CONG. EZELL: Here's How Biden's Border Crisis Affects Nation’s Law Enforcement – and 1st Responders

One County recorded 759 phone calls to 911 last year from Illegal Aliens in the desert asking for assistance
By Cong. Mike Ezell

The crisis caused by the Biden administration’s reckless, open-border policies has burdened Americans across this country, no matter how far from the border they live. Every state has now become a border state. From Yuma County, Arizona to Jackson County, Mississippi and all the way to New York City, the costs of this disaster come in many forms. 

With more than 40 years of law enforcement experience under my belt, I know this crisis does not just affect a community—it affects the dedicated men and women tasked with defending it. 

The unprecedented flood of more than six million illegal aliens across the Southwest border since Joe Biden and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas took office has stretched many law enforcement agencies to their breaking points. The never-ending chaos makes it harder for them to successfully protect and serve at a time when many police and sheriffs’ departments are already facing a retention crisis. 

During my eight years as sheriff of Jackson County, I saw the physical, emotional, and psychological toll that this career can take on individual officers. Those difficulties are magnified when local law enforcement is forced to bear the costs of a national crisis. Instead of focusing on their communities, officers find themselves forced to spend valuable time and resources dealing with the ripple effects of the open border.
The Biden-Mayorkas strategy isn’t working, and it’s undermining the morale and the homeland security mission of law enforcement across the country.

Customs & Border Protection (CBP) continues to encounter alien criminals who have been previously convicted of crimes like sexual assault, theft, and murder. Just a few days ago, Border Patrol Chief Jason Owens said his agents have been arresting an average of 47 aliens with “serious criminal histories” per day this year.

Local law enforcement is seeing the same, too. And every one of these crimes and arrests, as well as the resulting jail time, falls on taxpayers.

For example, Yuma County spent $1.3 million on detaining illegal aliens last fiscal year according to testimony by Supervisor Jonathan Lines in front of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Lines also told our Committee that the county continues to see additional law enforcement costs as first responders are stretched thin responding to calls involving the border crisis while simultaneously responding to calls within the community.

In Cochise County, another Arizona border county, the state has allocated more than  $12 million to the Sheriff's Department to deal with crimes connected to the border crisis. In 2022, booking costs alone totaled over $4.3 million for 1,578 suspects.

Counties all over Texas are facing immense financial pressure from this administration’s open-border policies as well.
  • In Brooks County, law enforcement has been forced to spend well over a million dollars on migrant-related crimes and deaths.
  • In Tarrant County, taxpayers foot the bill of over $3.6 million to detain and hold nearly 250 illegal immigrants throughout the year.
  • Another county’s employees had to take pay cuts to afford burials and cremations for illegal aliens found dead in their jurisdiction.
  • Even McMullen County, with a population of just 600, spends half a million dollars every year dealing with crimes committed by illegal aliens.
The inability of the federal government to detain these criminal aliens means that American communities are suffering.

These costs aren’t limited to states along the Southwest border. In my home state of Mississippi, just north of the Congressional District I represent, three illegal immigrants from Honduras escaped an ICE vehicle and were pursued through the night by local law enforcement; this pursuit lasted 15 hours. The cost and diversion of manpower, coupled with the cost of booking these men, could have been avoided had this administration’s policies not incentivized illegal immigrants to cross our border.

And in New York City, over 1,600 miles away from the Southwest border, police and firefighters could see their overtime pay taken away and instead spent on housing expenses for illegal aliens. The city has proposed a 5% spending cut to cover rising immigration-related costs, and in recent testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security, Joseph Borelli, minority leader of the New York City Council, said that overtime would be “the first to go.”

Why should our first responders be paid less because President Biden and Secretary Mayorkas refuse to secure our border?

Law enforcement and firefighters aren’t the only first responders affected by this crisis. Dispatchers and EMTs have had their resources stretched thin as well. Dustin Caudle, deputy chief patrol agent in the Border Patrol’s Yuma Sector, recently told our Committee that illegal aliens sometimes call 911 not due to any emergency, but because they are “frustrated that we aren’t picking them up and transporting them fast enough and…because they’re ready to go.”

Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot told the House Judiciary Committee this year that the county had recorded 759 phone calls to 911 from illegal aliens in the desert asking for assistance. Each illegal alien call dispatchers take could result in an American abandoned in a time of need.

We may never fully know the impact of this crisis on the men and women who serve our communities as law enforcement and first responders, but we can see its evidence in South Mississippi and in communities across the country.

As the disaster continues, families could face roadblocks in accessing emergency services, such as longer wait times for police or paramedic response. The cost to the American people has been very real – and we see it every day.

America cannot sustain this ongoing crisis. As long as illegal immigration is encouraged by this administration, the men and women on our communities’ front lines will be forced to bear the cost.

It is past time to prioritize border security so that our nation’s law enforcement and first responders can best serve their local communities.

Congressman Mike Ezell, prior to helping tackle the biggest challenges facing our nation from Washington, D.C., was a career Law Enforcement Officer who most recently served as Sheriff of Jackson County. He represents the people of South Mississippi's 4th Congressional District.

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