Courage to Stand

The Border Situation in Laredo

It was 10:30 p.m. last Thursday night when I felt the urge to go. Tim and I had already settled in and watched a movie and it was about time to turn out the lights. 

“I think we need to be in Laredo tomorrow.”

It had already been a long week, but we felt led to go. We scanned the airlines and rental car situation, and decided the only option that fit our schedule was to drive, right then, which is how we found ourselves cruising down the highway at 2:30am looking for hotel rooms near New Braunfels.

I know the announcement has been made that Texas is open and Governor Abbott has brought us back to 100%, but in reality that’s not true. It is hard to find a hotel room, even in areas packed with hotels.  “We are sold out,” we hear over and over again when in reality the parking lot is a third full and it’s obvious there are vacant rooms. Hotels don’t have enough staff, they can’t clean the rooms, they have false occupancy limits, or any other number of excuses one can imagine.

We finally did find a room, and after a few hours sleep, drove the rest of the way to the border. This was a stark reminder to us that Texas, along with the rest of the nation is still suffering from unnecessary shutdowns and restrictions.

There was a rally scheduled on Friday, right along the river near the bridge where Interstate 35 ends at a border crossing. There were some booths and a stage set up, lots of flags flying, and it wasn’t too long before various speakers addressed the crowd of about 75 people.

One of the event organizers saw us and came over to speak with us, telling us about how they had gone out with border patrol the evening before and intercepted multiple groups of people trying to cross, saw dead bodies floating down the river, found a tree with bras and panties hanging from it indicating this was where the “coyotes” who transport people across the border gang raped some of their passengers, and a whole lot of other things that quite frankly should scare the daylights out of most of us.

The river was no more than 25 yards across, and not more than waist deep.  There were no walls, no fences, nothing keeping them from crossing except a couple border patrol agents patrolling with SUV’s and an airboat that buzzed up and down the river with two agents inside. Sometimes people would stroll out of the brush, wade into the water, then turn back when they saw border patrol coming.

There is absolutely nothing secure about our southern border.

Border agents are overwhelmed, by no fault of their own. Without a comprehensive plan to finish the wall or erect fencing, illegal border crossing will continue unabated.

So, what is the big deal if people want to come to the United States? Isn’t that what our country was founded on? We are the melting pot of immigrants from other countries seeking a better life, right?

The truth is, while some people are seeking to come to American for noble reasons, many are not. The majority of individuals crossing the border are doing so for nefarious purposes, including drugs, sex trafficked teens and children, weapons, and contraband.

For many people, the problem seems too distant or far away. It doesn’t affect us directly, so why does it matter? Border security matters because people matter. Every day, cartels take advantage of thousands of individuals who have deceived into thinking illegally entering our country is a good idea. Every day, cartels take advantage of us and our inaction.

Not everybody can just pack up and leave in the middle of the night, show up to events throughout the week, or go to Austin to testify on a bill. We’re blessed in that regard. But if we want things to improve, we all are going to have to start to find ways to incorporate those things in our routines.

Maybe it is taking time to make a few phone calls or send a few emails. Maybe we can find a way to get to Austin during session and speak at a hearing or visit our representative. That beautiful sunny Saturday afternoon? Maybe we use it to invest in our community or state’s future instead of going to the lake.

Our thoughts must translate into action, which is often the hardest part.

We used to be in that position. Tim and I had a really good life, and by just keeping our heads down and working hard. We didn’t really have to worry about too much. But that life is over. We have seen what is behind the curtain, exposed to how bad things can get when we leave responsibility for our local community and state to nameless bureaucrats.

That is why we went to Laredo. To observe, support, and report what is happening. But we need more to join in. One hundred people rallying on the river does not garner a lot of attention. One thousand would. Ten thousand would have set a ball rolling for immediate change.

If it’s change we seek, we must have the courage to stand up and demand it.

The border is a problem that needs to be addressed now. If you are in Texas, please call your state representative and senator and pressure them to take action. If you live outside Texas, call and write your U.S. Congressman and U.S. Senator and encourage them to address the border issue in Washington. And if you are really brave and have the means, take a trip to the border; what you see will forever change what you think.

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