If a picture is worth 1,000 words, this table from CBP of border apprehensions broken down by sector is worth 1,866:
As you can see, although the surge of family units has exploded in almost every sector of the border for the first few months of fiscal year 2019, nowhere is this surge more evident than in the El Paso sector, which lies along the borders of both Texas and New Mexico. What has been a relatively dormant sector for many years is now the second largest alien-smuggling corridor behind the Rio Grande Valley, even surpassing San Diego, Tucson, and Yuma. This sector also experienced the sharpest increase in unaccompanied teens, five times greater than the increase in San Diego. That number is beyond staggering, and more than any other data point, it encapsulates the unprecedented degree of emergency at our border. There are many lessons from what we are seeing in this sector.
Where exactly is the surge within the El Paso sector? Going from east to west, this Border Patrol sector includes Hudspeth and El Paso Counties in Texas and the three border counties in New Mexico – Doña Ana, Luna, and Hidalgo. At first glance, the numbers are surprising, given that El Paso has a substantial border wall that has been effective for many years. That wall goes all the way out to parts of Hudspeth county. While I have been unable to obtain any definitive data on the number of apprehensions in the El Paso urban area, it is quite clear from the reality on the ground that most of the emergency levels of infiltrations are occurring in New Mexico. There is almost no substantial fencing anywhere in those three New Mexico counties as strong as the fences in Yuma and El Paso.
Based on statements from CBP, local officials and ranchers, and local media, it seems clear that Hidalgo County, the westernmost county, is experiencing the worst of the invasion.
“We’ve had vehicles stolen,” said Randy Massey.
“They’ve had bundles of weed, coke and carrying heavy artillery,” said Cammi Moore.
“The worst part of it, we had an employee kidnapped. And that was probably the worst night of my entire life until we got him back,’ said [Tricia] Elrock.
“It’s getting to the point where these confrontations are getting more aggressive and more and more violent,” said Kris Massey.
Hidalgo County has just 5,000 people living in a huge geographical space with few funds for public services. It only has four sheriff’s deputies. That is enough to deal with the residents’ needs, because they don’t have much internal crime. But they face an external invasion, which they rely on the Border Patrol to deter. The growing problem is that the cartels tie down the border agents with bogus asylum claims and force them to act as a hospital service while the cartels bring the criminals and drugs into these neighborhoods and properties. As the Silver City Daily Press reported, “While the few agents available are attending to the issues of those arriving, smugglers are trafficking drugs into the country. The Border Patrol posted a video of a large group of people climbing over the low Normandy barrier fence on the border in that remote area and into the U.S.”
Thus, they have nothing at the border but Normandy vehicle barriers and barbed wire that can easily be crossed. No major military presence (except for a contingent of the National Guard that the governor wants to pull), and just four certified deputies to deal with 3,446 square miles of land. With the cartels tying down the few agents with the wave of asylum seekers, it’s no wonder they turned Hidalgo County into their playground.
Isn’t this why we have a military, to deter such an invasion, where brutal cartels have operational control of our border to the point where they can strategically choose which areas to inundate? Don’t we owe it to the people of Hidalgo County that not one inch of their land should be vulnerable to the brutal terrorist cartels and their evil criminal behavior? Do we really need it to get worse before we act?
Earlier this week, Sheriff Mark Dannels of neighboring Cochise County, Arizona, appeared on my podcast, and he said, in contrast to New Mexico, that his county has never been better. He has the resources and the willpower from local officials to prosecute everyone, including juveniles, for drug trafficking. The cartels know to avoid his county. This is why the Sinaloa Cartel is driving all the migration either to the east of Cochise, into New Mexico, or to the west in Tucson and Yuma.
What are the results? Here’s a rancher quoted in the Santa Fe New Mexican:
“I’m scared for my life and I’m scared for my kids’ lives. Who knows what’s coming across? They don’t know what’s coming in because they’re not catching them. I feel that the biggest thing I should be scared of out here in the middle of nowhere are rattlesnakes, not two-legged rattlesnakes.”
Indeed, Tuesday evening, Border Patrol apprehended four illegal aliens near the border in the southern part of the county carrying marijuana packages and dressed in camouflage and special footwear to mask their footprints.
On December 26, the county manager and county commissioners in Hidalgo County sent a letter to the governor and senators saying they were in “dire need of resources and reinforcements” because the Border Patrol is “stretched thin” thanks to “the amount of immigrants coming in daily.” They recounted the safety concerns of their citizens, who see “up to 30 or more immigrants daily in their yards.” They also warn about the way the illegals are using the porta-potties, leaving a pile of used toilet paper out in the open. “The smell is horrific and the thought of any type of disease that many now be exposed.”
Amazingly, Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a liberal Democrat, suggested that she hasn’t “seen anything that indicates that we have an emergency crisis here at the border.” A 1,866 percent increase in family units from impoverished and disease-stricken nations in 26 groups of 100 or more is evidently a walk in the park to Grisham. When KOB4 news sent the governor’s office the concerns of border ranchers in the county who thought it was “asinine” to suggest there is no crisis, the governor’s office responded:
“There is not an emergency crisis at the border that warrants the asinine and anti-American anti-immigration tactics endorsed by the president and his minions; that’s the proper context for the governor’s remarks, and the full story of what she was expressing.”
Have things gotten this political that one side is willing to ignore their own citizens’ plea for help from an external invasion, the very reason why we have a government?
Either we have a country where every state and county matters, or we don’t.
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.