas because DPS soldiers are being pulled from other areas of the state to the border.”
The Texas Legislature has allocated $3 billion from the state’s general fund for border security efforts. The state is also building a border wall, the first time it has done so in Texas history. Abbott said the $3 billion is money that could be used for other things in Texas. But the state is spending it on border security even though it shouldn’t have to, because keeping Texans and Americans in other states safe is a priority.
“If it hadn’t been for Operation Lone Star, the people the DPS catches would be loopholes,” Scott said.
“It would be people walking around with everything in their backpack,” he said. “Without the DPS, there would be a gap in border security with cartels driving trucks with who knows by what. So it’s not just the statistics, but the DPS really provides the whole country with a level of security and security that the federal government cannot provide at this time.
He also said Border Patrol agents want to do their job but are being held back by the administration, tasked with processing large groups of illegal immigrants instead of being able to patrol the border on the ground, interdicting cartels and activities. criminals.
“During the Del Rio fiasco with the Haitians under the bridge, there was 130 miles of border without a single Border Patrol agent for over a week. What crossed this gap? ” He asked. “If Texas DPS wasn’t here, we would never know.”
Additionally, the presence of the DPS on the border, he said, provides a visual of an “iron curtain,” a message the world needed to hear and see, he said. . Because “the world received an invitation to come to the United States on January 20 of last year, and they came in record numbers.” Texas DPS holding the line was an equally important message for the world to hear, he added.
“Operation Lone Star has a huge impact in keeping this country safe in a way that the federal government has chosen not to,” he said.
The operation involves state troopers working with the Texas National Guard to deploy air, land, sea and tactical border security assets to high-risk areas to prevent and/or mitigate operations of smuggling of humans and drugs from Mexican cartels into Texas.
“Texas supports legal immigration but will not be complicit in open border policies that are causing, rather than preventing, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endangering the lives of Texans,” Abbott said at the launch. of the operation. “We will increase the resources and law enforcement needed to deal with this crisis.”