County judge meets with Abbott to discuss border crisis

PRESIDIO – County Judge Cinderela Guevara will head to Del Rio today to take part in a “Border Security Summit” hosted by Texas Governor Greg Abbott. In the letter Guevara received on June 1, Abbott wrote, “You will hear from state officials on the actions that the State of Texas is taking to secure our southern border and combat the ongoing humanitarian crisis.” Guevara said that she expects most of the county judges on the border to be in attendance.

“Due to the open-border policies of President Joe Biden, Texas is experiencing an influx of people and contraband –– including weapons and dangerous drugs like fentanyl –– moving into our state,” Abbott continued in the letter. “For months, the Biden Administration has continued to turn a blind eye to this crisis, and so the State of Texas has stepped up in the federal government’s absence.”

In last week’s meeting, the commissioners court passed an item to sign a local disaster declaration as Presidio County “is under imminent threat of disaster from the human trafficking occurring on our border with Mexico.”

At that meeting, Guevara said that she hasn’t heard too many complaints from ranchers inside the county, but it’s a different story in neighboring ones. “All around us they are catching a lot of illegal aliens, and these are not people trying to come here for asylum, for the most part. They feel like they are dangerous criminals,” she said.

Guevara decided to attend the meeting, as she wants to stay informed on the matter. She said, “Right now, things aren’t bad for Presidio County as far as the influx, but what if that changes in a month or two?”

Guevara noted that while the county isn’t experiencing as much foot traffic in the area, there has been a big jump recently in the number of potentially dangerous car pursuits involving undocumented immigrants.

She brought up the high speed chase that ripped through the middle of town two weeks ago. The chase began east of Marfa on Highway 90 after a GMC Sierra failed to stop for a Texas Department of Public Safety highway trooper trying to pull the vehicle over, according to the sheriff’s office.

Marfa resident Aileen Acosta witnessed the chase as she was driving her niece home on San Antonio Street. “As I pulled over to my right I saw the truck passing like fast with the state trooper right behind him. I looked back and [the fleeing truck] just flies through the four-way stop toward Alpine,” she said. “I remember thinking, ‘Oh my goodness I hope nobody gets hurt.”

In his letter to Guevara, Abbott wrote, “This summit will also focus on collaborative strategies between the state government, local city and county law enforcement officials, and landowners to secure our border communities and ensure a safer future for all Texans.”

According to Guevara, Abbott is pushing to have law enforcement arrest undocumented immigrants for charges related to trespassing. Right now, law enforcement officers do apprehend undocumented immigrants, but they hand them over to Border Patrol agents for processing.

“What if arrests can be made? So now I have to be concerned because those arrests are going to be costs for us. It’s going to be feeding a person three meals a day, their medical bills, we’re going to have to take care of them.”

Guevara said she doesn’t know what the solution to the migrant crisis is. “I just know that the Biden Administration has had 100 days in office and they haven’t visited the border yet,” Guevara said. “I think it’s inevitable we’re going to have a problem, and my main concern is public safety.”