As the border crisis continues, sheriffs across the country are calling for “proper reforms” and “demanding the rule of law” be followed.
The American Sheriff Alliance is specifically highlighting the increase in encounters with individuals who are on the Terrorist Watchlist—from two encounters in 2017 to 151 thus far in 2023.
Additionally, the sheriffs are concerned about the increase in illegal border crossers with criminal backgrounds.
According to the ASA, “The number of arrests of individuals with criminal convictions or those wanted by law enforcement by noncitizens has increased exponentially from 6,562 encounters in 2021 to 16,992 in 2022, and year to date in 2023, there have been 18,586 encounters.”
Sheriff Leon Wilmot of Yuma County, Arizona, who is also a Western States Sheriffs’ Association member, addressed the drain on local resources:
The pressure on law enforcement at the local level is unsustainable with the continued daily increases at the southern ports of entry. With the sustained unrelenting flow of migrants coming from all over the world and the limited background checks and vetting process, it is concerning who is being released into the interior. The cartels are actively promoting the weak border policies through social media networks, and it is clear they have been, sadly, very successful in their mission.
Local law enforcement also faces significant challenges in dealing with the increase in drugs from cartel smuggling across the southwest border.
“When the number of people dying from drug poisonings is equivalent to a 737-airplane crashing each day, and the number of migrants that we are aware of coming across the border could fill the Caesars Superdome in New Orleans weekly, we have to sound the alarm,” said National Sheriffs’ Association President Greg Champagne, sheriff of St. Charles Parish, Louisiana.
“If a plane crashed daily, there would be immediate action taken, and yet instead of seeing numbers decrease, we continue to set records for those who are dying from illicit narcotics mostly originating from the drug cartels in Mexico,” he added.
The alliance is now calling for state and federal officials to enact “proper reforms” and are “demanding the rule of law in this country be followed and that all available sanctions and statutes be used to help alleviate the pressure the men and women of law enforcement are facing during this unprecedented period in our nation’s history.”
Indeed, Fox News reports that sources within U.S. Customs and Border Protection are saying encounters at the southwest border have hit a record-breaking 260,000 in September.
As September closes out the federal fiscal year, if CBP sources are correct, the total encounters in FY 2023 will exceed the previous record number of encounters in FY 2022 of 2.3 million.
A special legislative session is slated to begin October 9, with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to announce the agenda items before it begins. There is currently speculation as to whether addressing the border crisis will be included on the agenda.