The Migrant Surge Isn't a Far Off Problem

My wife and I went to the border two weeks ago. It wasn’t a taxpayer funded or curated tour, we planned and paid for the trip ourselves.  The visit was time away from work and family, but it was worth the time, effort, and expense. We wanted to talk to some folks and see what was happening firsthand, because it has become all too easy to dismiss what we see reported in the media as partisan theater. 

The migrant surge at the border isn’t a far-off problem and it will affect New Jersey.  While Laredo is about 1,900 miles from Trenton, undocumented people flock to urban areas. They are exploited, trafficked and, at the same time, encouraged to come. They are being granted privileges and government officials who offer privately funded “aid,” are all too quick to capitalize on the goodwill

Laredo is a Texas border town slightly north of the Rio Grande Valley region. There is a neat little hotel in Laredo called La Posada and apparently, its onsite restaurant is a popular haunt for members of congress and CBP Officers. In 1 hour, we met two border protection officers and Congressman Henry Cuellar.  

The CBP officers we spoke to asked not to be photographed, but they enthusiastically took some time to speak with us. They were empathetic and spoke of the situation without bias or agenda. Some of the details they offered were enlightening and gravely concerning. 

They told us daily crossings across the Rio Grande River are abundant and would be easy to see from Rio Bravo, but warned us to be careful, particularly at night. They explained that UAC’s (unaccompanied minors) are regularly attached to swim tubes, tossed from boats, and left to swim to shore at night. 

They estimated 8000 to 9000 people come like this daily across the Texas border. They directly attributed the surge to the fact that asylum seekers can await trial in America. They estimated that 9 of 10 aren’t seen after their first court appearance unless they are arrested for unrelated crimes elsewhere in the United States.

Shortly after our chat with the CBP officers, we introduced ourselves to Congressman Cuellar who happened to be sitting next to us. Cuellar has been critical of the current administration’s approach to the migrant surge. The Congressman spoke to us for a few minutes about the reality of the situation. He too was cordial and generous with his time. As he walked out, he assured us Laredo was safer than New Jersey.