In his third visit to America’s southwest border, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas met on Thursday in El Paso with several sheriffs who are experiencing firsthand the consequences of thousands of undocumented immigrants reaching the border every week.
One of those at the private meeting with Mayorkas was Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels, who was representing the National Sheriffs’ Association. Dannels said the meeting “resulted in direct and candid dialogue between sheriffs and the secretary reference the many challenges sheriffs and communities are facing as a result of changes in policies and programs along the southwest border.”
Dannels, who chairs the association’s Border Security Committee, said Mayorkas agreed to continue weekly meetings “with hopes of enhancing communications and developing collective efforts for the good of our communities” and to bring relief to the border region.
Several sheriffs began speaking out in February when they saw the number of illegal and legal asylum-seeking border crossers explode, along with a sharp increase in drug trafficking. Another sheriff at the Mayorkas meeting was Sheriff Leo Dutton of Lewis and Clark County in Montana.
Dutton becomes the president of the 17-member Western States Sheriffs’ Association next month. He has addressed problems with illicit drugs making it to his state from Mexico, as well as concerns with human trafficking.
As Mayorkas was meeting in Texas, another outspoken critic of the White House’s current border policies took to the airwaves.
“This is definitely a crisis, and this is what we’re trying to get our politicians in Washington -and frankly get America- to understand,” Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb said on Your World with Neil Cavuto on Fox News.
Lamb’s deputies recently encountered a pickup with seven undocumented immigrants in the cab who ran during a traffic stop. Another eight immigrants were found in the bed of the truck.
“These are folks that are not here to claim asylum,” Lamb told Cavuto. “They are dressed in camouflage clothes, carpet shoes, they are trying to come into this country undetected.”
According to Lamb, USBP agents say at least one-half of those who reach the southwest border get across without interaction with federal immigration officials. That means they have not been subjected to criminal history checks or gang affiliation assessments before fanning out across the country.
The immediate solution, Lamb believes, is to reinstate President Donald Trump’s border policies. Which would require the Biden Administration to “put the pride beside” in order to secure the border.
“You have to stop the bleeding…They are putting our communities at risk. We cannot sustain this in our communities,” he said.