Madam Speaker, I bring you news from the second front. The second front, of course, is the border we have, the southern border, where there is a war going on. It's a border war between the United States and those people who wish to enter the United States illegally.
During my travels to the Texas/Mexico border and, really, the southern border with Mexico, I've traveled all the way from San Diego to Brownsville, Texas meeting with the various law enforcement officers. Of course I've met with the Border Patrol, but more recently I've met with the sheriffs along the Texas/Mexico border.
Let me make it clear. The Border Patrol does as good a job as we will let them do. They patrol the first 25 miles inland into the United States. But that's all they patrol. And if an illegal individual, no matter who they are, comes into the United States and gets past that 25-mile marker, it's up to somebody else to patrol that area. And much of that time it's left up to the sheriffs throughout the States of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California.
The sheriffs patrol the entire county. And let me give you an example. When a crime is committed in a county, a person calls 911, and 911 transfers them to the Sheriff's Department, not to the Border Patrol, because it's not important at the time where that crime or where that criminal came from.
And many times those criminals are cross-border criminals. They come into the United States from all over the world to commit crimes and then flee back across the southern border. And it's up to the sheriffs to protect the citizens of those counties.
Just to give you an example of a couple of counties, I've visited with Sheriff Arvin West of Hudspeth County. That's way over here in West Texas. That's a county that's the size of Delaware. And Sheriff West, like most of the 16 border sheriffs along the Texas/Mexico border, they look like sheriffs from Texas, they act like sheriffs from Texas. But, to a person, they are relentless in protecting their communities from criminal conduct.
And much of that conduct is the result of the failure of the United States of America to protect the border from people coming into the United States without permission. It is the duty, the first duty of government, to protect us from invasion by any source and by any means, and that includes anyone that comes into this country without permission.
Most recently, I've gone all the way to the other end of Texas, down to Cameron County, Texas where Brownsville is. It's a unique county because most of that county borders water, either the Rio Grande River or the Gulf of Mexico. And I've watched, and I went down with Sheriff Omar Lucio and some of his deputies who also are a relentless bunch of Texas deputy sheriffs trying to protect the border.
He, like Arvin West on the other side don't have a big budget for vehicles. So the way they get vehicles, Madam Speaker, is they have to confiscate the drug dealers' vehicles, those SUVs. And then once those are confiscated, they use those because they don't have enough money to fund their own transportation on the border.
As Sheriff Lucio said, the drug dealers, the drug cartels outman them, they outspend them, and they outgun them. That's because they have more money than we have on this side of the border.
And to give you an example of how the drug cartels work, and how it is very difficult for the sheriffs and the Border Patrol to stop the invasion of the drugs, down here on the Texas/Mexico border, the Rio Grande River is about as wide as this House of Representatives. And planes fly in from Mexico. They fly out into the Gulf of Mexico, come straight in across the Gulf of Mexico and the border of the United States, and they drop their cocaine, marijuana, and then other drug mules pick that up and move that throughout the United States on these interstates that are depicted on this map.
So it's important that we give the border sheriffs the resources that they need. And part of that can come from the Merida Initiative. The administration has offered and is promoting the idea of sending $1.4 billion in equipment and training to the other side of the border, to the Mexican side to fight the drug cartels.
Good intentioned, but in all due fairness, the history of Mexico along the border is not good. There is corruption, and many of the military and the police have started working with the drug cartels, some of whom have been trained in the United States have gone over to the other side. Maybe that money would be better spent if we left it on our side of the border and gave that money to the sheriffs to patrol this entire area.
We should give the sheriffs surplus military vehicles that have come back from Iraq and let them patrol all this area, because you cannot patrol this part of Texas with a Prius. We have to use some type of SUV or pickup truck. And it's important that we do this. The number one duty of government is public safety.
Madam Speaker, June 6, 1944, the anniversary is tomorrow. We sent thousands of Americans over the lands and over the seas to protect the borders of countries that had been invaded. France, Belgium, Czechoslovakia and other nations, and it's the duty of our country to protect us from the invasion coming south of the border.
We should send the military to the southern portion of our border and have the moral will to stop the invasion into the United States.
And that's just the way it is.
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