BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño, Jr., chairman of the Texas Border Coalition (TBC), today issued the following statement in response to President Trump’s plan to deploy an additional 600 U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers to the Texas border amid the COVID-19 pandemic:
“TBC has long advocated for additional CBP officers at the land ports of entry to facilitate legitimate trade and travel and stem the flow of human trafficking and contraband; however, the recent announcement of a temporary surge of 600 CBP officers to the Rio Grande Valley and Laredo sectors raises serious concerns about their purpose and the intentions of the Administration in sending them here, at this time.
“This surge will be more taxpayer money wasted on border security theatre if it does not facilitate legitimate international trade and travel. The increased staffing does no good for border communities if the number of operating lanes are reduced during peak hours, driving up wait times and further preventing international travelers that border communities rely on.
“What are these 600 CBP agents going to be doing if crossing lanes continue to be reduced? Immigration is sharply down compared to the last few years, as is the number of immigrants and asylum seekers in federal custody. The surge should not suppress legitimate trade and travel, nor intimidate U.S. citizens, legal residents, and international travelers. It should reduce wait times at our land ports, enabling more lanes to be open and relieving other CBP officers where manpower has been stretched thin due to the pandemic.
“If the administration really wants to help, it would redirect security and humanitarian resources to the border region permanently, not just for a few weeks during election season. In addition to well-functioning, fully staffed land ports, border communities need additional emergency management resources, COVID-19 testing capabilities and medical supplies and personnel both for our federal agents and our border communities.”