Desert Invasion - U.S.

Sheriffs say border wide open

By Staff writers, Sierra Times

Sheriffs from 25 counties in four states along the United States' border with Mexico have banded together to make their voices heard over border issues.

Sheriffs in the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition decided during their annual meeting Thursday to join in forming the new group along with sheriffs from New Mexico, Arizona and California.

"The failure of the U.S. government to secure the border has forced all of us to join together and unite in one voice so that we may be heard," El Paso County Sheriff Leo Samaniego said.

Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio said the Southwest Border Sheriff's Coalition will ask lawmakers in Washington, D.C., for $100 million to improve border security through more personnel, equipment and training....

The sheriffs said the border is wide open to illegal immigration, drug traffickers, terrorists and other criminals.

Lucio said it is not unusual for human smugglers or drug traffickers to send one or two people as "decoys" to distract Border Patrol agents.

"While Border Patrol is taking that one to jail, they'll leave that spot empty and then 10 people will come in while they're gone," Lucio said. "That's where we come in."...

The new coalition involves 25 counties from the mouth of the Rio Grande near Brownsville to the Pacific Ocean.

"That's your entire southern border adjoining Mexico speaking as one voice in terms of rural law enforcement," Rick Glancey, interim executive director of the Texas Border Sheriff's Coalition....

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