A Texas sheriff gave the U.S. Congress an insight into the ongoing illegal immigration crisis at Texas’ southern border.
Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe told U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security members that his deputies apprehended 741 human smugglers in 2022 and filed more than 3,000 felony cases against smugglers, according to Fox News.
“That’s a huge increase from calendar year 2021 when we apprehended 169 human smugglers,” said Coe, per Fox News, during the March 15 hearing in Pharr on border security. “We are currently on track right now to exceed 900 smugglers for the year.”
Coe has made it his mission to bring national awareness to the border crisis. Currently, he said per CBS, just six full-time deputies patrol the area in his rural south Texas county, which encompasses around 15,000 square miles.
In an interview with CBS, Coe said that cartels offer hefty sums to those willing to transport unlawful migrants from the border to major cities in the northern U.S.
It is not just Mexican nationals crossing into the U.S.
Lt. Chris Olivarez of the Texas Department of Public Safety told Fox News that there is a rise in Chinese nationals looking to cross the border. Olivarez estimated that smuggling organizations charge between $35,000-50,000 per person for Chinese nationals, who are viewed as a “valuable commodity” because of the fees, he told Fox News in an interview.
The Kinney County Sheriff’s Office Facebook page has near-daily posts of people apprehended for human smuggling.
One post on Monday shows a driver arrested after being caught with two Honduran nationals in his car.
The day after Coe’s testimony, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers pulled over a rental van heading for Uvalde with 15 unlawful migrants in the back.
On Monday, authorities pulled over a man whose license plate light was out and found six unlawful migrants—four of whom escaped custody—in his pickup truck. He’d been released from jail just four days prior.
Later that night, an Austin resident was caught smuggling two unlawful migrants, one of which was a minor.
We caught a man smuggling people and now he is out of jail. Didn’t the Governor appoint a Border ZAR. Did he have $50,000 in cash as a get out of jail card, pitiful!