Border crisis outrages Pfluger, Landgraf

Representatives say President Biden’s weakness is to blame

Congressman August Pfluger, far right, and State Rep. Brooks Landgraf, center, are briefed by members of the border patrol during a fact-finding trip to the border on Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022. They were joined at the border by Ector County Sheriff Mike Griffis. (Courtesy Photo)

When President Joe Biden took office in January 2021, the perception that he would be weak on illegal immigration triggered a southern border crisis that the U.S. Border Patrol, Texas Highway Patrol, Texas National Guard and other groups have struggled to cope with.

Over 7.5 million people from Mexico, Central and South America, the Mideast, China and other nations have since then barged into the United States and been released here pending the adjudications of their applications for asylum after an average of six years each.

Congressman August Pfluger, who represents the Permian Basin in Washington, D.C., and State Rep. Brooks Landgraf of Odessa say the vexatious results should be laid on the front steps of the White House.

“President Biden’s willful refusal to enforce our nation’s border security laws have ignited the worst border crisis in history,” Pfluger said. “Mass human trafficking is not only dangerous for those being trafficked but is harming American citizens including families in our 11th District like the Tambungas, whose grandmother and 7-year-old daughter were killed in a car crash by a human trafficker smuggling 11 illegal aliens.”

He referred to the deaths of 71-year-old Maria Alvarez Tambunga and her granddaughter Emilia, who were on their way to get ice cream in Ozona 135 miles southeast of Odessa when Rassian Comer of Louisiana slammed into them as he was being chased by officers for smuggling 11 illegal immigrants in a rented pick-up truck on March 13, 2023.

“The U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 2, the strongest border security bill in decades, but the Democrat-controlled Senate refused to take it up,” Pfluger said. “The president of the United States must have the political will to enforce the laws already on the books and shut down illegal crossings.

“One of the pull factors causing the skyrocketing number of illegal aliens crossing into the United States from every country around the world is President Biden’s refusal to enforce strong border security laws.”

Landgraf, who represents the 81st District, said Biden’s “blatant disregard for established immigration laws and his dereliction of duty have sparked a crisis of unparalleled proportions and plunged our border regions into chaos.

“The administration’s negligence has emboldened cartels to exploit our southern border, facilitating the illicit trafficking of drugs, weapons and human beings and directly imperiling the safety and well-being of our communities,” he said.

Landgraf said the Texas Legislature took decisive action last year to fortify the border laws and infrastructure.

“As your state representative I proudly championed legislation that allocated $6.6 billion for border security measures, advanced the construction of physical barriers, criminalized illegal entry and re-entry into Texas and empowered our courts to enforce deportation to the countries of origin,” he said.

“In addition to these measures Operation Lone Star, spearheaded by Gov. Abbott in 2021, has produced remarkable outcomes. Since its inception this coordinated endeavor has resulted in over 506,500 illegal immigrants’ apprehensions and more than 41,200 criminal arrests encompassing over 36,700 felony charges.”

Landgraf said Texas law enforcement’s commitment to combating the related fentanyl crisis has led to the confiscation of over 471 million lethal doses of fentanyl.

“It’s time for the Biden administration to wake up to the reality of the crisis at our border and take meaningful action to address it,” he said. “Until then, Texas will continue to lead the charge in protecting our state and its citizens.”