Thursday, September 16, 2021

Illegal immigrants bring crime, death surge to rural Texas community

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Just miles from El Paso lies Hudspeth County, a sparsely populated ranching community that’s faced an unprecedented flood of migrants since October, and with them, an influx of crime and death, residents and law enforcement told Fox News.

Two ranchers, along with a detained illegal immigrant, spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of the Mexican cartels, which profit off trafficking migrants across the border.

The Texas community has seen several break-ins allegedly committed by illegal immigrants, including a recent one where firearms were stolen, Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West told Fox News in an exclusive interview from his office in Sierra Blanca, which also houses the county jail. 

The town, the largest in the county, is home to around 800 residents and most of the migrants flooding in have been from the Northern Triangle countries of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala.

“We’ve had several break-ins. Typically they break in, they try to find food, water, things to continue on their journey,” West said. “Here recently, we had a break in where they broke into the house and stole a bunch of guns. That’s a big concern.”

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One rancher who would only speak on the condition of anonymity showed Fox News four structures on his sprawling property that he said were illegally entered by migrants. In one case, the rancher said the burglars ransacked the kitchen of an old ranch house in search of food. In another instance, he told Fox News migrants kicked down the door of a small structure at the back of the property.

West blamed the influx of illegal crossings and crime on the Biden administration, though he noted the surge began even prior to his election. 

“I think the biggest thing is the Biden administration. Prior to him even being elected we saw this surge come up,” he said.

Marty Bustamonte, chief of staff in the Hudspeth County sheriff’s office, blamed the surge along the border, in part, because of the media.

“The media only shows you a certain perception of what’s really going on,” he told Fox News. “They show, you know, groups of immigrants walking up to work from surrendering, and just basically the story is over. But in reality, some people don’t make it.”

West, who’s served as sheriff since 2001, said his department has also found a much larger number of dead migrants this year.

“In previous years, we pick up three, four, five a year that had the misfortune of coming across the desert and not being able to make it,” he said. “Since January, this influx, it’s been crazy. I mean, like I said, we’re up to 17, 18 dead ones this year.”

Another rancher, who did not want to be identified for fear of retribution by the Mexican cartels, said he’s seen more illegal border crossings along his property since October than he did the previous 20 years combined. 

Hudspeth County locals aren’t alone in their fear of the cartels.

“Since the mafia brought us, they took a picture of us. And if anything happens, we can’t get away from them,” an illegal immigrant trafficked by the cartels told Fox News from the county jail. He had been detained after he was caught allegedly breaking into a Hudspeth County property.

“They are violent. They want to spill blood,” he said. “They aren’t afraid of anything.”

Members of the “squad,” including Rashida Tlaib, have advocated in favor of defunding immigration law enforcement agencies.

“They’re a bunch of idiots,” West told Fox News when asked to comment. “That’s what’s partially wrong with this country.”

“I mean, crime is going through the roof because some of the defunding of police,” he continued. “Look at Chicago, look at your metropolitan areas. Crime has gone ridiculous. It’s crazy.”

As for how to fix the illegal immigrant surge in Hudspeth County, West said the formula is simple.

“Let’s secure the damn border,” he said. “Put border patrol back on the border, let border patrol do their jobs, let ICE do their jobs, and make the damn U.S. attorney do their job.”

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