Hagerty Discusses Border Crisis and Its Effects After Traveling to South Texas With Tennessee Sheriffs and Mayors

February 21, 2024

Border crossings are at a record-high, including gotaways, foreign nationals, and members of the terrorist watch list

NASHVILLE, TN—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), along with Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy, Hamilton County Sheriff Austin Garrett, Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs, Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby, and 12th Judicial District Attorney General Courtney Lynch, today discussed their recent trip to the southern border to see the crisis precipitated by President Biden and his Administration firsthand and learn about its impacts on Tennessee.

Since President Biden took office, more than eight million people have illegally crossed the southern border, border-fueled drug and human trafficking are tragically impacting American communities, and drug overdoses are at an all-time high, with more than 100,000 Americans dying every year, most from fentanyl coming across the border.

Partial Transcript:

Senator Hagerty: “We just returned last night from a trip to our southern border. We were in the Del Rio sector at the Eagle Pass.

“I think many people here in Tennessee have seen Eagle Pass, who’ve seen thousands of immigrants underneath that bridge and in that hole, that area is now being cleaned up because Governor [Greg] Abbott, the Governor of the state of Texas, has been able to take control of that region and actually implement the law and arrest people that are trespassing there.

“I was fortunate to be accompanied by Tennessee Sheriffs and Mayors and district attorneys, law enforcement authorities that have seen the effects of what’s happening at that southern border right here in our own communities. You think about the fentanyl overdoses, the increasing crime, the taxing that it’s put on our schools or hospitals, our law enforcement agencies, we’re feeling it right here in Tennessee, and it has been said so often [that] every state is a border state.

“But what we saw down there was a very, very different situation, a humanitarian crisis beyond anything that we have seen. We spent time out with a rancher who lives between the Rio Grande River and the rail line that these illegal immigrants used to come into the interior of our country. The people that he sees are quite different from the ones that present themselves at the border to border patrol. Those people are granted asylum; they’re given an airplane ticket and a white glove treatment to come to the interior of the United States. The people that use the other means to get in, that come across the river, that cut this rancher’s fence, they’ve cut it so badly that he hasn’t been able to run cattle for three years; he’s lost his livelihood.

“These people are bad people. They’re going to turn up on terrorist watch lists. They don’t want to be turned into the border patrol; they want to come in here unseen and unknown. They’re going to make their own way. He showed us an outpost, had a blue light on it, a comfort station, he called it. What that comfort station has is a charging post, so that these illegals can come and charge their phones up. They’ve got water for them there and snacks. Why do they need to charge their phones? He explained this to us: their cell phones are what they use working with the coyotes and the cartels. They use pin drops to navigate their way into the interior of the United States once they’ve broken into our country.

“So, they come and cut his fence. They’ve destroyed his fencing; they’ve destroyed his livelihood. They’ve come into his house; he told us about a story where he had 20 males, all adults, military age males, said his wife woke him up, she said, ‘somebody’s in our kitchen.’ He walked in there, they’d ransacked his refrigerator. He asked them to leave. They wouldn’t, he cocked his pistol. They finally went out the door, but they went to his barn and wouldn’t leave his property. He called the authorities. They didn’t get there.

“He found 15 Syrians on his property at one point. What are people from Syria doing there? They certainly are coming through the normal border channels. They invaded his property. They’re invading our nation. Hearing the stories about what happens to young girls, the human trafficking that’s going on that he’s seen and witnessed firsthand is just astonishing.

“And if you think about what’s happening here in America right now, the deaths by fentanyl overdose are increasing every month. Our jails [are] full of people that are involved in drug trafficking, and I’m sure my colleagues will let you know it’s impacting every one of their jurisdictions.”