As a member of the House Committee on International Relations, Terrorism and Nonproliferation Subcommittee, Congressman Ted Poe (TX-02) participated in field hearings held in San Diego, California, and Laredo, Texas, last week. These hearings are a result of recent requests by Congressman Poe and other Members of Congress to give the Committee a first-hand account of illegal immigration along our southern borders.

The phrase it gets western after dark best describes the situation on the Texas-Mexico border, said Poe. I have been to Laredo and heard the gunfire that erupts at night across the border in Mexico and the dangers that Americans along our borders and beyond face due to the lack of border security. These hearings gave the local people that deal with the day-to-day dangers flooding our country the opportunity to directly address Members of Congress. said Poe. The common consensus from both hearings is the federal government is not doing their job, and our country is at risk.

In both hearings, witnesses expressed their concern over the threat of terrorism and the intertwined association with the drug cartels that control all the drug and human trafficking across the southern border. Testimony proved that terrorist cells are forming south of the border and waiting in the wings to take advantage of our wide open borders, said Poe. Zapata County Sheriff Sigi Gonzales told of intelligence gathered that suggests terrorist cells are in Mexico, learning the Spanish language and assimilating into their culture to easily pass into the United States. Webb County Sheriff Rick Flores supported this information and urged that our lack of border enforcement is a serious threat to our security.

Prior to the hearings, Congressman Poe has twice traveled to the Texas-Mexico border to meet with local law enforcement and residents to discuss issues of illegal immigration and the threat of terrorism. These hearings provided an opportunity for designated local leaders, law enforcement and individuals to address Members of Congress in their respective areas giving them a local account of the situation in their border cities. This is not a partisan issue, it is an American issue and it is time to put an end to the illegal intrusion of over 5000 people a day coming into our country, regardless of their intentions, said Poe. Illegal is illegal.

Congressman Poe serves on the International Relations Committee, Terrorism and Non Proliferation Subcommittee and Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus.