The National Guard had just rounded up a group of migrants at the border town of del Rio, Texas. There were four Cubans, four Venezuelans and one Nicaraguan who had met and joined up on the long trek to the U.S. It was often touch and go whether they would make it. Obstacles abounded, manmade and natural. They had to struggle through a jungle and unwelcoming people.
The Venezuelans – three men and a young woman – had the most circuitous route through Honduras and Guatemala in Central America, then up through dangerous Mexico controlled by the drug cartels. They were robbed so often they couldn’t pay the badgering police who threatened to send them back or maybe do something worse. So they took odd jobs to raise the necessary cash and resumed their journey to the Mexican border town Acuna opposite del Rio.
Knee deep they waded across the Rio Grande into the easiest part of their journey – entrance to the U.S. Always quite open along its 2,000 miles, the border today has never been more accessible under the Biden Administration’s highly permissive policies. This group in particular, unarmed, with no drugs and seemingly quite happy to be here, would have little trouble staying.
Sergeant Alejandro Moy, who is in charge of several miles of the border outside del Rio, is glad to welcome this kind of group and amiably questions them. They are much like the other 1,000 people he has detained over the year. Others more criminally inclined may elude capture or find another route to carry out their drug trafficking.
Sergeant Moy along with the rest of the National Guard is at a disadvantage. He has a weapon but cannot use it unless he is shot at first. Nor does he have the power of arrest. So he must await the arrival of the Border Patrol to take the detainees into custody. Since there are not enough Border Patrol, the wait can be as long as three hours.
In the past I had no trouble spotting Border Patrol. On this trip, covering sixty miles on the border, I didn’t see any. I’m told they’re not available because they’re burdened with paperwork in processing the migrants. That leaves a lot of the border uncovered and open to the continual flow of drugs and people.
The only solution is sufficient manpower, and that is conspicuously lacking. The question is why are U.S. troops protecting borders in various parts of the world but not our own? Technological improvements are a help, as is the Trump fence when it’s completed, but the drug cartels are too wily, armed and organized to be stopped by these impediments. Their forces must be met by our forces on the other side.
Once the newcomers are processed, they go to a temporary holding center. Every fifteen minutes a bus arrives with some twenty migrants and then departs with twenty others, mostly healthy-looking young men who are sent to various parts of the U.S., presumably to work and maybe, some Democrats hope, to vote.
I met a relaxed and cheerful Cuban couple – Landy Andres DeTenssen and Rosa Leyum Gonzales – who said they wanted to escape oppression in Cuba for freedom in America. Like others they had to pay along the trip and skirt the dangers, but here they were in the land they longed for. They would like to report on their progress in their new home in Florida. By all means, I said.