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Texas Has Become the Wild, Wild West: Part Two

The crisis at our border is not only still pressing onward, it’s intensifying and widening. Hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants are desperate to find ways to enter the nation. Our southern border was the first and most obvious place to target for illicit entry to the U.S. Then, this administration unveiled a “new” way to bring more immigrants in: from Afghanistan. The common thread is one President Biden wants us to overlook: we don’t know who these people are! 

We are certain some of these Afghan people have terrorist backgrounds and are coming with evil intentions. There’s no way to investigate their histories thoroughly. Think about it: do you think THIS Afghan government — the Taliban — would give the U.S. State Department information on these Afghanis who fled from Afghanistan? That’s even if there was such a database in their country!

We watched for years as our government struggled to learn the backgrounds of those coming to our southern border. Yet they still came…and got in…and are still coming…and STILL getting in.

Biden and his media minions want us all to believe that the President has it all under control. They want you to believe there’s “no there there.”

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Last week we took an inside look into the flood of illegals down south that had tied the hands of local and state law enforcement agencies — specifically in Texas. That story was Part One of this “look-see.” We need to go back to south Texas to look further.

Who would be better to give us the REAL facts with no political spin than the active local law enforcement agents AT the border? There are plenty of those in Texas. And there are many of those deputies and their bosses devised and implemented a plan to protect innocent young Americans. Let’s go back to Kinney County, where we began this in Part One. Here’s Part Two of that story.

Seeking Solutions

Kinney County kicked off its call for help on April 21 by declaring a state of disaster in the county. Other counties followed, and a slew of community meetings throughout the state attracted hundreds of irate residents. In a weather-related disaster, the state’s version of FEMA, the Texas Department of Emergency Management (TDEM), kicks in with assistance. “We’ll have a hail storm, and TDEM is on the phone immediately, asking if we need anything,” Goliad County judge Mike Bennett said. But he said he didn’t hear from the agency after his county declared a disaster over the border crisis on April 21.

Gov. Greg Abbott has issued several executive orders meant to disburse assistance for local border regions. Still, counties such as Kinney have found it difficult to access help, including TDEM’s resources and the $1 billion the state allocated to border security in the last legislative session.

Meanwhile, the border crisis has been eating up local resources.

The sheriff’s deputies spend a majority of their time on callouts related to illegal aliens. EMS Director Henry Garcia said 50 percent of calls in June were illegal alien-related. He said he’s worried residents won’t get the help they need in an emergency since the county has just one ambulance crew available at any given time and volunteers run the fire department. Frustrated with the absence of federal help and slow state response, county leadership began talks with Garrison Trading, a private security contracting company that has worked in Iraq and Afghanistan. “If y’all are good enough for the U.S. military, you’re good enough for Texans,” Smith, the county attorney, said during the Kinney County Commissioners meeting in July. But, legally, it’s a “patchwork of statutes” to work through, he said.

Rex Morford, president of the Colorado-based company, told the commissioners that his team is getting the required state licenses and insurances to operate in Texas. The licenses were subsequently approved at the beginning of August, pending insurance review.

“Our primary focus is to support you—we’re not here to take over. This is not Iraq. This is not Afghanistan. This is America,” Morford said during the commissioner’s meeting. “What we’d like to do is start shutting down avenues along the border. You’ve got multiple lanes of approach. We can help shut those down.”

The sheriffs from Uvalde and Val Verde counties also attended the meeting and judges from Edwards and Jeff Davis counties. The response from state officials has been tepid, and a TDEM official told county leaders that a lot of what Garrison could help with is being tackled by the state.

“A lot of the things you describe are already ongoing in Texas,” said Tony Pena, assistant chief for TDEM, during a Zoom conference. “A lot of these things are already being addressed. I’m not trying to be negative here.”

TDEM officials told meeting participants that they had to submit a State of Texas assistance request (STAR) form to access resources. It was the first time Kinney County officials had ever heard of a STAR request; same with the Edwards and Jeff Davis counties judges who were also on the call.

Jail space has been one of the most critical bottlenecks, and the county considered using Garrison to build and staff a temporary facility. At the same time, the state looked at using Brackettville’s Civic Center as a temporary jail facility, but the county commissioners ruled that out as it’s smack in the middle of town. Instead, they offered the use of 60 acres adjacent to the county detention center. Brandon Wood, head of the Texas Jail Commission, joined the July 12 commissioner’s meeting by phone and suggested that the county work through TDEM set up temporary jail space. “We need to know what y’all need … and what you’re trying to do down there,” Wood said. Smith said, “We’ve been trying to get TDEM to help us since April.”

Since then, Kinney County’s jail issues have been relieved somewhat. DPS erected a temporary jail facility in neighboring Val Verde County, holding 96 inmates, and the Briscoe Unit is up and running. But neither facility accepts felons, which means drivers charged with smuggling illegal aliens are more often than not being released, pending charges. Illegal alien drivers often aren’t charged and are just handed to Border Patrol to deport.

The high price tag for any extra security measures not being met by TDEM means a potential push for private donations; the Kinney County Commissioners Court on Aug. 2 approved the set-up of a bank account that will accept border security donations. A public web portal has yet to be launched. Even if they can access TDEM funding, counties often have to bear the upfront costs in many cases, and the small counties don’t have bags of spare operating capital laying around.

Edwards County Judge Souli Shanklin said he’s still waiting for TDEM to reimburse his county for a 2018 flood.

“Of the $1 million they owe, I’ve got $146,000 reimbursed,” he told The Epoch Times on July 7. “How much operating capital do you have to pay these guys? I don’t have very damn much. We can’t afford to pay these gentlemen.”

Coe said getting Garrison in could be a “huge game-changer” for the state. “Let Kinney County be the model. Let them see what can be done when we put our mind to it. Instead of rolling over playing dead, let’s be proactive,” he told a reporter.

“Either way, it’s going to cost us money — whether they get over here and live for the rest of their lives on welfare and Medicaid and everything else—or we stop them here.”

Coe said the inner cities, including Austin and Dallas, have issues with drugs and violence from the border. “So if we stop it here, we save them up there.”

Kinney County is finalizing a letter of intent to provide to Garrison, but it’s nonbinding and contingent on funding. County Judge Tully Shahan wants to move ahead but is nervous about liability.

“Kinney County is going to be sticking its neck out big-time to hire private contractors,” Shahan said at an Aug. 2 meeting.

“We’ve got to cross that hurdle somehow,” he told representatives of Garrison.

Shahan said he’d feel “more protected liability-wise” if the state Department of Public Safety was involved. Still, the county has been “waiting on the governor’s office” to get more resources and “hasn’t received any help yet,” so they’re moving in the direction of the private contractors.

“State officials need to realize that this crisis has surpassed that of a law enforcement issue,” Smith told The Epoch Times on Aug. 9. “The solution will have to include aspects of a military operation and the manpower that entails.”

Smith said he’s not averse to militias coming in if need be.

“If it weren’t for militias, we wouldn’t have a country today. The militias were what originally freed us from the British crown. Militias were what freed Texas from the Mexican government,” he said. “Militias have a bad rap. But I think, by and large, they’re formed by the people, by the citizens, and they volunteer to help governments and their own citizens in times of trouble.”

Meanwhile, Sheriff Coe has asked the state to give him 42 National Guard troops. He wants to set them up in key locations in the county as listening post-observation post personnel to report anything they see or hear.

“Not only along the river but some places interior, where I know they [illegal aliens] are walking through. And that gives us a better feel of what’s going on,” Coe told The Epoch Times on Aug. 10. “But I don’t think I’m going to get them.”

He said it’s unlikely the state will cede control of the National Guard troops but that DPS is getting more of them deployed throughout the region.

“We’ll give it some time. We’ll see what happens,” Coe said.

On July 27, Abbott issued an executive order for the Texas National Guard to assist DPS in arresting illegal aliens on state charges, including criminal trespassing, smuggling, and human trafficking.

State troopers have started delivering vanloads of illegal aliens to the Kinney County Sheriff’s Office to be charged with criminal trespass after picking them up off ranches. In the last two weeks, more than 170 charges have been filed.

“DPS has been working hard on conducting more ground operations on the ranches in Kinney County … where probably 80 percent of the illegal trafficking is occurring,” Smith said.

“They’re having some success in their arrests but are very limited in the manpower they can deploy on the ground.”

Although the state is doing more and Coe is getting direct help from Galveston deputies, Smith is confident they’ll also employ Garrison in some form.

A total of 52 illegal immigrants from Mexico and Honduras wait to be booked for criminal trespass after being arrested by Texas State Troopers on local ranches, at the Kinney County Sheriffs Office in Brackettville, Texas, on Aug. 8, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

391 Commission

Using a more obscure approach but with potential major results, Kinney County, Uvalde County, and the city of Uvalde have joined forces to create a subregional planning commission under Section 391 of the Texas code. It’s a statute unique to Texas that gives small regions the teeth to direct coordination with state agencies and their resources.

It sounds academic, but the first major win for a 391 commission was a David and Goliath affair that stopped constructing the Trans-Texas Corridor—a superhighway and related ecosystem that connected Chinese-run ports in Mexico to Canada. It was also known as the NAFTA Superhighway.

American Stewards of Liberty, a nonprofit organization, was instrumental in the 2009 win against the superhighway. The organization’s chief executive and executive director are husband and wife duo Dan and Margaret Byfield. The Byfields are helping Kinney and Uvalde navigate their new commission, which was officially formed on Aug. 2 and named the Texas Border Subregional Planning Commission.

The commission will use the overriding provision in the statute that allows regions to “join and cooperate to improve the health, safety, and general welfare of their residents.”

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin, the commission chairman, said he thinks it’ll be “invaluable” because “small rural counties … get neglected.”

“I think it’s got the potential to be really effective because you can actually hold a state agency accountable, and we don’t have to go to Austin. They’ve got to come to us. They’ve got to talk to us,” McLaughlin told The Epoch Times on Aug. 9.

Uvalde Mayor Don McLaughlin at City Hall in Uvalde, Texas, on May 26, 2021. (Charlotte Cuthbertson/The Epoch Times)

Uvalde has been beleaguered all year by a huge increase in illegal alien smuggling, vehicle pursuits, and bailouts—which is when a vehicle stops and the illegal aliens jump out and scatter to avoid capture.

“We had car chases Friday, we had car chases Saturday, we had car chases Sunday—and bailouts in the community,” McLaughlin said. He’s so fed up, and he’s ready to shut down Highway 90 to force attention to the issue.

McLaughlin said the extra Texas state troopers deployed to Uvalde have been a “tremendous help.”

“I can only imagine the number of chases and the number of bailouts we’d have had in our community without the DPS. That number would probably be triple or quadruple. So I’m very thankful,” he said.

As with Kinney County, though, jail space in Uvalde is perpetually at capacity.

McLaughlin wants to use the commission to cut through the red tape with TDEM, with the jail standards commission, and with the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement (TCOLE).

“You have the governor’s office saying that TDEM is going to help you, and the jail standard commission is waiving things, and TCOLE is going to make it easier for you to bring [retired law enforcement] people back. And that’s not the case right now,” he said.

“I’m almost of the mindset that it’s time to call for a state militia. Because law enforcement is overwhelmed, the federal government’s doing nothing, and so it’s going to be up to us to take care of our state and take care of our citizens.”

Illegal immigrants are captured on a game camera as they traverse Cole Hill’s ranch in Kinney County, Texas. (Courtesy of Cole Hill)

Margaret Byfield said although the issues and agencies are different from the superhighway, the 391 commission should work similarly.

“The scenario is very similar here, where the local governments know exactly what they need to secure the border. And the state, which has the responsibility to do that, is not providing them those resources,” she said.

“So it’s a little bit different, but in a lot of ways, it still is the same problem and can still get resolved through the same process.”

She said the counties should also be able to access TDEM funding they need upfront, allowing for the use of private security contractors without relying on donations.

The next step for the commission is to formulate and prioritize its needs and then contact the relevant agency decision-makers to meet.

Slow Pace

Kinney County leadership is united in trying to implement solutions to what they’ve declared is an emergency, but they’re frustrated by the glacial pace it’s all unfolding.

Hunting season looms, and ranchers and residents provide daily evidence that groups of illegal aliens are traversing the county unvetted and unchecked.

And while the different levels of government go through their machinations, many residents of Kinney County remain armed and frustrated.

Summary

Have you wondered on what authority the Biden Administration continues to not just “allow” illegal immigrants entry into the country but also to “promote” their coming? One thing that is missing in the media reporting about this is that these illegals coming break at least one law. And the promotion of these illegal actions is also illegal — even IF it is our federal government!

What remains to be determined is if and who will be held responsible for this lawlessness. It certainly lies at the feet of this President. After all, he could stop it with one phone call.

Will corrupt Democrats in power ever be held accountable for their suborning this illegality?

To Download Today’s (Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021) “TNN Live!” show, click on this link:

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