Conexión Del Río newsroom
County and city officials from the Texas-Mexico border asked Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas to stop the illegal crossing of immigrants during a meeting held Aug. 12 in McAllen, Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens said.
Owens said in a video posted to his Facebook page that he, along with other area public officials such as the Webb County judge and the mayor of the city of Laredo attended the meeting with Mayorkas in the Rio Grande Valley.
“I was asked to go first by Secretary Mayorkas, and as you all know I have a tendency to cuss, so he basically opened up that I could speak freely and he spoke my language, so we did, and so did a couple of other individuals,” Owens said.
Owens said the meeting was not disrespectful but “coming away from that meeting, he (Mayorkas) received an earful from everybody down there.”
Owens said public officials from South Central Texas coincided in their opinion that the flow of immigrants needs to stop, not only slow down.
“Letting them cross is not going to work, and it is just not sustainable, when you have down in the Valley underneath one of the bridges 9-10,000 and here we have 1,000 on any given night it is unsustainable and we should not be dealing with it,” Owens said.
“After I left that meeting and listening to Secretary Mayorkas I think he agreed for the most part on the problem … we all agree that we need to stop the flow, there was a little bit of hope when we left, and I really appreciate him coming and visiting with us,” he said.
“Everybody in that room agreed that what is going on right now needs to stop, there was no discussion, no Republican or Democrat and it was really impressive,” he said.
The Val Verde County judge also said that some of the actions to deter illegal immigration include sending immigrants back to their point of origin, instead of deporting them to Mexico.
“Some of the flights that are leaving Laughlin, are going back to point of origin, and I think this will be a deterrent to individuals that are making these trips,” he said,
Owens also said that immigrants whose countries of origin are not allowing the return of individuals, are being sent to deeper parts of Mexico.
The county judge also praised the work of Val Verde Humanitarian Coalition, a non government organization helping immigrants released by the Border Patrol. The coalition provides logistics to individuals further traveling into the U.S. after they were released by the Border Patrol.
Owens said in June the organization helped 1,664 individuals, 1,741 in July, and 2,003 during the first 15 days of August.
“Without the NGO we would have these individuals in our county, and the two little buses from Greyhound they would not be able to get them out, so we need our NGO, we need the people out there working, we need the volunteers, and without them we would be swamped,” Owens said.
Val Verde County Judge Lewis Owens attending a meeting with Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas held Aug. 12 in McAllen, Texas.