Sheriff's departments from throughout South Texas say the border is not safe and secure, and that those in Washington D.C. need to understand that.
That was a recurring theme at El Charro's restaurant in Alice Thursday at a special gathering of South Texas sheriffs, where they discussed how they can work together to deal with problems like the trafficking of immigrants and drugs across our borders.
The sheriff's departments say they don't have the money, manpower or resources to deal with the problems that they face in their counties. They say the problems are only getting worse, and that they need all the help they can get.
Recently, 50 suspected illegal immigrants were found being transported in a cargo truck in Jim Wells County, and on Wednesday, another 73 suspected illegal immigrants were found being transported in a U-Haul truck in Brooks County. In both cases, the coyote, or human smuggler, got away.
Usually bailouts involve groups of 20-30 immigrants, but in these recent examples, the numbers of immigrants being transported have been really high.
"Understand one thing also. We're 70 miles north of the river, and here you get this. We get impacted with such a number," said Chief Deputy Benny Martinez of the Brooks County Sheriff's Department. "So they're coming through, and they will continue to come. It's just the way it is. They're seeking another lifestyle, another alternative, and they're going to come."
"What we need to do is educate the public and ourselves too, so we can fight crime together, because that's all it is. We need to be together," Jim Wells County Sheriff Oscar Lopez said. "We need to be on the same page, so we can win, because if not, if you don't stay together, and you don't work together, this is a losing battle."
The sheriff's call the disconnect between Washington D.C. and South Texas a case of out of sight, out of mind. They say the reason lawmakers in Washington D.C. do not realize how severe these problems are is because they don't spend enough time here.
They say that lawmakers in the nation's capital believe everything is fine down here, when it's not, and that is why the sheriff's departments are speaking out, hoping those in Washington will get the message.