By Bethany Blankley (The Center Square)
Kinney County, Texas, Sheriff Brad Coe is appealing for help from his colleagues in three states as his department is overwhelmed by a surge of illegal border crossings “wreaking havoc in our communities.”
Cory sent letters to all 254 counties in Texas, all 75 counties in Arkansas, and all 77 counties in Oklahoma asking for help protecting their residents from the surge in illegal immigration.
He argues that the border crisis has “made every county a border county” and “it is imperative that we stand ready here on the border to protect and serve.”
RELATED: GOP Rep Demands ‘Respect’ (Amnesty?) for 13 to 15 Million Illegal Immigrants at World Economic Forum
Kinney County was the first in Texas to issue a disaster declaration on April 21, 2021. The first to declare an invasion on July 5, 2022. One of the smallest, most rural counties in Texas, it shares a border of 16 miles. with Mexico.
Mostly single young military-age men who enter Texas illegally through ports of entry and intentionally evade law enforcement, he said, they commit a range of crimes, including involvement. Shootouts with law enforcement. DPS state troopers and sheriffs in Goliad and Galveston counties provided assistance, but the volume of men, mostly from Central American countries, was too much for them to handle, he said.
Even with the help, law enforcement officials are “stretched to the breaking point to successfully conduct operations. That’s why we’re expanding our request and calling on the people of Texas and beyond for your help,” he wrote to fellow sheriffs.
Koi County, just two stoplights away, “contains 3,129 souls” who depend heavily on livestock and hunting to sustain themselves. Coe, one of the sheriffs most familiar with the Texas-Mexico border, is a retired Border Patrol agent. “I know where people come from and how to stop them,” he said. And he told Center Square that he’s never seen the volume he’s seeing now.
Support conservative voices!
Sign up to receive the latest Political news, insight and commentary delivered straight to your inbox.
Coe is asking other sheriffs to provide manpower, equipment and operational assistance. County Attorney Brent Smith told The Center Square that the county needs help from the judicial and prosecutorial side. Although they have received some from the state, Smith said it is not enough. All funds for the state’s Operation Lone Star have already been earmarked, he said.
RELATED: 42 Texas Counties Now Support Declaring Invasion Along Southern Border
“Our houses are being broken into in the middle of the night,” Coe wrote to his colleagues. “The local school district has been forced to build military barricades around the campus to protect students from traffickers who elude law enforcement. It is not safe to walk outside on our own property after dark. The residents of Kinney County no longer enjoy the comfort and safety of their own homes. Words do not adequately describe the conditions on the ground and the daily threats we are forced to face. Can’t explain.
“Under normal circumstances, our county does not support a large or robust law enforcement presence,” he continued. “However, these are extraordinary times.”
Although outnumbered, outnumbered and stretched thin, he maintains hope, saying that “our Constitution, our citizens and our governors are empowered to establish working unions and task forces to uphold the law and ensure peace in our state.”
He cited the authority from governors to create unions to “combine their resources and coordinate their activities to successfully protect their own residents.”
According to data obtained by The Center Square, nearly 1.8 million people were apprehended or seized by Border Patrol agents in fiscal year 2022, bearing the brunt of illegal activity stemming from the Texas border.
While private military contractors have provided support in the past, their costs exceed the entire county’s budget, Kinney County Sheriff’s spokesman Matt Benacci told The Center Square, with initial costs in the million dollar range.
Funds received from the state must be approved by the state, and these funds have already been allocated or spent, including prosecutorial and judicial support and hiring additional law enforcement officers, purchasing equipment and other resources, he said.
RELATED: ‘Sanctuary City’ NYC Mayor Eric Adams Suddenly Discovers Illegal Immigrant Surge Is ‘National Crisis’
Smith, who office was the first He told The Center Square that his office is helping to successfully prosecute criminal trespassers through Operation Lone Star, a volume of cases normally handled only by larger counties. With only one secretary assisting him, his office went from hearing 10 cases a month to 500 last February. Those numbers have only increased, he said.
Since August 2021, Kinney County officers have made more than 5,000 arrests on false and eluding charges, which exceeds the number of arrests made in all Texas border counties.
Kinney County totaled 3,045 smuggling arrests in fiscal year 2022, according to data obtained by The Center Square from the District Attorney’s Office. In comparison, they totaled 67 in FY2021 and 64 in FY2020.
All felony arrests and charges from January 2021 to January 2023 totaled 5,524, according to the DA’s office. And if there are more law enforcement officers in the field, arrests will increase, Smith said.
On Friday, Border Patrol agents encountered a group of lone men who stole an all-terrain vehicle, a rifle, several hundred rounds of ammunition and knives from a resident’s home, Smith said. That was after others broke into another house. He said that these types of thefts are happening once a week.
“If a homeowner calls DPS, there’s no one to respond,” he told Center Square. “If they call the Border Patrol, there’s no one to respond. If they call the sheriff’s office, there are no brush teams to respond. We’re literally on our own. We’ll take any help from any law enforcement agency that’s willing to help us.
RELATED: Florida AG: ‘Bombshell New Evidence’ in Florida Lawsuit Against Biden Deportation Policies
“There may not be bullets and guns every day but what we are dealing with is a war zone.”
Sheriffs interested in assisting are encouraged to call Coe’s office.
Syndicated with permission from The Center Square.