By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)
South of an El Paso Port of Entry in downtown West Bridge and along the Rio Grande River stretching into New Mexico, Texas Department of Public Safety officers and Texas National Guard officers working on the border patrol mission of Governor Greg Abbott, Operation Lone Star, have effectively blocked illegal access, Texas authorities say.
The Texas National Guard has placed several miles of concertina wire to fill a gap in the border wall. When President Joe Biden took office, he immediately stopped building the border wall, leaving a hole in the area.
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People from all over the world who did not want to enter legally through an entry gate about a mile down a highway in Juárez, Mexico, walked on the highway through a ditch, across a shallow Rio Grande river that looks more like a stream, and into Texas, authorities say.
A partial steel wall and the river were the only barrier between Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, until the Texas National Guard intervened.
Just after midnight on Thursday, when Public Health Authority Title 42 ends, the Texas Department of Public Safety will make a show of force in this area, Texas Western Region DPS Commander Juan Sanchez told The Center Square at a briefing. with a border security coalition organized by The Texas Public Policy Foundation.
The coalition visited the area where in December a group of 300 people staying in a camp of several thousand on the other side of the river tried to cross and enter illegally, but were stopped by border guard agents. The camp is now closed.
Since then, no one in this area has been able to cross the river because Operation Lone Star has been so effective, Sanchez said. Foreigners must either enter at the port of entry or pass through New Mexico. But because New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat, has ordered the New Mexico State Police to stand down and not to pursue or detain illegally entrants, and because there is no New Mexico National Guard present , New Mexico is wide open to illegal entry, Texas authorities say.
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However, the area is so remote and there is no infrastructure and the next largest city, Las Cruces, is about an hour away.
“They just got back to El Paso,” Sanchez said. When they do, DPS actively works to arrest them.
Cartel traffickers put illegal foreigners in El Paso hotels, Airbnb rentals and then pollute them, Sanchez said.
“It’s taken a toll on local businesses, the community and everyone else,” he said.
Texas DPS special agents working with Border Patrol are actively looking for stockhouses, he said, and “we’ve been very successful.” Previously, stash houses held groups of 20-30 people. Now they hold groups of 50, 100, 150, he said.
Sanchez, who has worked in this area for years, also said the type of people entering illegally is different than in the past.
“This new group, they have a lot of rights,” he said. “They put up a lot of resistance to us. They have no respect for law enforcement. They have no respect for the citizens here.”
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Immigrants who come to the US legally and want to become US citizens were very quick to say, ‘I can’t wait to come to the United States. I can’t wait to carry the American flag,” he said. But the people who enter illegally today, “they still represent the flag of their homeland. They are here; they are entitled. They expect certain things,” he said, referring to taxpayer-funded social services and other subsidies.
“They laugh at just about everything we do,” he added. “Our citizens will say, ‘Can you please get off my doorstep, you’re blocking my door.’ And they laugh about it.”
“The problem we had downtown with all the migrants and homeless people,” he said, is that transnational gang members were taking over the streets. If homeless illegal aliens wanted to “get in the food line,” where free food was offered, they had to pay the gangs, he said.
The Biden administration, on the other hand, is actively working to free foreigners in the US, Texas authorities say. Speaking at a Border Patrol conference in El Paso on Wednesday, DHS Chief Information Officer Eric Hysen said the “extremely challenging operating environment will only intensify after tomorrow night,” referring to the end of Title 42 Thursday.
One of the agency’s main goals is to facilitate an efficient processing system to clear an anticipated influx of foreign nationals into the US. To do this, more than 2,400 DHS volunteers, 1,500 Department of Defense employees, 1,000 employees from 11 federal agencies and 2,000 contractors are working to “scale up processing efforts,” he said.
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Abbott, who deployed a National Guard tactical unit to El Paso on Monday said, “The cartels are working with President Biden and the federal government to ensure that illegals cross the border.”
He said Texas “is being overrun by our own federal government. Texas is undermined by our own federal government and our efforts to secure our border.”
Syndicated with permission from the Center Square.