By: Rachel Pulaski
Border Sheriffs, frustrated with D.C. politicians, are once again speaking out. They say Congress is not listening and their ideas are not enough. Border Sheriffs, including Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels and Doña Ana County, N.M., Sheriff Todd Garrison, are fed up and want better security for their borders.
Dannels’ complaints about the lack of Border Patrol agents along the border suggests he supports a Senate plan to flood the Southwest border with 20,000 new agents. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t think border security proposals in the House will do much, either.
“The people in my county are very frustrated,” Dannels says, looking at the lush green of a valley that will soon shrivel to brown in the desert sun. “They feel border security hasn’t been taken seriously.”
Congress returned from recess this week facing a busy schedule, featuring debates over Syria, health care and the debt limit.
But Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said they also will find time to dive into immigration.
The Senate and House have spent months crafting their own versions of overhauls to the nation’s immigration laws. Yet Dannels is among more than a dozen sheriffs interviewed by USA TODAY who police the border from California to Texas and say the plans from Washington will do little to secure the border.
They say they have proposals that will work – more prosecutions of border crossers, closer screening of people going through border crossings, putting pressure on Mexico to do its part. But they feel they’ve been shoved aside by a Congress more interested in cutting a deal than finding solutions.
“They’ve had every organization up there except law enforcement. I just don’t understand that,” said Doña Ana County, N.M., Sheriff Todd Garrison. “If we just had a seat at the table and could express our concerns, it would at least shed some light on these issues.”
Arizona ranchers living along the Mexican border are fearful of the drug cartel and say the U.S. is “borderless”. The Arizona ranchers are speaking out to The Blaze and airing a special on the “For the Record” show this evening. The show promises to provide “never-before-seen surveillance videos taken from their ranches: proof that their ranches are being seized by drug traffickers and nefarious groups that use the cover of darkness to cross into the United States.”
The Blaze reported:
Mary, an Arizona rancher who spoke to TheBlaze on condition of anonymity out of fear of retribution from the drug cartels, warned, “it’s not our country anymore.”
“We may be bound to the laws of our country,” she said. “But we’re living by the law of the cartels.”
Like Mary, many of the ranchers chose to speak on condition that they not be named out of fear for their lives but their stories are all similar. They say the U.S. is “borderless.”
Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, who works closely with the ranchers living along his county’s 83-mile border with Mexico, told TheBlaze the increased violence along his community’s southern border is an example that the federal government is failing when it comes to border security.
“Border security should be a primary issue even before we talk about immigration reform,” said Dannels, who has spent more than 25 years in law enforcement along the border. “The biggest change from 1984 until current is the violence on the border.”