MISSION, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and three sheriffs from different counties near the southern border today expressed their frustration at the current illegal immigration situation during a news conference from Mission, Texas.
“Imagine that your property is trespassed every day by people from another country. Where you can’t go to your barn at night. You can’t have your kids go home from school early for fear they will encounter someone they don’t know,” said Jackson County Sheriff A.J. Louderback. “Put your wife and your children in those positions, day-after-day under these policies and you’ll understand the frustration that Texas Sheriffs and Texas law enforcement is experiencing right now.”READ MORE: Thousands Of Haitian Migrants Crowd Under Bridge To Wait In Texas Town On Mexican Border
The attorney general echoed Sheriff Louderback’s position on the issue, and said the situation at the border has far reaching consequences for the rest of the country.
“It’s not just a border problem or a Texas problem. It’s an America problem” said Lavaca County Sheriff Micah Harmon.
Lavaca County is 279 miles inland from the southern border. And yet’, according to Sheriff Harmon, they are feeling the strain on county resources due to the influx of illegal immigrants.
“We’ve has numerous pursuits and bailouts. Just the other day, there was a vehicle pursuit of a pickup with 18 people inside. It crashed into a tree and burned. There were numerous injuries. That incident took up all our first responder, fire and law enforcement resources that day,” said Harmon.
Holding a stack of calls slips from January to now on undocumented immigrants, Refugio County Sheriff Pinky Gonzalez also spoke to reporters. He explained that each call slip he was holding, requires deputies to work 8-12 hours on one case.
“We just try to do our darndest’,” said Gonzalez.
There are currently 13 deputies in Refugio County. Gonzalez said they work around the clock and are often called in on their time off due to incidents with illegal immigrants.
Refugio County is 180 miles north of the southern border with a population under 8,000.
“We’ve had smugglers going through our town at 85 mph in 30 mph speed zones. This is serious. They have no regard for property or human life at all,” said Gonzalez. “We’re just a rural town with a limited budget and we are just overwhelmed with this…. We have dealt with these illegals coming through our town… but never like this.”READ MORE: Texas Doctor Says He's Still Being Punished For Trying To Save Lives During COVID-19
Paxton is again suing the Biden Administration for actions he alleges are helping the spread of coronavirus at the U.S.- Mexico border by allowing illegal aliens to gather in congregate care settings.
In a statement, Paxton said the action “creates an undeniable crisis on our southern border.”
“This reckless policy change stifles the reopening of the Texas economy at a time when businesses need it the most and when our children need to get back to in-person learning as soon as possible,” Paxton said. “Law and order must be immediately upheld and enforced to ensure the safety of our communities and the reopening of the strongest economy of the country.”
In the 34 page complaint, Paxton argues the administration is violating its own CDC rules.
“Instead of using the CDC’s authority to prevent the introduction of covered aliens into the United States during a pandemic, defendants have chosen to take courses of action that have resulted in the release of tens of thousands of aliens into Texas and the United States. Absent this court’s intervention, such releases will continue for the foreseeable future,” the lawsuit reads.
Paxton also argues the current administration is violating the Immigration and Nationality Act, Public Health Service Act of 1944 and the Administrative Procedure Act.
The Immigration and Nationality Act requires the detention of arriving migrants who might transmit diseases of public health significance. Paxton is asking a federal court to require the administration to expel migrants to Mexico under the Trump-era Title 42 rule.
“More Texans will be exposed to COVID-19, more Texans will contract COVID-19, more Texans will die from COVID-19, and Texas will incur significant costs in terms of health care and law enforcement resources,” the lawsuit reads.
In response, a spokesperson for The White House told CBS 11 News that it reaffirms its commitment to charting a different path than the prior administration on unaccompanied minors.
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