“From my standpoint, I don’t even know why we have federal elected officials,” said Uvalde, Texas, Mayor Don McLaughlin in an exclusive interview with CR.
Uvalde, Texas, is a small town of 17,000 inhabitants, and they are now overrun by illegal immigrants and an international cartel smuggling operation. Uvalde is 40-60 miles from the border, but it might as well be right at the border. “We are in no man’s land. The state is not doing anything; the federal government is not doing anything,” said the mayor, who is begging the politicians to get involved. “We are getting nothing. I’ve lived here all my life and have never seen anything like this. The people in the communities are getting scared. What is coming that we don’t see? Who knows? People up north and in D.C. have no clue what is going on here. They don’t realize that these people are not being screened for diseases. We’re fed up.”
Situated at the crossroads of major highways coming up from border towns in the Laredo and Del Rio border sectors, Uvalde has now become a dumping ground for migrants coming north. And they are not just coming from Central America. Del Rio has received hundreds of African migrants in recent weeks. Uvalde has a Border Patrol holding facility, and according to McLaughlin, whenever it is full, if the city doesn’t take charge, many immigrants are released in a Walmart parking lot. Mayor McLaughlin said his city must pick up the tab to have them bused to San Antonio. On Friday, local media reported how San Antonio has now received hundreds of African migrants.
“In Uvalde, Border Patrol told us if we didn’t have buses ready right at the holding facility, they would have released them in a parking lot at a Walmart or a Stripes. This is what’s happening in outlying areas, but thanks to our working relationship with Border Patrol, we make sure to have buses ready. We just don’t have the facilities for them. We have to pay for these buses out of our pockets, and are citizens are mad.”
But it’s the people they don’t see who concern residents of Uvalde the most. “In addition to those being released in parking lots to get bused into San Antonio, what we are really concerned about is the increased foot traffic to our community. We have checkpoints on highway 90 and 83. The migrants are walking around the checkpoints. Now we are starting to see more calls to police of people walking through the neighborhoods, [of] finding car doors open [and] storerooms open. The Border Patrol is seeing this on their cameras, but they just don’t have the agents to respond. The foot traffic around the checkpoints has increased by 100 percent.”
McLaughlin is worried about crime. “With the Border Patrol so busy with the family units, we are seeing an increase in the bad guys. Our DPS and local authorities in surrounding communities are having more car chases. When they crash the cars, all of the smugglers bail out. Border Patrol can’t always respond, so we need to take officers and deputies to track down these people. Three weeks ago, we had a group come right in middle of town, they bailed out and we had to put all our schools on lockdown. We caught all eight individuals, but it took all day.”
In addition, McLaughlin said that there are often dozens of illegal immigrants piled on freight trains coming into his town. He said Border Patrol often lacks the resources to to check the freight trains, but recently they have caught as many as 35 in a single group. “These are the bad guys with criminal records. According to Border Patrol, 99 percent of these guys on those trains are bad guys and have criminal records. They can’t get in any other way, so they’re sneaking in on freight trains.”
McLaughlin noted that he called his Republican congressman, William Hurd, as well as the two Texas senators, the governor, and the state attorney general, but can’t get any meaningful response from them. “I don’t hear any of them prioritizing this issue. We had a citizen last week who was just on his property right where they stopped the freight train. Some of the illegals got off the train, got on his property, and confronted him. One of them started to get aggressive and the guy threatened him. That night he and his family couldn’t sleep. His grandkids won’t even come over any more to swim in the pool unless he sits there with a shotgun. That’s how much traffic we’re getting here right in Uvalde. He’s a farmer who’s been here all his life and is now thinking of moving.”
“There are ranchers around here seeing more break-ins and vehicles being stolen. It’s just a sad situation. We’ve dealt with immigration all our life, but we never had a problem of this magnitude. And most of them who used to come through were congenial people and we didn’t have to worry. Now they are aggressive. Some are coming to hunting camps and robbing the hunters.”
I heard a similar story earlier this year from county officials in New Mexico on how they see a huge change in the attitude of some of the migrants coming in through this wave from the past, even though they’ve been dealing with illegal immigration for many years.
Then of course there are the drugs. “Border Patrol is so busy with the families that the cartels are increasing the flow of narcotics with impunity,” warns McLaughlin.
Finally, there are the health issues. “They are taking them into a 10×10 room and asking them if they are OK. They have no idea what diseases they are carrying. We had two people quarantined here in Uvalde with the mumps, and there might be a third case. They are not doing anything to check these people for other diseases.”
Hidalgo County, Texas, already has 46 confirmed cases of mumps in the country. As I reported before, while Border Patrol screens out those in need of triage, there is no mechanism to ensure that all these migrants who don’t exhibit apparent symptoms of diseases in front of them are safe to be released.
Now, with the influx of Africans, particularly into the Del Rio Sector, the mayor said there is widespread concern of other diseases such as Ebola.
The small-town mayor is simply stupefied that major Texas state and federal politicians of both parties are not making a bigger deal of what’s going on. “Why don’t they hold a press conference attracting national attention? It’s going to take someone being killed in our community before we get the national attention.”
The tragedy of towns like Uvalde and similar areas in Texas is that they have a great history of doing immigration the right way. “We’re close to 90 percent Hispanic, and our community does not want these people in town. They get very upset they are being released here. They ought to be doing it like their grandparents did. They did it legally. These people are mad as hell.”
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.