By Pete Session
District 17 Representative
Last week, I joined Speaker Mike Johnson of Louisiana and a Congressional delegation in Eagle Pass to observe firsthand the crisis on our southern border. What we encountered was eye-opening and reinforces the need for immediate action by Congress and the Biden Administration.
Only a few weeks prior, the U.S.-Mexico border at Eagle Pass saw record levels of illegal immigration, severely challenging law enforcement. This most recent surge and others like it have stretched our Border Patrol very thin. In the Del Rio sector, all agents are concentrated in a mere four-mile stretch of the more than 200-mile border segment. This leaves vast areas unpatrolled, offering cartels free rein to traffic drugs, guns, and people across our border.
The degree of cartel manipulation is deeply concerning. These groups not only control much of the migration flow but also reap enormous profits from these illegal activities. Federal law enforcement estimates that operations in Eagle Pass generate approximately $130 million every two weeks. This immense sum highlights both the crisis’s magnitude and the cartels’ pervasive influence.
Our sheriffs and federal law enforcement officials continue to emphasize to my colleagues and me that the funding of large migrant processing centers on the border only exacerbates the crisis at our southern border. These centers ultimately draw in more individuals to undertake an illegal migration journey, thereby endangering their lives and our national security. They also draw in significant staff that should otherwise be deployed to protect other segments of the border.
House and Senate Republicans are attempting to resolve the border crisis, but it will require strengthening President Biden’s inadequate policies and implementing accountability to ensure that the Department of Homeland Security follows its statutory obligation to protect our border. The President’s current approach has effectively surrendered operational control of the border to Mexico and the drug cartels.
I, along with my Republican colleagues, believe Congress must enact substantial border policy reforms to efficiently allocate resources, curb the massive influx of migrants, and safeguard our border patrol personnel. Should this crisis persist unchecked, we risk admitting millions more illegal migrants this year, a scenario our nation cannot sustain.
My Republican colleagues and I are committed to engaging with the Biden Administration to improve border protection policies and operations. Either way, we must hold a hard line and pass decisive changes that will secure our border. The safety and security of our nation are at stake.
Pete Session represents District 17, which includes Trinity County, in the Texas Legislature.