SOUTH TEXAS (NEWSRADIO 1080 KRLD) — The Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson’s arrival in Texas is being met with mixed feelings by some law enforcement officials along the border.
Don Reay, the Executive Director of the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition, says a visit by Johnson may have had more of an impact before plans were put into effect to transport and house the thousands of unaccompanied minors that have come into Texas through Mexico illegally.
“I would wish that this would have been done prior to all of this action so that there had been some advance knowledge of all of these actions passed onto local governments rather than — here it is folks,” says Reay. “The first I’ve heard of this trip is through the news media. None of my Sheriffs have contacted us to let them know that they’ve been contacted.”
He thinks that Johnson’s arrival in Texas, only a few days after state leaders announced a border security surge, is more than just coincidental.
“I think it’s natural that he would come… especially in the light that the state of Texas has taken some very affirmative action as far as trying to deal with what is happening along our border and the impact that an influx of people has on our local communities,” says Reay.
In recent months, more than 47,000 unaccompanied minors from Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador have entered the U.S. illegally. It has overwhelmed border patrol and state resources to care and house them while they go through the immigration process. Some of those kids have been shipped to other states, like Arizona.
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio thinks Johnson’s visit to Texas instead of the Grand Canyon State is a bit of a slap in the face.
“I think it’s kind of an insult. He’s going to Texas but he dumped all these people in Arizona at the Greyhound bus stop right around the corner from my office,” says Arpaio. “I’ve got a lot of questions to ask him, but he’s not going to call me. I’ll even go to Texas if he’s not willing to spend the gas to come to Arizona.”
Johnson and senior officials from the White House, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the Departments of Defense, Justice, and Health and Human Services, will visit U.S. Customs and Border Protection facilities and Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland. The group will be viewing the ongoing government-wide response to the influx of unaccompanied children across the Southwest border, but a detailed schedule of their trip has not been released.
“He’s gonna go down there, and they’re going to look at the facilities — which by the way — everybody accuses me of how I run an awful jail — ‘a tent city.’ Mine are like a country club compared to how they’re keeping these young people,” says Arpaio. “I’m sure they’re going to clean up the place a little before he shows up. I’m talking about his own people who are going to at least clean the toilets.”