March was a very busy month for me, spent almost entirely on Border Security issues. As the migration influx continues with no end in sight, I continue to meet with elected officials to share with them the landowner experience: of increased foot and vehicle traffic through private property; high-speed pursuits of smugglers that end up often with smugglers driving through fences and gates as they flee from law enforcement, dead bodies being found on landowners’ properties, and the ever-increasing threat of an altercation with armed smugglers.
Local and federal law enforcement are now advising affected landowners to carry firearms on their property. In the past, that suggestion has been discouraged. They are receiving intelligence that most don’t have privy to; so obviously they are receiving some alarming information.
I’ve had the opportunity to have a seat at the table with Senator John Cornyn and Congressman Henry Cuellar in Laredo, at a luncheon at the Pharr bridge with 19 of our U.S. Senators, at a roundtable with 11 U.S. Congressmen, and I’m going to another one this afternoon in McAllen.
I would like to thank the directors, advisors, and members who attended the recent Congressional delegation meeting in McAllen. Thank you to chairman Whit Jones, directors James McAllen, Jr., Mark Alvarenga, and Othal Brand; advisors Richard Guerra, Presnall Cage; along with his wife Stephanie and member Ricky Ramirez, CEO of IBC Bank Zapata. Their testimony was said to be the most impactful to that particular delegation.
In addition, I’d like to bring to your attention a smuggling bill that has been filed in the State House and Senate that was written by the Kleberg/Kenedy County district attorney, and STPRA member, John Hubert. HB 687 by J.M. Lozano, is currently co-sponsored by Rep. Ryan Guillen and Rep. Terry Canales (we continue to ask other representatives to sign on in support) and SB 576 by Senator Juan
“Chuy” Hinojosa. The legislation would 1. remove the “pecuniary benefit” from proving smuggling and change that into a penalty enhancement 2. add charging enhancements to the smugglers for carrying a firearm or for fleeing from law enforcement or border patrol 3. make it a felony to “guide” people across agricultural lands while trespassing. Because immigration is a Federal responsibility, HB 687/SB 576 are not immigration bills and do not affect immigrants themselves. Please consider contacting your state senator or representative and ask them to sign on as a co-sponsor. For the summary of HB 687, click here.
I know that these meeting opportunities have made a difference. I was informed that five of the aerostats that were removed or were planning to be removed have been funded for another year. It’s time for all of us to come together with one voice and speak out against this continued policy of catch and release, which is leaving South Texas landowners, and the nation for that matter, vulnerable because federal law enforcement is at the border dealing with the overflow of humanity.
We will be hosting a webinar on Tuesday, April 13, at 2pm with the Rio Grande Border Patrol Sector Chief, Brian Hastings; Hidalgo County Sheriff Eddie Guerra; and Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez. That invitation will be sent out today via Zoom. I hope you can attend!
Until next month,