Border residents to Congress: ‘Stop holding press conferences, shut down the border’

(The Center Square) – As another Republican congressional delegation arrived in Eagle Pass, Texas, Wednesday to hold another news conference and meet local residents, many Texans living at the border say they are fed up and want Congress to shut down the border.

If Congress continues to use taxpayer dollars to fund policies that facilitate the border crisis, they argue, Congress is complicit in creating it and a national security threat.

Wednesday’s meeting, led by U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-Louisiana, precedes congressional hearings scheduled this month about the border crisis and efforts to impeach U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

Congress hasn’t yet agreed to a $13.6 billion request from the president to fund “border enforcement and migration management.” This includes hiring more judges and asylum staffers “to expedite the screening process” to release more people into the U.S., White House Communications Director Ben LaBolt recently explained. House Republicans have “refused to take up the President’s supplemental funding request. Actions speak louder than words. It’s time for House Republicans to act,” he said.

Texas border residents want action but not the kind LaBolt is describing. Continued funding of current policies only means Congress “is complicit in the invasion,” Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith told The Center Square. Kinney County, a small Texas border community, was the first Texas county to declare an invasion. So far, 47 Texas counties have; over 60 have issued disaster declarations, citing the border crisis.

“Congress can stop this invasion right now with the power of the purse,” Smith said. “Our government is funding this invasion with our tax dollars. It needs to stop. We don’t know who is coming in. It only took 19 people to change the world as we know it on 9/11. That’s a fraction of the thousands coming through an hour and we don’t know who they are.

“Congress has the constitutional authority, and most importantly, the responsibility to ensure that federal funding promotes and protects the safety and security of American citizens. Our homeland is more vulnerable today to a terrorist attack because of the ongoing border crisis. And this is preventable.”

Smith argues that congressional delegations “coming to the border and holding press conferences is irrelevant because what matters is what happens in Washington, D.C. Continuing funding existing policies is allowing what’s happening here to occur.”

Maverick County resident and cattleman Martin Wall, agreed, telling The Center Square, “everyone in Congress is responsible for what is happening at the border. We feel abandoned by our own government. All they do is have meetings, photo-ops, press conferences and nothing changes.”

A railroad runs through his property with a U.S. Customs and Border Protection station located just south. Every day, he sees men covered in tattoos riding trains who “aren’t immigrants.” Those who are caught and removed come back and illegally enter again, he said.

“I can’t believe they are allowing this to happen,” he said, referring to Congress.

Christopher Roswell, another Maverick County rancher, said, “[U.S. Reps.] Tony Gonzalez, Chip Roy, [Sen.] Ted Cruz, and others, come down to talk about the border crisis. It’s always a dog and pony show, nothing changes.”

He said that while his and other businesses are impacted by crimes committed by illegal border crosses and “what is happening to local communities is devastating,” the border crisis “is a massive security issue.”

“The Biden administration is breaking the law. We have laws. We have borders. We are supposed to be a sovereign nation. Congress is supposed to protect its citizens who are paying taxes to be represented. This is absolute lawlessness. I don’t understand how this is still happening,” Roswell told The Center Square. “How does policy trump laws that are on the books? Does that mean any administration can ignore laws created by Congress? We as citizens can’t do that. If we break the law, there are consequences.”

Val Verde County resident and Border Patrol agent wife, Alison Anderson, told The Center Square that the administration’s proposed funding includes “building more encampments to house more illegal aliens, not for border security. We don’t need to hire more people to process illegals into the country. We need Border Patrol agents back in the field” after current policies removed them to process the steady flow of foreign nationals. “The breakdown of the funding I’ve seen includes building or expanding soft-sided facilities. It doesn’t stop the flow and doesn’t prioritize national security.”

She also questioned the Wednesday event, saying, “It makes no sense for continued trips to the border when we all know there is a border crisis. We know the number of people who are illegally entering the U.S., including those cutting our fences and walking through and those being smuggled through our property with limited law enforcement resources to stop them.

“In the 10 years we’ve been dealing with illegals crossing our property, we’ve never once encountered a family or a child. Everyone is a gotaway; nearly all are single military age men,” she said, referring to those who illegally enter between ports of entry to evade capture.

“There doesn’t need to be a press conference in Eagle Pass,” she said, but “changes in policy in Washington, D.C. Congress has no problem throwing money at Ukraine but when it comes to securing our own border, they do nothing to prioritize national security.

“How many groups of 19 people who came through the border have similar motivations to commit terror in our country? How many of the millions of illegals already here will commit a terrorist attack or violent crimes in communities across America?”

In the first three months of fiscal 2024, 80 known or suspected terrorists (KSTs) have been apprehended attempting to enter the U.S. illegally, with the majority, 46, at the northern border.

These apprehensions are on track to exceed fiscal 2023 apprehensions of 736 KSTs. The majority of them, 487, or 66%, were apprehended at the northern border.

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