Border towns react to possible troop deployment

As President Trump considers deploying ...

Posted: Apr 7, 2018 1:57 PM
Updated: Apr 7, 2018 1:57 PM

As President Trump considers deploying between 2,000 and 4,000 National Guard troops to the US-Mexican border, residents and law enforcement officials in border towns say they have mixed feelings about the news.

While some welcome the support from the federal government, others feel it'd be a waste of resources.

Here's what some of them told CNN.

'It's not going to change anything'

Each night, citizen journalist Priscilla Villarreal takes to the streets of Laredo, Texas, to livestream footage of car accidents and crime scenes over Facebook for her audience.

As a woman who's familiar with her community -- and the dark underbelly that sometimes rears its head in the late hours -- she's confident sending more troops to the border is futile.

"In all honesty, I don't think sending extra security to our borders is going to solve anything," Villarreal, also known as a 'LaGordiloca,' told CNN against the backdrop of flashing police lights. She was at the scene of a car crash, and the vehicle, she said, had been carrying undocumented immigrants. It's common sight in Laredo, Villarreal said.

The President said Thursday he was considering sending the National Guard to assist in border security, a move that would be in line with actions taken by both of his predecessors.

His comments come as a caravan of migrants makes its way through central America, with some of them bound for the US border.

"We're used to all this," Villarreal said, before stressing that she's never felt unsafe in Laredo, which she called "a very safe, tight knit community."

For her part, Villarreal says she believes local law enforcement agencies and the US Border Patrol can handle whatever immigrants are crossing the border. "We have enough authority in town to cover whatever's happening in our town," she told CNN.

Trump's announcement has gotten the attention of many Laredo residents, Villarreal said. Some think an influx of troops won't bring change to the city, and believe it's a waste of federal money. But, she added, "There's a lot of Trump supporters in Laredo that disagree."

'We trust our President'

Hector Garza, a spokesman for the National Border Patrol Council union near Laredo, points out that the border patrol is about 2,000 agents short of its congressionally mandated minimum.

He and his union -- which represents about 18,000 agents, according to its website, and endorsed the President in the 2016 election -- will take any help it can get.

"Anything that will support border patrol agents in their operations, we welcome it from President Trump," Garza said. Garza said troops could support the agents by providing manpower and resources, particularly when it comes to surveillance operations along the border.

But as things stand right now, he said, it's impossible for border agents to continue doing their jobs effectively without the proper manpower. The money, Garza said, would be well spent.

"We are very confident that under this military deployment that Trump has talked about that it's going to be done in an efficient manner that will help our border patrol agents and the American public," he said.

The Trump administration and the Department of Homeland Security have yet to answer questions about how much a military deployment would cost, but deployments by Presidents Bush and Obama combined cost more than $1.3 billion.

"It is a lawless part of the border," Garza added. "When we have 50 people getting across in one hour, undetected, and they successfully come into our country, that's a lawless border."

Sheriff says it's a waste of money

Sheriff Tom Schmerber has been sheriff of Maverick County, Texas, north of Laredo, for six years now, but spent most of his career as a border patrol agent.

Back then, he sometimes worked side by side with military personnel who were stationed on the border. But that kind of support is no longer needed, Schmerber told CNN. "Everything has changed."

Residents of his county, Schmerber said, are safe thanks to the efforts of border patrol and local law enforcement.

"I think that the border patrol are well-trained, well-equipped," he said. "I don't think we need the military here at the border."

Schmerber said he believes the money spent could be better utilized by local sheriffs' offices along the border. They're typically understaffed, and lack the necessary technology to effectively monitor border crossings.

"We need a lot of equipment," he said, pointing to cameras that could monitor the Rio Grande, or a drone that his deputies could monitor from the office, instead of roaming around. "Technology is what we need right now."

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 471092

Reported Deaths: 9165
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32160471
Hinds30628574
DeSoto29693344
Jackson23098335
Rankin21062357
Lee14515218
Madison13993264
Jones13112218
Forrest12926231
Lauderdale11301294
Lowndes10206171
Lamar10017125
Pearl River8616208
Lafayette8052136
Hancock7172111
Washington6816146
Oktibbeha6799117
Neshoba6377201
Monroe6343158
Warren6310159
Pontotoc607692
Panola6056123
Bolivar5991143
Marshall5948116
Union562385
Pike5450133
Lincoln5217129
Alcorn516288
George456466
Scott450392
Leflore4392140
Prentiss435275
Itawamba433295
Tippah432480
Simpson4251110
Copiah424784
Wayne422363
Tate4202100
Adams4184110
Yazoo412486
Sunflower4077104
Covington406591
Marion4016100
Leake390485
Coahoma387098
Newton361674
Grenada3511100
Stone343757
Tishomingo323788
Attala319685
Jasper309562
Winston299191
Clay286172
Chickasaw280564
Clarke275587
Calhoun258539
Holmes258585
Smith242246
Yalobusha216447
Tallahatchie214949
Walthall204657
Lawrence203231
Greene202645
Perry195753
Webster191642
Amite191451
Noxubee174438
Montgomery169453
Jefferson Davis164341
Carroll159437
Tunica147634
Benton138232
Kemper136939
Claiborne125534
Choctaw124424
Humphreys123037
Franklin114327
Quitman101425
Wilkinson98435
Jefferson86332
Sharkey61720
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 761865

Reported Deaths: 12856
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1087131712
Mobile696141168
Madison47959565
Baldwin35517431
Shelby34948283
Tuscaloosa32719498
Montgomery32358648
Lee21708200
Calhoun19823367
Morgan19140308
Etowah18450414
Marshall17138255
Houston15970340
St. Clair14803270
Limestone13986179
Elmore13893240
Cullman13892229
Lauderdale12986264
Talladega12235203
DeKalb11788220
Walker10110304
Autauga9416120
Blount9329149
Jackson9026132
Coffee8598153
Colbert8257160
Dale8204143
Escambia639399
Tallapoosa6315165
Covington6265153
Chilton6188128
Russell588353
Franklin560093
Chambers5182127
Dallas4595174
Marion4540114
Clarke447871
Pike441488
Geneva419499
Winston402682
Lawrence4018101
Bibb392976
Barbour335567
Marengo318878
Monroe308244
Butler307679
Pickens297366
Henry290752
Randolph290055
Hale284081
Cherokee277249
Fayette269769
Washington242244
Crenshaw229463
Clay220261
Macon212554
Cleburne207346
Lamar185538
Conecuh175237
Lowndes168156
Coosa161531
Wilcox153533
Bullock146242
Perry133132
Sumter122735
Greene118241
Choctaw71925
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