El Paso, TX, Again the Focal Point of Southern Border Crisis

By John Lopez

On December 20, Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) sent this communication to President Biden concerning the Southern Border Crisis on the eve of the Winter Solstice.

“With cold temperatures gripping Texas, your inaction to secure the southern border is putting the lives of migrants at risk, particularly in the City of El Paso.  With thousands of men, women, and children illegally crossing into Texas every day, and with the expectation that those numbers will only increase if Title 42 expulsions end, the state is overburdened as we respond to this disaster caused by you and your administration. Your policies will leave many people in the bitter, dangerous cold as a polar vortex moves into Texas.

“This terrible crisis for border communities in Texas is a catastrophe of your own making.  These communities and the state are ill-equipped to do the job assigned to the federal government – house the thousands of migrants flooding into the country every day.  With perilous temperatures moving into the area, many of these migrants are at risk of freezing to death on city streets.” [Editor’s Note: Title 42 allows border officials to quickly expel illegal immigrants due to health, i.e. Covid-19, concerns.]

The entire letter to President Biden can be read here

On the Migrant Dashboard above, in the box in the upper left, the number 10,349 is circled.  From December 11-17 (Week 50 of 2022), 10,349 migrants detained by U.S. Custom and Border Protection (CBP) were released into the city of El Paso.  As the bar graph goes from right to left, Week 50’s releases were the highest weekly release from CBP recorded this year.

And the city of El Paso is only one of many border crossings of Texas, and excludes the crossings of Eagle Pass, Del Rio, Laredo, McAllen and Brownsville & more.

On Saturday, December 17, El Paso’s Mayor Oscar Leeser (although municipal officials in Texas are elected in non-partisan elections, Leeser is a Democrat) declared a state of emergency given the pending expiration, by court order, of the enforcement of Title 42.

In anticipation of the ending of Title 42 (which as of this writing, has been delayed by U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts), migrant border crossings have increased, per the City’s dashboard, significantly.  During Week 51 (Dec 18-24), due to delaying of the end of Title 42, migrant releases from CBP went down.

As documented in the Illinois Family Action article from October 17, El Paso has bussed nearly 14,000 migrants to the cities of New York and Chicago (on the above dashboard screenshot, refer to the section on the right titled “Migrants Chartered per Destination”), and this was separate from the “Operation Lone Star” Governor Abbott implemented to bus migrants out of Texas as they await their court dates to determine their asylum status.

The new state of emergency for El Paso said transportation would begin again, though through Week 51, no buses had arrived in Chicago directly sent by the City of El Paso.  It is unknown if the City of El Paso will be accepting assistance from Governor Abbott to help pay for migrant bussing in the new State of Emergency.

But the City of El Paso cannot wait for the Supreme Court to rule on ending Title 42, and Governor Abbott is not waiting on the Biden administration to take action.  Per KTSM TV, 400 soldiers have been deployed from the Texas National Guard:

The deployment is part of Gov. Greg Abbott’s “enhanced border security effort and will include a Security Response Force comprised of ‘element’ from the 606th Military Police Battalion, trained in civil disturbance operations and mass migration response,” the Texas Military department said.

Video of the deployment was posted on Twitter on Christmas Day and can be viewed here.

On Friday, December 23, the El Paso City Council voted unanimously to extend Mayor Leeser’s state of emergency for an additional 30 days as they await the Supreme Court’s ruling to end Title 42.

On January 3, three members of the El Paso City Council will be replaced as the result of city council elections held on November 8 and follow-up runoff elections on December 17. Incumbent City Council Representative Claudia Rodriguez lost her reelection bid — she was interviewed by FOX News right before the runoff (Mayor Leeser’s emergency declaration took place just two hours before polls closed on Dec 17).

Illinois Republican Leader Jeanne Ives Suggests Democrat Congressional Bill with Echoes of “Remain in Mexico” Republican Policy

The Sunday after the El Paso state of emergency declaration, I phoned into the Beyond The Beltway radio program, guest-hosted by Eric Kohn.  I asked both guests, Jeanne Ives, who serves on the Illinois Republican Party’s state central committee, and Chicago Alderman Ray Lopez (no relation), about the effects of the El Paso declaration. I asked Alderman Lopez about the strong likelihood of more migrants being bussed to the city of Chicago.  I asked Ives which policy should be implemented.

The cued video of the December 18 livestream can be viewed here and lasts nearly 12 minutes.

Ives referred to legislation of Congressman Vicente Gonzalez (D-TX) under H.R. 8823, the Safe Zones Act of 2022.  The proposed legislation, submitted in mid-September at the height of the Southern Border Crisis during the late summer and early fall, would set up 3 safe zones in Mexico, and 1 in Guatemala, where asylum seekers would remain after submitting their petitions for asylum PRIOR to entering the United States.

The Gonzalez legislation went nowhere during the waning days of the 117th Congress. It was treated with the same speculation as his summer vote against a national assault weapons ban. After all, he was in a hotly contested incumbent-vs.-incumbent showdown on November 8 in TX-34 where he won reelection over Congresswoman Mayra Flores (R-TX).

That said, Ives took care to explain Gonzalez’s policy proposal — not as if it was just a sound bite.  This was something missing during the 2022 general election campaign on not only the Southern Border Crisis, but MANY issues where conservative viewpoints were not thoroughly discussed and vetted.  In fact, during the fall campaign, whenever someone mentioned the Southern Border Crisis, I would often ask, “give me a specific policy proposal you think will help.”  When the person I asked, either in-person or online, wouldn’t give me one, I provided one — usually the Dignity Act proposed by Congresswoman Maria Salazar (R-FL) filed in early February under H.R. 6637.  Salazar, who is of Cuban heritage, saw her legislation languish in the Democrat-controlled House, but with Republicans flipping the House, it may be vetted in the new year.

Las Vegas-based freelance writer Brittany Sheehan, who’s also of Cuban heritage, took me up on my challenge to discuss a policy proposal in late November. She responded to me with the following transcribed Twitter thread of her initial analysis:

Brittany Sheehan

“Salazar has her heart in the right place, but in a quick glance I read nothing about asylum.  Two, the legalization program runs ahead of the border security which is a non-starter in [the] GOP.  Three, permanent residency isn’t included as an option, just indefinite temporary status[,] renewable visa[,] or path to citizenship.  The citizenship requires contributions to ‘American worker fund’ which idk even know what that is… or volunteer hours which is like arbitrary.  Much to work on there.

“Salazar attempts to address worker and citizen statuses, which is needed but I would want to see more from a FL rep.  Statutory asylum merits, not ever changing by executive attitude.  What makes Venezuelans less in need of protection today than a few years ago?  What’s their basis?

“Also forcing people to volunteer…literally isn’t volunteering.  I know the other option is pay into some fund we know nothing about… but coerced contribution shouldn’t be a citizenship basis.  I’d rather see econ productivity or education than forced volunteerism & dues (fines).

“Also, we need to look at pipeline for asylum claims that doesn’t force or encourage these people into arms of cartels.  It’s horrific what people go through.  They should go to a consulate, not a cartel.  We can do better.

“I can see that as a role of nonprofit groups too.  However we do it, literally it shouldn’t be people being macheted in a S American jungle trying to cross a river with crocodiles and babies.  This is insane.

“ACLU has a position against detention and yes we put migrants in basically prison and we have and do force drug them, even if they have vac[cination] records.  Kids got overdosed w adult shots in Dilly, TX against their mothers wishes.  It’s terrible.”

What a breath of fresh air which should have been part of MANY congressional campaigns this past fall but sorely lacking from nominees of both parties.  Sheehan, who contributes articles to Red State, a Salem Media Group publication, was also a grassroots volunteer in the successful campaign to flip the Nevada governorship from Democrat to Republican, the only gubernatorial election last fall where a Democrat running for reelection was defeated.

In the new year with the convening of the new 118th Congress in Washington on January 3 (with a Republican House and a Democrat Senate), and the convening of the 103rd Illinois General Assembly under Democrat supermajorities, may the merits of policy, not soundbites, talking points, narratives, platitudes or bromides, bring positive change for all Americans.

John Lopez is semi-retired, and does freelance work with analytics, as well as political candidates, emphasizing policy as the means to advance the conservative message, by engaging through policy “dog fighting”, applying discernment for winning and advancing God’s Kingdom agenda.

John has been married for over 17 years.

Follow John on Twitter: @MarcVAvelar

In a November 28 interview with Good Morning Aurora podcast, a thorough discussion was shared in the hour long interview and can be viewed on YouTube here.