Dear Secretary Johnson,
Texas is currently dealing with an extraordinary influx of unaccompanied minors illegally crossing our long international border with Mexico. With the Border Patrol’s focus shifted to this crisis, we have grave concerns that dangerous cartel activity, including narcotics smuggling and human trafficking, will go unchecked because Border Patrol resources are stretched too thin. Securing the U.S.-Mexico border is the federal government’s responsibility. Because that simply is not happening, the State of Texas is seeking emergency funding to help support state-based border security initiatives.
In the Texas Rio Grande Valley sector alone, the U. S. Border Patrol made more than 160,000 apprehensions between October 2013 and May 2014, an increase of 70 percent over the same period the year before. Authorities arrested 47,017 unaccompanied minors illegally crossing the border between October and May, up 92 percent from the same period a year earlier. More than two-thirds of these arrests—33,470— were in the Rio GrandeValley sector. A draft Border Patrol memorandum estimates that number could reach 90,000 in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
This crisis has been accelerated by federal government policies that, as U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen recently wrote, are “rewarding criminal conduct instead of enforcing the current laws.” Federal government policies that release unauthorized immigrants from custody with notices to appear in court, and that reunite minors apprehended alone in the U.S. illegally with family members already present in the country, only encourages the continued influx of unaccompanied minors that has helped create this urgent situation on our southwestern border.
I am appealing directly to you for immediate assistance with border security operations along the Texas-Mexico border. The influx of child immigrants has so overwhelmed the U.S. Border Patrol that federal agents are devoting time and resources to the humanitarian aspects of the influx. Therefore, we are concerned federal authorities are not available to secure the border and successfully stop cross-border criminal activity.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has a proven track record of interdicting, intercepting and disrupting the criminal operations of transnational gangs and international drug cartels—including illegal smuggling operations by those criminal organizations. The Texas DPS is prepared to swiftly launch a significant and proven border security operation once funding is available.
Right now, Abbott is seeking federal funds to pay for this. What if the funds are denied? That’s where is gets interesting. What if Abbott decides to employ state resources to defend a border that the federal government is clearly taking no steps to protect?
Obama can run to court for an order, arguing that protecting the border is a federal job. But as Abbott notes above, at least one federal judge in Texas does not believe the government is doing that job. Indeed, the judge accuses Homeland Security of completing the cartels’ criminal conspiracy to smuggle children across the border. (Keep reading; he really does!)
In the Washington Times, Ernest Istook had a piece on Tuesday about Judge Hanen’s order, and it’s worth your time:
“The Department of Homeland Security, instead of enforcing our border security laws, actually assisted the criminal conspiracy [of child-smuggling] in achieving its illegal goals,” writes a federal judge in a court order.
U.S. District Judge Andrew S. Hanen in Brownsville, Texas, issued the order in December. It explains and condemns how today’s crisis was created by President Barack Obama’s laxity and refusal to enforce our immigration laws. . . [A] s Judge Hanen’s order states: “Time and again this court has been told by representatives of the government and the defense that cartels control the entire smuggling process … the government is not only allowing [those paying the child-smugglers] to fund the illegal and evil activities of these cartels, but is also inspiring them to do so.”
“The DHS policy is as logical as taking illegal drugs or weapons that it has seized from smugglers and delivering them to the criminals who initially solicited their illegal importation. Legally, this situation is no different,” he wrote.
Oh, come on, Judge Hanen. The Obama Administration would never allow illegal weapons to be delivered to the drug cartels.
Judge Hanen described that the pattern is the same in other cases: “In each case, the DHS completed the criminal conspiracy, instead of enforcing the laws of the United States, by delivering the minors to the custody of the parent illegally living in the United States.”
This order sounds astonishing, and has new relevance given the extraordinary influx of children at the border. I’ll be looking into obtaining a copy of this order and telling you more about it. Stay tuned.
UPDATE: Courtesy of reader “Dave” comes a link to the judge’s opinion.
I note that Power Line did a great post about this in December, when the order came out.
This is probably all worth a separate post.