I attended my first border patrol meeting with my fellow volunteer and director of the South Texas Human Rights Center, Eddie Canales. I was introduced to the ranchers and able to associate names with faces. We met at the Border Patrol station in Falfurrias.
About 25 border patrol supervisors, a few from the US Army, the Border Patrol station staff, about 30 ranchers, and a few others attended. This monthly meeting was to update the local ranchers on Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) initiatives, allow for sharing of ideas and concerns, and to build a working relationship between the CBP and the ranchers. The atmosphere in the room was one of listening, honesty, and openness.
The CBP and the ranchers ultimately want to prevent migrant-refugees from entering the US, eliminating the need for search and rescue or for search and recovery. Evidence shows, however, no matter the size of the fences, the number of inspection stations, or the multiplication of military personnel, the driving forces are greater than the deterrents and the migrant-refugees, including record numbers of women and children, keep coming.
The CBP and the coyotes (persons who are paid to smuggle others across the border) are in a constant strategic war.
One rancher asked why it takes so many hours to find migrants after receiving a 911 alert. I was touched by the rancher’s compassion. No one wants anyone to die.
Some new members of the Texas National Guard to be deployed have specifically volunteered to be part of the search and rescue operations. Additional manpower along with greater use of cell phones and 911 calls by the migrant-refugees will hopefully result in more rescues and fewer deaths.
I would like to see the use of names such as “aliens” and “illegals” (used by CBP) and “wetbacks” (used by ranchers) change. These people are migrant-refugees. Words do matter. I would also like the level of humanitarian concerns to be higher on the meeting agendas – from its current fourth place behind prevention, apprehension, and property rights.
This is a controversial and complex issue. Many are personally affected daily in a negative way by the migrant-refugees in the area, and the patient participation I witnessed in this meeting was remarkable. Thank you for your support and prayers.
Philippians 2:4 “Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.”