The US House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee held its first joint FBI-Subcommittee on Health field hearing in McAllen, Texas, to examine the ongoing crisis at the southern border.
Brooks County, Texas Sheriff Benny Martinez testified to the record number of bodies found by his deputies, costs of more than $1 million to the county, hundreds of thousands of dollars in property damage to residents, and record numbers of human trafficking and drug trafficking that have occurred since. President Joe Biden was in office.
On Wednesday, he said the unique challenges facing his rural county, located 70 miles north of McAllen, are “a national security issue, a public health issue and a humanitarian issue.” The reason for this, he said, was foreign nationals from more than 150 countries who entered the United States illegally, including those between ports of entry seeking to evade law enforcement.
The subcommittee’s chair, U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffiths, R-Va., said it was important for the committee to meet in Texas “to highlight the brutal and unsustainable conditions that this President’s administration has caused on our borders. No other country in the world manages its borders the way it has chosen.” This administration.”
“The president’s open-border agenda is putting Americans across this country at risk and turning every town into a border town,” said the full committee chair, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rogers, R-Washington.
Related: What an invasion looks like: Video shows hundreds of single adults walking calmly across borders, meeting no resistance
Martinez, a Democrat, said that when people travel north by car on Highway 281 from McAllen, they must stop through a Border Patrol checkpoint in Valfurias, “one of the busiest checkpoints in terms of concerns for undocumented transients and drug seizures.”
Martinez, who has been in the DPS drug business for nearly 20 years, said this corridor is a major human and drug smuggling route. To avoid being caught by Border Patrol agents, several illegal aliens led by coyotes (human smugglers) broke through the ranchers’ fences and trespassed on private property to get around the checkpoint. If they were not caught, they would be taken at a predetermined location to be taken north, “usually to Houston,” he said.
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In some cases, he said, “local gang members and others seeking financial gain who live in the county smuggle people across farm lands by cutting through locks and fences causing untold damage to private property.” “The sad truth is that many do not survive the journey.”
The land is desolate, barren, and desert-like in the summer months when temperatures reach over 100 degrees. Many of those traveling on foot do not have proper shoes or clothing and do not have enough water or food. They die from dehydration, snakebite, injury, natural factors or being left behind by smugglers for being too slow, he told The Center Square newspaper.
Related: Tucker Carlson Airs video shows how easy it is for illegal immigrants to enter the US, calls on Republicans to let it happen
In August 2021, Martinez testified before the Texas House Appropriations Committee on border security funding, stating that Brooks County had seen “a 140% increase in dead bodies, a 130% increase in 911 calls, and a 200% increase in rescues.”
Since then, these numbers have increased astronomically. In 2022, his deputies, who are responsible for covering 943 square miles, found 917 bodies compared to 119 in 2021 and 34 in 2020, the sheriff’s office told The Center Square. So far this year, they have found 12.
He said the cost to the governorate of retrieving the bodies and helping to identify the bodies amounted to nearly $1 million.
The county’s operations are affected on a daily basis, including pulling ambulances from providing assistance to taxpayer residents to assisting calls in remote areas where turn times are 4 to 5 hours, he said, “leaving our personnel without emergency medical services. It has caused That puts pressure on the local health system.”
Last year, he said, there were 150 emergency requests for illegal foreign nationals and three deaths en route to hospitals. The fires caused by illegal immigration have burned 336,208 acres, he said, costing the county fire department $75,000 in fuel, equipment downtime, and related costs.
He said the cost to the non-profit air ambulance service of South Texas, for just one HALO-Flight, was about $320,000, and only $45,000 was reimbursed.
Checkpoint Valfurias reported a 100% increase in firearms seizures in 2022 from 2021. It said, “a 400% increase in evading vehicles at checkpoints, a 150% increase in cocaine seizures, and a 1,743% increase in seizures.” methamphetamine, a 175% increase in fears of gang members, a 67% increase in sex offender arrests, and a 220% increase in alien smuggling cases.”
He also said, “We have a large number of cases of sexual assault occurring on these females that cross” through local farms.
He said the Brooks County Sheriff’s Office, which is involved in the Border Security Operation Lone Star mission for Gov. Greg Abbott, from March to October 2022, has been involved in 322 smuggling operations and 204 rescues. They also recovered 181 stolen vehicles and at least 31 firearms, seized more than $500,000 in cash that went to Mexico, recorded $286,000 in private property damage and charged 179 people with engaging in organized criminal activity.
He said the United States could stem the flow of fentanyl and smuggling if existing laws were enforced. “Everything is in place” to secure the borders. He said the Drug Enforcement Administration, Customs and Border Protection, and other agents should be allowed to do their jobs. “Just let them work. They know what they’re doing.”
Published with permission from The Center Square.