Illegal migrants arrested in Texas for trespassing as Biden cancels border wall contracts

Katie Pavlich/Townhall 

When Joe Biden entered the White House, he immediately began to unwind many of the executive actions taken by former President Trump. At the top of his list was stopping the construction of the border wall. On Friday DHS canceled two contracts for border wall construction projects in the Laredo, Texas area. This action was made possible by using Biden’s executive order and its specifications that the construction is “not necessary to address any life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements.” The people living along the southern border beg to differ.

DHS officials claim that the project, not yet begun, is just the beginning of cancellations. Biden intends to cancel as much of the border wall construction previously funded by Trump as possible.

From a news release:

DHS continues to review all other paused border barrier projects and is in the process of determining which projects may be necessary to address life, safety, environmental, or other remediation requirements and where to conduct environmental planning.

The Administration also continues to call on Congress to cancel remaining border wall funding and instead fund smarter border security measures, like border technology and modernization of land ports of entry, that are proven to be more effective at improving safety and security at the border.

The timing of this couldn’t be worse. As Team Biden continues on its mission to open the southern border to hundreds of thousands of illegal migrants, border states are left to fend for themselves. Local law enforcement in Texas is now allowed to arrest migrants for trespassing. Governor Abbott issued a disaster declaration for some counties. Jails have been made available to hold those arrested. Landowners on the southern border point to the destruction caused by those illegally crossing the border as both financial hardship and also a personal safety concern for families living in their path.

Farmers are desperate for help. They say that “coyotes abandon people, steal vehicles, vandalize property and threaten the safety and livelihoods of farmers and ranchers” and they expect federal reimbursement for the damages brought on by Biden’s border crisis.

Texas Farm Bureau president Russell Boening told The Post that his group’s farmers, including those who live hundreds of miles north of the international boundary, are seeing human smugglers drive vehicles through their fields of crops, residences broken into, and families left stranded on their property.

Faced with calls by members to represent their concerns to Washington, the American Farm Bureau Federation, all 50 state bureaus, and the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau sent a letter in early June to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Interior Secretary Deb Haaland, asking the Biden administration to address what local communities were experiencing.

“Local and state border security resources have been exhausted, leaving little help for farmers and ranchers. We respectfully request federal authorities work promptly to provide additional resources and enforce legal immigration to secure U.S. borders,” the farm bureaus wrote.

The farmers rightly point to the fact that Americans shouldn’t have to live with the stress and dangerous situation facing those on the border. Coyotes treat the migrants as disposable sources of income, abandoning them when they are pursued by law enforcement. In the meantime, they leave behind broken fences, stolen pickup trucks and other property, and ruined crops. Farmers have a fear of being on their own property. There has always been some problems with illegal migration on the border but it is markedly worse now under Biden’s policies. And transnational criminal activity is up over normal activity.

The arrests for trespassing are starting off slowly. Governor Abbott is making a priority of arresting single male migrants, not putting women and children behind bars. The number of arrests is expected to quickly grow on a daily basis.

So far, at least 10 people have been jailed, with more on the way, authorities said Thursday. The detainees are being held at what had been an empty state prison in Dilley, Texas, about 100 miles north of the border city of Laredo, according to Robert Hurst, a spokesman for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The converted facility will be able to hold more than 950 people, he said.

Val Verde County Attorney David Martinez said that all of those arrested so far have been single adult men. He said he had been advised last week that the number of arrests of illegal immigrants could rise to as many as 100 to 200 per day.

The arrests put in motion plans that Abbott first announced in June, when he hosted a Border Security Summit in Del Rio, during which he said individuals who enter Texas illegally would be subject to arrest for trespassing.

Generally speaking, illegal migration should be winding down during the hot months of summer but that isn’t happening this year. The numbers of those crossing the border illegally continue to rise and those who have been sent back continue to try to re-enter. The narrative pushed by the Biden administration that illegal migration is a seasonal problem is no longer true. The West Texas desert is brutal. So far this year, 32 migrants have died in the Big Bend area of Texas. That number is four times as many as previous years. U.S. Border Patrol is now using a new tool to save lives – solar-powered rescue beacons. They are being placed in remote enclaves of the desert. They are 30-foot towers that include illustrations and simple instructions in both English and Spanish. The beacons instruct them to push a big red button to alert authorities for help. The first beacon was activated in Presidio County a few weeks ago. Ten migrants have already been rescued using the beacon. The other 29 beacons are waiting on approval from landowners.

“This area has never seen this amount of people coming. This is not only new for our agents but also for our residents,” McGoffin said. “So, this is something we’re trying to do on top of what we normally do in getting these rescue beacons out to get help to people in need.”

The federal official says the emergency is bringing the Border Patrol and residents closer together.

“Most of the ranchers have lived here for years and years and they’ve seen people in distress. While they obviously don’t like their property destroyed or littered, they know these people are in need of assistance. They do a very good job of keeping us informed as to what they’re seeing so we can react,” McGoffin said.

The problems brought on by Biden’s border crisis are real humanitarian crises. Landowners, ranchers, and farmers shouldn’t have to live like this along the border. It’s a national security risk for the United States, too. Open borders are dangerous and put the nation at risk.