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Mr. Speaker, I bring you news from the second front; that is, the border between the United States and Mexico.
This past weekend, I was the guest of two of our border sheriffs in Texas, Sheriff Oscar Carrillo from Culberson County, Texas, and Sheriff Arvin West from Hudspeth County, Texas. These two massive counties are the size of the States of Connecticut and Rhode Island put together. They are the two counties just east of El Paso County.
I was there to see the situation on the Texas-Mexico border firsthand by the people who help protect the border, and that is the border sheriffs, along with the Border Patrol. Smugglers that are coming across from Mexico, bringing in drugs, are relentless in their endeavor to bring narcotics into the United States.
The cross-border travelers that are captured in these two counties, most of the people in the county jails, are these foreign nationals bringing drugs or committing other crimes. Let me make this clear: Most of the people in these two county jails are foreigners that have committed felonies or misdemeanors in the United States. In fact, Arvin West told me that if he didn't have cross-border travelers in his county jail, he wouldn't need a jail, except one cell for one person. There are over 500 people in the county jails that are foreign nationals. So that's how bad the problem is continuing to be.
The drug cartel are smugglers, Mr. Speaker. They smuggle into the United States not only drugs, but people. It is all intertwined. And all because of money, they are bringing those individuals and those drugs into the country. But also, they smuggle back to Mexico two commodities, and the two commodities they smuggle are guns and money. They are in the smuggling business. They are very well organized.
Sara Carter, from the Washington Times, reports that the drug cartels have in their employment over 100,000 foot soldiers; that's just a little bit less than the entire Mexican Army. They have better vehicles, they have better weaponry, and they have a whole lot more money than our border protectors do on this side. They have gotten so sophisticated now that they don't let any drugs come into the United States unless they're tracked by GPS devices.
The drug runners are committed--it's almost a religion to them--to bring drugs into the United States. Let me give you an example of that.
I understand now, after being down on the border, the sheriffs were telling me that the drug runners pray to a narco saint--that's right--Jesus Malverde. He was an individual that died in 1909. He was supposed to be a Mexican national that helped the poor, et cetera. But now there are shrines in different parts of Mexico where these drug runners in the drug cartels pray to this individual for safety in crossing the border into the United States so they can bring drugs. He's supposed to be the patron saint of travelers--I thought it was St. Christopher. But be that as it may, it shows how relentless these people are. Now, just to clarify, the Catholic Church says Jesus Malverde is not a saint, has never been, and never will be. But it shows you that it is a religion to these people to bring drugs and other people into the country.
But there is also good news from the border. The border county sheriffs, the 20 county sheriffs in Texas, have put up cameras along the border, and those cameras are tied to the Internet. And so a person can log on to a Web site called blueservo.net, and they can actually see these cameras and they can track people coming into the United States. They have had over 43,000 people log in just since this thing started a few weeks ago, and they are as far away as Australia. An Australian was watching it, and he sent an e-mail to the head of this association and said, hey mate, we've been watching your border from Australia and trying to help out you guys.
So, what is occurring is, if somebody sees traffic--drug smugglers, illegals, whatever--coming into the United States, they have a Web site, an e-mail, and they can e-mail the border sheriff in that county, and either the sheriffs or the Border Patrol goes out and arrests the bad guys coming into the country. Just as this has started, four major drug busts have occurred, and 30 incidents where illegal crossers were coming in were repelled and they went back across the border. Of course the cynics in the open-border crowd are against this; they're against anything that seems to work.
I want to commend the Border Sheriffs Coalition, the 20 of them, especially Oscar Carrillo, Arvin West and Sigi Gonzalez, because they are doing a job that is a thankless job, but it is important to protect the integrity of the United States.
And what we need to do is to help them by putting more people, more boots on the ground, more Border Patrol, more sheriff's deputies, and even the National Guard, if necessary, to help them.
I would like to insert into the Record the 20 border sheriffs in Texas that are protecting the border.
And that's just the way it is.
Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition
Brewster County--Ronny Dodson
Cameron County--Omar Lucio
Culberson County--Oscar Carrillo
Dimmit County--Joel Gonzales
El Paso County--Richard Wiles
Hidalgo County--Guadalupe Trevino
Hudspeth County--Arvin West
Jeff Davis County--Thomas Roberts
Kinney County--Leland Burgess
Maverick County--Thomas Herrera
Pecos County--Cliff Harris
Presidio County--Danny Dominguez
Starr County--Rene Fuentes
Terrell County--Clint McDonald
Val Verde County--Joe Martinez
Webb County--Martin Cuellar
Zapata County--Sigifredo Gonzalez
Zavala County--Eusevio Salinas
Willacy County--Larry Spence
Jim Hogg County--Erasmo Alarcon
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