Then and Now: Southwest Border and its Ranchers Under Siege

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Last week, the Texas Department of Public Safety said that its elite brush team apprehended 54 illegal immigrants attempting to sneak through private ranches after crossing illegally into Maverick County, Texas. Among those apprehended was a Mexican national who started a fire on a ranch and will be charged with trespassing and arson.

Earlier in the year, the same brush team assigned to Operation Lone Star arrested 33 aliens trespassing on ranchers’ personal property near the border. In all, Operation Lone Star has arrested 2,600 aliens on state criminal trespass charges. The arresting body is a Texas state agency, not Customs and Border Protection which might have been, because of the Biden administration’s soft-on-illegal-aliens policy, conflicted about what to do next after confronting criminals.

Years ago, I heard first hand from Arizona ranchers how little interest the federal government had in protecting them, their property and their families. On September 10, 2001, 9/11 eve, NumbersUSA Executive Director Roy Beck and I traveled to Tucson. Roy was scheduled to give a speech, after which a retired CBP agent would guide us on a personal border tour along a portion of the 262-mile sector. The following day, 9/11, we had a prearranged meeting with ranching families and other concerned citizens. Despite the day’s tragic events, the ranchers, knowing that illegal immigration would be the focal point of Roy’s talk, nevertheless wanted to convene.

During the informal chat period that followed, a rancher I’ll call Jones came up to me to share his story about then-Sen. John McCain, a Republican and prominent supporter of illegal immigrants and their agenda. Jones told me that after years of mailing handwritten letters to McCain asking for federal intervention to protect his land and family, but never getting more than a form response, he decided to fly to Washington to personally meet the senator. On his first day, McCain’s secretary advised Jones that the senator was too busy to see him. On the second day, Jones met with the staffer who dealt with immigration. Jones promised that he’d return the following day, and pressed for one-on-one time with McCain. By the week’s end, Jones gave up, never having seen McCain. The senator knew Jones had valid grievances, but he didn’t want to hear them.

Looking back with the perspective I’ve gained from Biden’s disregard for citizens’ personal safety during his assumption of the presidency, showing a shocking neglect toward the unconstitutional border invasion, McCain’s insulting, dismissive attitude toward Jones isn’t surprising. Americans dismayed by Biden’s contempt for immigration laws, and the well-being that many of those laws provide, should brace for more lawlessness and chaos ahead.

The Progressive Congressional Caucus, chaired by Washington U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal, recently issued its want list, what it called “Recommendations for Executive Action,” on immigration. In part, the list includes expanding or redesignating Temporary Protected Status to foreign nationals from Afghanistan, Cameroon, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Mauritania, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Ukraine and Yemen. At least 5 million illegal aliens from Mexico are estimated to live in the U.S. TPS, quasi amnesty, includes affirmative benefits which harm working or job-seeking U.S. citizens. TPS includes lifetime valid work authorization.

Also on the progressives’ list is a demand to end COVID-related Title 42, which will create a greater-than-ever border surge. An anonymous but knowledgeable source wrote: “U.S. intelligence officials are privately bracing for a massive influx of more than 170,000 migrants at the Mexico border if COVID-era policies that allow instant expulsions during the public health emergency are ended.”

A third progressive insistence is to “raise wages and improve labor safeguards and protections so that employers can no longer use the H-2B visa program to underpay and exploit migrant workers, and U.S. workers.” A better idea is to end H-2B altogether which would truly help U.S. workers. The program has a long, documented history of American worker displacement, wage theft and other abuses.

Looking back at McCain on immigration, and then comparing him to Biden, the former Navy captain looks pretty good, a conclusion I would have thought impossible to arrive at a few years ago. McCain favored mandatory E-Verify, defunding sanctuary cities, and funding entry/exit systems, all inconceivable to Biden. But “a few years ago” was before Biden, the president who has criminally scorned immigration laws in their totality since Day One.

Joe Guzzardi writes about immigration issues and impacts. Contact him at jguzzardi@pfirdc.org.

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Joe Guzzardi

Joe Guzzardi

Syndicated columnist Joe Guzzardi writes about immigration issues and American baseball history. Twitter @JoeGuzzardi19