Sheriffs along the U.S. border with Mexico don’t like what they’re seeing.
Describing the immigration crisis as “spiraling out of control,” a coalition of five sheriffs’ organizations in the Southwest released a three-page statement calling on the federal government to resist “outright amnesty” for people in the country illegally.
The document obtained by New Mexico Watchdog called for increased funding for border security programs, including removal programs supervised by Immigration and Customs Enforcement and DNA samples, fingerprinting and iris scans for people apprehended for entering the U.S. without documentation.
“The immigration crisis has overwhelmed the capabilities of U.S. Customs and Border Protection and all the federal agencies attempting to assist in the efforts to secure our borders,” said the statement, approved by the boards of the Western States Sheriffs’ Association, the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition, the Southwestern Border Sheriffs’ Coalition, the New Mexico Sheriffs’ Association and the National Sheriffs’ Association.
The groups are meeting in Santa Fe through Wednesday.
“We’re not just saying we have problems,” said Donald Reay, executive director of the Texas Border Sheriff’s Coalition, based in El Paso. “We’re saying we have solutions to those problems.”
The sheriffs’ statement went on to say the coalition is willing to form a “united security zone in sufficient depth along the border” to ensure safety.
That prompted criticism from the American Civil Liberties Union.
“Sheriff’s deputies may need more resources to do their jobs, but enforcing federal immigrations laws is not one of them,” said Vicki Gaubeca, director of the Regional Center for Border Rights of the ACLU of New Mexico.
Two months ago the border issue made national headlines after tens of thousands of unaccompanied children— largely from Central America — entered the U.S. Yet, Senate Majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters, “the border is secure.”
Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., took to the Senate floor one day later.
“The border today is more secure than it has ever been,” Heinrich said, adding, “There are more border patrol agents on the ground and more resources and technology deployed on the border than in any time in our nation’s history. These resources have been effective.”
“We’ve never been in more disagreement with them,” Reay said. “It’s an open border. It’s not supposed to be, but it is. And when people cross the border other than (through) a port of entry, they have committed a violation of federal law.”
The sheriff’s coalition statement says, “Amnesty is not the answer.”
But it’s been estimated at least 11 million people without documentation are living in the U.S.
Read more at Watchdog.org.
By Rob Nikolewski │ New Mexico Watchdog
Printed with permission from Watchdog.org.
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