A sheriff in Texas has called the border crisis ‘unprecedented’ and said that migrants are causing costly damage to ranches in his community.
‘Right now, we’re seeing something unprecedented, I’ve worked in this county for 35 years, and we are seeing a vast number of human smuggling events there,’ Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe told Fox & Friends on Friday.
Kinney County is a mostly rural area bordering the Rio Grande River, with a population of just 3,600, but is near the busy Del Rio border crossing.
On Friday, the Kinney County Sheriff’s Department, which employs just six deputies, said in a statement that it had encountered five human trafficking cases and one stolen car in a mere 18 hours.
Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe has called the border crisis ‘unprecedented’ and said that migrants are causing costly damage to ranches in his community
On Thursday, Kinney County deputies encountered this group of migrants packed into the back of a cargo van on Interstate 90
‘I’ve got six deputies to cover 1,300 square miles. So this push is keeping my deputies working overtime. We can’t sustain this,’ Sheriff Coe said.
‘We’re seeing property damage that I’ve never seen before. We probably have $100,000 worth of fence damage in the past two weeks, where large groups of aliens are cutting fences on private property and walking through like they own the place,’ he continued.
Coe said that he has been keeping a tally of the damage to present to state and local lawmakers to ‘try to open up people’s eyes’ to the impact of the migrant surge on his community.
‘I’ve been talking to a number of ranchers and I told them to keep track of what it’s costing to repair the fences, how much damage they’re doing to their property, the crops, the animals that they’re losing, the money lost, trying to round up these animals and get them back,’ he said.
It comes amid a dramatic surge in illegal crossings at the border, with more than 172,000 encounters in March alone, including an historic number of unaccompanied children.
Border Patrol agents from the Del Rio Sector, which includes Kinney County, apprehended this group of about 20 migrants crossing the border illegally on Wednesday near Dryden
On Tuesday, Kinney County deputies were called to a report of children wandering unaccompanied at a rest stop on I-90. A deputy found the children with their mother, who said that they had been abandoned in the bush by a smuggler because the children were crying. The group of migrants, seen above, was handed over to Border Patrol
The number of migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border is spiking in 2021 compared to 2020, which saw a decrease in illegal crossings due to the coronavirus pandemic
On Wednesday, Kinney County Judge Tully Shahan, the top executive in the county, declared a local state of disaster due to ‘thousands of illegal aliens invading Kinney County.’
‘This continual violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity has resulted in residents of Kinney County being assaulted, threatened with violence, and robbed, while also sustaining vast amounts of property damage,’ the judge’s order read.
The disaster declaration activates the county’s emergency management plan and requests National Guard assistance from Texas Governor Greg Abbott.
In a joint statement, Shahan and County Attorney Brent Smith described the situation in stark, militaristic terms.
‘On April 21, 1863, Texas won her independence during the battle at San Jacinto, the final and decisive battle of the Texas Revolution,’ the statement read.
‘Today, 185 years later, Texas is once again under siege, as thousands upon thousands of illegal aliens invade our State through our border with Mexico,’ it added. ‘As Texans, we will no longer allow the sovereignty and territorial integrity of our borders to be violated.’
‘I’ve got six deputies to cover 1,300 square miles. So this push is keeping my deputies working overtime. We can’t sustain this,’ said Sheriff Coe (above)
Kinney County’s top executive and city attorney issued a stark statement on Wednesday announcing a local state of disaster, describing the situation in militaristic terms
Many of the migrants apprehended at the border are unaccompanied children, or adults traveling with small children, who are likely aware that they cannot be quickly deported.
However, large groups of solo adults have also been using the chaos to cross the border illegally while Border Patrol agents are distracted, officials say.
Border Patrol officials in the Del Rio Sector, which includes Kinney County, said this week that they had seen a 250 percent increase in encounters with migrants who have U.S. criminal convictions and are barred from re-entry.
Last weekend, agents in the sector apprehended two such migrants, one with convictions for multiple counts of 4th degree sexual assault in Wisconsin, and another convicted of sex with minor in California.