While the Obama administration insists that illegal border crossings are at the lowest level in decades, local law enforcement agencies in municipalities near the Mexican border remain overwhelmed with the impact that illegal immigration continues to have on their force.
Not that we necessarily believe the administration’s seemingly distorted claims that the border is “as secure as it has ever been.” In fact, a new federal audit reveals that we really have no way of knowing this because the government’s statistics are incomplete. Why? Because the method used to measure border security efforts doesn’t compare the number of illegal aliens estimated to have entered the U.S. to those apprehended.
More on that later; let’s look at an example of a local police agency that’s been heavily burdened by the impact of an illegal immigration surge in its community. It’s located in Hidalgo County in the Rio Grande Valley of south Texas. The area has long been a war zone that’s seen violent gunfire battles between Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers making their way north.
In fact, years ago, during the George W. Bush administration, violence in that part of the country was already so out of control that the county sheriff banned his deputies from patrolling certain areas because drug and human trafficking gangs regularly opened fire. Local cops were outgunned and outmanned then and the problem has only gotten worse, according to Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Trevino.
Illegal immigration in the busy Rio Grande Valley corridor is having a big impact on his department’s daily operations, he told a local news agency recently. Deputies are being pulled away from their duties to deal with issues that are supposed to be handled by the feds, stash houses where human traffickers keep illegal aliens upon completing their journey into the U.S. “This is becoming a problem,” Trevino said. “We’re snatching up 50, 60 up to 100 a day in stash houses.”
Calls for suspicious activity often turn into human smuggling crimes, the sheriff said, with up to 50 illegal immigrants getting arrested at once. While his force is overwhelmed with this sort of crime, it isn’t available to patrol for other crimes like robberies and domestic violence incidents. In short, immigration is taking up a big chunk of the department’s resources and assets and there appears to be no end to the madness.
This is related to the federal audit released last week. The administration claims that a struggling U.S. economy and increased border security have led to a huge decrease in border crossings. That certainly seems credible in a press release but the new probe, which comes via the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, essentially concludes that the stats are skewed.
In congressional testimony related to the findings, the GAO official in charge of Homeland Security and Justice confirmed that the government uses an incomplete method to measure border security efforts. The official, Rebecca Gambler, used incredibly diplomatic language telling federal lawmakers that “challenges remain in securing the border.” This is vastly different than what Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano has been telling Americans for years. .
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