Photo: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton at Press Conference
Photo Credit: Attorney General Ken Paxton
Published April 29, 2021
By Bethany Blankley [The Center Square contributor] –
Texas is seeing a crime surge as a result of the Biden administration’s open border policies, state Attorney General Ken Paxton said at a news conference Wednesday in Mission.
Paxton was accompanied by state police officers, border patrol agents and several sheriffs to raise awareness about the surge.
Paxton, who has sued the Biden administration five times over immigration policies since January, has been meeting with law enforcement officials across the state.
Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon spoke about the impact of crime caused by illegal immigrants in his county of 19,000 residents located 275 miles from the border. Since January, his deputies have been involved on a regular basis in high-speed pursuits and increased crime, explaining it is “a burden and a strain on our community having to deal with this.”
Sheriff Pinky Gonzalez of Refugio County described how his 13 deputies are working around the clock to respond to crime brought into their community located 180 miles north of the border with fewer than 8,000 residents. He held up a several-inch thick stack of police reports. Each case takes between 8-12 hours of an officer’s time, he said, depleting the county’s resources and limited budget. Over 3,000-man hours have been dedicated to illegal immigration crimes, Gonzalez said of his deputies’ time.
“It’s been a burden to our time and to our people,” he said. “We’ve had human smugglers going through our town going 80 miles an hour in 35-mile speed zones. They have no regard for human property or human life at all. We have been overwhelmed with these cases. We have never seen anything like this before and it has got to stop.”
Sheriff A.J. Louderback of Jackson County said, “What we are witnessing here over and over and over and over and over again and again are destructive polices that are detrimental to Texans and Americans.” He described what private property owners are experiencing on a daily basis, saying, “Imagine you wake up every day and look at a game camera … and groups of 50 to 100 [people] are within 50 yards of your home, everyday trespassing on your property, cutting your fences.
Paxton said the state of Texas and the nation as a whole are being harmed by Biden’s immigration policies.
“We are going to do our best to force the federal government to follow the laws that they passed … President Biden is supposed to enforce these laws, not say that they don’t matter,” the attorney general said.
Paxton said cooperation among border patrol agents, customs officers, sheriffs and state police “has been remarkable,” they are sharing information and working together “despite the impediments the federal government has put even on their own people.”
In response to a question about what Paxton would say to Biden, who has yet to visit the border, he said, “I would ask them to set aside the politics and please care about my state, please care about the border states, please care about the rest of the country.
“The fact that they’re not coming down here, the fact that it seems like they’re trying to hide a lot of what’s going on, they’re very secretive, they’re not letting us know who is coming in, who is leaving. There should be more cooperation. If they are going to have this open border policy, we are going to be affected by it every day.
“What I would ask them, is to start following the law, go to polices that work, and please care about our state because it doesn’t seem like they really care right now.”