Counting the Cost: A Year in Review of the Border Crisis
How many Texas metroplex areas are tied to a Rural West TX town; and not in a good way...
By: Sheena Rodriguez | January 9, 2023
At the beginning of the New Year, the Sheriff of a rural southwestern Texas county finalized data reflecting the detrimental impact inflicted on Kinney County by Biden’s Border Crisis.
Across the five sectors operating in Texas, there have already been more than 266,000 encounters by Customs and Border Protection (CBP), barely 3 months into Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. Kinney County is located within the Del Rio CBP Sector, which, so far in FY23, has seen over 90k apprehensions, coming in 2nd only to the currently overrun El Paso CBP Sector.
Kinney County, located about 150 miles west of San Antonio, with a small population of about 3,100 residents, encompasses roughly 16 miles of the Texas/Mexico border. Despite Kinney County’s tiny fraction of directly shared mileage of the approximately 1,254 miles of the Texas/Mexico border, the data illustrates the overwhelming thrashing the county is forced to combat.
For example, according to data provided by Sheriff Brad Coe, Kinney County experienced a 56% increase in bailouts in 2022 compared to 2021. The term “bailout” describes when a human smuggler/coyote, typically with a loaded vehicle of illegal aliens, attempts to evade police pursuits. During a bailout pursuit, the smuggler will often intentionally crash into a ditch or abruptly stop, with unlawful aliens quickly disbursing into various directions, increasing the likelihood of successfully evading police.
Many bailouts lead to deadly crashes, chaos, and costly destruction, directly impacting the local communities' daily lives. For example, in the City of Uvalde, in 2021, more than 48 bailouts near schools resulted in lockdowns. Thankfully, the Sheriff Deputies assigned near the Brackett ISD campuses have successfully diverted bailout pursuits away from the schools.
Recently, on Christmas Eve, in the county’s most populated city and county seat, Brackettville, a bailout led to the lockdown of historical Fort Clark Springs. According to the TX Department of Public Safety (DPS) and county officials, runners from the bailout were considered armed and dangerous after reports of shots fired at DPS officers. Unfortunately, the men were not caught.
Another critical illustration of the impact of the border crisis on the county is the number of illegally trespassing migrants picked up on the cameras placed by Operation Drawbridge. More than 21,400 individuals were counted, actively attempting to evade detection through the rough and remote county terrain in 2022. According to Sheriff Coe, more than 21,100 illegal migrants calculated on the cameras were counted as “gotaways,” meaning the individuals were not found and have likely disappeared into the country without apprehension or further detection. That is more than 7x’s the entire Kinney County population of known gotaways from just this one border county in 2022.
Kinney County officials have been at the forefront of battling the negative consequences of the border crisis since the Biden Administration assumed office. Utilizing authority granted by Operation Lonestar (OLS), Kinney County has led the efforts to prosecute trespassers on private land. As such, the county had an 1124% increase in illegal aliens arrested during 2022 compared to 2021.
Additionally, the county saw a 169% increase in smuggling arrests. Of the smugglers detained in 2022, 218 were females (a 29% increase from 2021), and 12 were juveniles. The spike in women and minor smugglers alludes to strategic tactics by cartel organizations that exploit deficiencies in OLS and Texas resources, as proper holding facilities for females and juveniles are sorely needed in the state.
What cities were the smugglers arrested in Kinney County from in 2022? See breakdown provided by Sheriff Coe: Local - 15 San Antonio- 164 Austin/Waco – 53 DFW – 89 Houston – 225 Other - 81
Just another example of how every town continues to be a border town, including the DFW area. Social media is a key marketing tool for criminal cartel organizations operating in Texas and the U.S., targeting Texans and U.S. citizens and incentivizing criminal opportunities to make “easy and quick” money running illegal aliens further inland. As the border crisis continues to become increasingly violent, in conjunction with the increase in smuggling operations, Kinney County seized 89 firearms in 2022, a 29% increase from the previous year.
Sheriff Coe mentioned a few points when asked what has been effectively aiding Kinney County during the last two years. First, the effectiveness of deployed brush teams. Part of Operation Lonestar’s efforts is the strategic placement of combined DPS and Texas Military elite brush teams that utilize military-like tactics to apprehend illegal aliens attempting to circumvent law enforcement. When the brush teams were deployed in the county in 2022, forces aided in the arrests of 120 individuals. However, teams have been reassigned to neighboring counties and the Rio Grande Valley area.
The second effective measure includes the tremendous help the county has received from Galveston County Sheriff’s Office. At any given time, prior to assistance from Galveston, Coe stated he typically has 2 deputies to cover the entire rural county. Since August 2021, Galveston County has sent rotating deputies to Kinney County. In 2022, Galveston Deputies raked in 142 arrests, providing much-needed help to Kinney County Sheriff’s small and strapped forces. Thankful for the assistance, local residents have opened their homes to outside county deputies. Additional help from other county sheriff’s offices willing to aid would prove beneficial as relief from the border crisis is very likely years away.
With finite state resources, as Texas legislators gear up for the start of the 88th session, those are two areas that Secure the Border & Alliance for a Safe Texas will be advocating the expansion of in addition to similar task forces and proper holding facilities for criminal female and juvenile smugglers.
Unfortunately, despite Biden’s shamefully manufactured first visit to El Paso, this border crisis will continue to unleash unprecedented and existential negative consequences on Texas and the U.S. The impact on a singular west TX county with only 16 miles of Texas/Mexico border is an example of the more considerable repercussions felt throughout Texas.