The real cost of border security

(Journal stock photo.)

Texas & Southwester Cattle Raisers Association members living along the Texas-Mexico border and in south Texas are on the front lines of a dangerous and costly battle against increasingly brazen illegal border crossers.

Hardworking ranchers, landowners and their families experience this crisis every day. For them, it’s far more than a political controversy on the nightly news and far simpler than the national security concerns raised by analysts.

It’s their person safety, security, and livelihood. It’s the first thing they worry about when they wake up and the last thing they think about at night.

It is incredibly sad and unfortunate that our federal government—the entity in charge of maintaining secure international borders—has failed so dramatically in its duty to the American taxpayer. Unwilling or unable to do its job, the responsibility and costs have fallen to state and local governments, private organizations, and individual landowners.

As a result, TSCRA members regularly come forward with personal accounts of burglarized buildings, stolen property, damaged infrastructure, and even armed intimidation.

The cost to fix their fences and deal with other damages also add up. Not to mention the added burdens and stretched budgets communities incur from increased local law enforcement needs and the influx of migrants utilizing public services in rural Texas.

The emotional costs also continue to mount.

These are the men and women who make it possible for the American public to order a hamburger at a drive-through or grill a steak on their back porch. Yet, they must constantly worry about themselves or their kids running into armed trespassers on their own property.

We are incredibly grateful for our law enforcement offices and cannot say enough good things about their work. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, so long as Congress fails to act and the Biden administration refuses to acknowledge the crisis, cattle raisers and landowners will continue to suffer.

At TSCRA, we are committed to calling attention to the plight of these families. Lawmakers on every level of government and the public need to know what they’re experiencing. We hope this awareness and the strain on our food supply will spur action, especially in Washington, D.C.

To help facilitate this, I am proud to announce TSCRA recently formed our own border security task force. The group consists of impacted members from across south Texas, staff, and selected association special rangers.

The task force will rely on the extensive experience of these individuals to identify areas of concern and develop creative solutions to mitigate impacts of illegal immigration. The group will guide association efforts on border security and serve as a resource for policy makers, law enforcement, and impacted landowners as we work together to end this border crisis.

As chairman of the TSCRA border security task force, I am proud to take on this challenge and optimistic we can improve the lives of cattle raisers and landowners impacted by this terrible crisis.

—Stephen Diebel is second vice president of TSCRA.