As the crisis at the southern border continues, rural Texas is allegedly being settled by unlawful migrants through a system backed by drug cartels, leading to an increase in criminal activity.
Nestled in a previously undeveloped area of Liberty County, northeast of Houston, the Colony Ridge development represents the largest “colonia” in the United States, home to anywhere from 50,000 to 75,000 unlawful migrants.
Todd Bensman, the senior national security fellow for the Center for Immigration Studies, has been documenting the colonia and highlighting the scope of the issue.
“A vast jumble of single- and double-wide trailers on low stilts, hand-hewn shacks made of leftover construction material, and parked motor homes has quickly overtaken tens of thousands of Liberty County acres and eradicated its rural way of life,” Bensman wrote.
“Upwards of 50,000 mostly Spanish-speaking Latinos, maybe more — nobody knows, really — are living on some 30,000 homestead lots they purchased in recent years over some 35 square miles from ‘Houston Terrenos,'” Bensman continued.
In recent testimony before the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, Bensman claimed that the crime wave followed the mass migration.
“Legacy residents are increasingly alarmed by criminal atrocities never seen before,” Bensman alleged.
Pointing to an incident that occurred in April, he told the representatives about how “a five-time deported Mexican national who owned a home in neighboring San Jacinto County allegedly murdered five members of a Honduran family that lived next door after they complained that his firing of a semi-automatic assault-style rifle at 11 p.m. was keeping the baby awake.”
The incident in question was covered at the time by The Dallas Express.
The man allegedly “killed mothers and children, two of whom miraculously survived the massacre under the bodies of their parents who died shielding them.”
“That one made national news but many other atrocities and evidence of Mexican cartel operations in the area did not. … Drive-by shootings, stealing, and drug trafficking are rampant, victimizing mostly the new community,” Bensman claimed to the committee.
Bensman testified that the Gulf and Sinaloa Cartels invested resources into the Colony Ridge development early on, financing safe houses used to smuggle drugs and people into the interior of the United States.
“Liberty County reflects a microcosm of what unnecessary crime can look like anywhere large numbers of foreign nationals who are only thinly vetted settle,” Bensman added.
Despite objections from border security advocates such as Bensman, the Biden administration argues that its border policies have been effective in reducing the number of unlawful crossings.
In a statement released in June, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) claimed, “As a result of planning and execution — which combined stiffer consequences for unlawful entry with a historic expansion of lawful pathways and processes — unlawful entries between ports of entry along the Southwest Border have decreased by more than 70 percent since May 11. … The Administration’s plan is working as intended.”
Meanwhile, Gov. Greg Abbott’s efforts to address the border crisis through Operation Lone Star have been attacked by pro-migration critics.
Texas Sen. Roland Gutierrez (D-San Antonio) recently sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland demanding an investigation into the border security measures taken by Texas.
“Since he launched Operation Lone Star more than two years ago, Gov. Abbott has taken drastic measures to curb illegal immigration. … What began as a farce has now turned into violent, horrifying injuries and death,” Gutierrez claimed.