Border county sheriff: Biden team needs “to get in the game” and get off the bench as border collapses

DEL RIO, TX – During a press conference held earlier in September that hosted Mayor Bruno “Ralphy” Lozano and Val Verde County Sheriff Joe Frank Martinez, the Val Verde County sheriff delivered some criticism toward the Biden administration regarding the border crisis.

In the sheriff’s own words, he proclaimed that the Biden administration, “can’t stay sitting on the bench. They need to get in the game” regarding the issues impacting the southern border.

Sheriff Martinez made his appeal to the Biden administration during a press conference held on September 16th while engaging with reports who were asking about the ongoing issues along the southern border.

One of the first things that the Val Verde County sheriff spoke about was the federal agents operating the current encampment established for those illegally crossing into the country:

“We have our agents here, asking them to do a job that none of you would do, and I mean that. They’re stepping up to the plate.”

While the focus of the press conference seemed to highlight the negative impacts along the southern border, Sheriff Martinez was not dismissive toward the plight associated with migrants crossing into the country:

“On the other side of the fence, there are men, women and children, all ages, all conditions, pregnant, with medical issues, whatever they might be. These agents are having to deal with those individuals that are there. There’s a humanitarian piece to it also.

They’re people of God, also, no matter where they come from, but we’re asking our agents to do a job that nobody here would do, and I know for a fact, because I visit with my son, who is a Border Patrol agent.”

Continuing from that point after mentioning his son, Sheriff Martinez expressed the uncertainty that his son and many other Border Patrol agents are facing due to the migrants coming into the country are not being tested for COVID:

“After the conditions that are there, he has to go home to his three kids, as every agent here does. None of these people are tested for anything, for any kind of illness. There are no tests being done for COVID.

That’s another thing that’s not even being considered. So you walk down in there, and by you all being up here, you’re not actually, you don’t get the true meaning of what it is like over there.”

When one reporter asked the sheriff what he tells his son in light of these conditions, Sheriff Martinez said that he tells his son to, “keep his head up high” while acknowledging that he does worry about his son’s wellbeing when asked in a follow up question.

One attendee asked the sheriff if he believes that the cartels are playing a significant role in the flood of migrants crossing into the country, which Sheriff Martinez said he does believe that to be the case:

“You know, in my opinion, I think the cartels are controlling part of it. These people that are here, they’re turning themselves in. The people that I worry about are the people that are going around. I think that’s where the bigger issue is because we don’t know what we don’t know. We don’t know what’s going on beyond these fences.”

Another reporter asked Sheriff Martinez if he’s aware of any plans for DHS to speak with the media about the aforementioned issues, citing the peculiarity of the sheriff and the mayor formally addressing the media prior to DHS.

Sheriff Martinez said in response that he’s not quite sure what DHS is doing, but he and other local officials felt compelled to speak up on the matter due to there being not too many others doing the same:

“I don’t know what DHS’s plan is, long-term. I think our county judge made a statement, and I think it put up a bunch of flags that something needed to be done, so this is a result of that, and something is better than nothing because I’ve talked to people in South Carolina.

I talked to people in Seattle, Washington, and the majority of the country doesn’t know that this is happening on the southern border.

They don’t have a clue, so I hope that you all take this message out and spread it out as far as you can. The administration has to pay attention. They can’t stay sitting on the bench. They need to get in the game.”

When asked a follow up on why he thinks DHS hasn’t held a press conference in Del Rio, Sheriff Martinez said that he couldn’t answer that question – but said the federal government should be the ones in front of this since it’s “a federal issue”:

“I can’t answer for them, and I won’t. Like I said, they need to get in the game because the immigration issue is a federal issue, and we’re here, and I said it this morning and I’ll say it again, I get the feeling, in my opinion, these [Border Patrol agents] feel abandoned. We’re on our own, so I think the rest of the country has to step up also, and they need to get in the game also.”

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Border Patrol shuts down all sector checkpoints as border bridge crisis exceeds 10K Haitians

(Originally published September 18th, 2021)

DEL RIO, TX – A U.S. Customs and Border Protection source said the agency is closing down normal operations at all Del Rio Sector Border patrol highway checkpoints to allow staff to assist with the care, transport, and processing of 10,000 mostly Haitian migrants currently detained under the Del Rio International Bridge.

According to the source, the shutdown began at midnight on Friday and will remain closed until an orderly process can be established to handle the makeshift camp.

As the Biden administration struggled with the massive numbers of migrants crossing the border answering his calls for immigration leniency, over 10,000 Haitian migrants have assembled under and around the bridge.

Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens, the county’s top elected official and whose jurisdiction includes Del Rio, said the vast majority of the estimated 12,000 migrants assembled at the bridge were Haitian.

Some Haitians have built cave-like shelters in the reeds along the river, while others have gathered under the bridge for shelter. Owens said trash is discarded in ten-foot-wide piles and at least two women have given birth at the camp.

One of the women tested positive for COVID-19 after being transported to a local hospital.

Checkpoints are normally an important part of the defense of the United States at the border.

Citizenship inspections, K-9s trained to detect concealed humans and narcotics, non-intrusive backscatter X-ray inspections of vehicles to scan for concealed cargo are all utilized at the border checkpoints.

Another concern with shutting down checkpoints is the interruption in the use of radiation detection equipment to look for radioactive materials entering from the border, a terrorism safeguard that will not be fully operational during the shutdown.

According to an exclusive report by Breitbart News, three checkpoints will be closed to allow full staffing reallocation to the Haitian bridge crisis. Two more will be closed for vehicle inspections but will still be used to process and detain migrants.

The CBP source said shutting down the checkpoints may mean smugglers will not need to use backroads or foot trails to bypass the main roads because the checkpoints will be shut down.

He claimed that three checkpoints would be closed to allow all staff to reallocate to the camp. Two others will cease inspections of vehicles, but will still be operating for migrant processing and detention.

The Del Rio Sector’s busiest checkpoint processes at least 25,000 vehicles each week.

The CBP set up portable toilets at the site and said more agents to help handle the growing crisis. Haitians have been crossing a low point in the Rio Grande to cross into the United States. Confusion over Biden’s immigration policies has fueled the rush to cross into the United States.

Many Haitians have been living in Mexico for many years, some since the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti in 2010. News of Biden’s lax policies and his attempt to suspend Trump era immigration safeguards like Title 42 has caused Haitian migrants to flood across the border in hopes of gaining amnesty.

Guerline Jozef, co-founder of the Haitian Bridge Alliance, an advocacy group that was created after the last Haitian migration crisis along the U.S. southern border, said:

“The majority of the people who are at Del Rio are people who have been in Mexico a very long time but in other cities, for example Tijuana.

“There are a lot of rumors that if you go to Del Rio, you might be able to get access, so people just flooded Del Rio.”

 The Federal Aviation Administration has placed a two-week flight restriction over the bridge after area images of the crush of people living in squalid conditions at the makeshift camp landed on television and social media.

The ruling means  news agencies cannot fly drones to capture any images as the crisis worsens. Activists and local officials say the crisis is getting worse, but the administration is trying to block media access.

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said President Biden was to blame for the preventable disaster unfolding:

“I am on the ground in Del Rio, Texas tonight. As of this moment, there are 10,503 illegal aliens under the Del Rio International Bridge. This man-made disaster was caused by Joe Biden.”

Randy McGrorty, who heads Catholic Legal Services in Miami, called on the international community to get involved in the crisis, pointing out that Venezuelans, Cubans, and some Central Americans are mixed in with the Haitians:

“Why isn’t the international community responding to what is really turning into a humanitarian crisis?

“I can’t figure it out. There is nothing good about having people living in fields.”


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Author: Gregory Hoyt

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