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By Ira Mehlman

Earlier this month, a team of FAIR researchers and videographers headed to the U.S.-Mexico border along the Rio Grande River to get a firsthand look at the impact of the Biden Border Crisis. The area around Eagle Pass and Del Rio, Texas, has seen some of the highest levels of illegal immigration in recent months, as nationwide border encounters soared to a record 370,925 in December.

Not only has that section of the Rio Grande been ground zero for the illegal alien invasion, but it has also been the center of a confrontation between the State of Texas and the federal government, which has primary responsibility for controlling the border. In recent months, Texas has enacted new state laws designed to deter illegal aliens from entering the state, and taken action on its own to prevent them from crossing into Texas. Texas’ actions have sparked legal battles with open border advocacy groups and with the Biden administration, which has staked out the position that not only won’t they enforce our nation’s immigration laws, but they will fight anyone else who tries to enforce them.

The impact of the past three years of sabotage by the Biden administration has been devastating for the people who live on the Texas side of the Rio Grande. During our week in the region, we met with local law enforcement officials, county prosecutors, ranchers and other local residents. They recounted how their lives have changed due to the Biden administration’s policies. Each of them described the impact the border crisis has had on the safety and security of their families and communities.

FAIR captured hours of video of local residents and officials telling their stories. The first of those videos was an interview with ranch manager Wayne King as he drove us around his sprawling property.

But while the border crisis rages on, we also found evidence that Texas’ recent efforts to address it on its own are paying immediate dividends. Law enforcement and government officials, as well as local residents, report that the flow of illegal aliens into their communities has declined significantly in recent weeks due to new state laws and policies designed to deter and prevent illegal aliens form crossing into Texas.

In contrast to the thousands of people fording the Rio Grande each day as recently as December – many in broad daylight – we witnessed many fewer crossings during early February. The illegal crossings we saw and recorded occurred mainly at night and were smaller groups of working age men who were apprehended by Border Patrol agents.

Shelby Park, a stretch of open land on the riverfront in Eagle Pass, was being overwhelmed by migrants crossing illegally just a few weeks ago. When FAIR toured the area, we saw none. Shelby Park is where Texas has placed shipping containers, topped with razor wire, along the banks of the river and stationed National Guard troops at the park’s entrance to prevent the federal government from cutting the wire or removing the barriers.

The Biden administration, which is fighting Texas’ efforts in court, was given a green light to remove the barriers that the state put in place while the case makes its way through the legal system. However, the administration has largely refrained from doing so. According to a captain in the Texas Military Department we spoke with, members of the Border Patrol – who are themselves residents of these border communities – do not want to remove the barriers and have so far not been forced to do so by orders from Washington.

Fifty-five miles upriver from Eagle Pass lies Del Rio, another city that was being overwhelmed a few weeks earlier.  However, as we toured, we saw Texas’ own border wall being built. The Texas-built wall is almost identical to the federal border wall construction that President Biden halted on his first day in office.

While this is good news for Texas, it does not solve the national illegal immigration crisis unleashed by the Biden administration’s policies. The decline in illegal aliens crossing into Texas has been offset by increases in illegal traffic across the border in Arizona and California over the past few months. The criminal cartels that smuggle and traffic record numbers of people across our borders are simply taking the path of least resistances and avoiding Texas in favor of states that are more hospitable to illegal immigration.

What Texas has demonstrated, however, is that the current border crisis does not need to be an immutable fact. First, contrary to the protestations of the Biden administration that nothing can be done about mass illegal immigration until Congress yields to their demands for mass amnesties and the creation of “new legal pathways” to accommodate everyone who wants to come here, it can be significantly curtailed.

Second, Texas has shown that states are not powerless to act when the federal government refuses to carry out its obligations to enforce our borders and immigration laws. It is highly unlikely that Arizona and California will respond to increasing numbers of illegal aliens by copying what Texas is doing, but that will be because they choose not to protect the security and the interests of their citizens.

Many Texans we spoke with believe the state still isn’t doing enough to deter and prevent mass illegal immigration. But from what we observed and recorded in that one small region of the state over the course of several days, Texas’ efforts are having an impact – which is perhaps why the Biden administration and the open-borders advocacy network is fighting them at every turn.

Check back at www.FAIRUS.org for more interviews that will be posted over the coming weeks.

Author: FAIR


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