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: 319381

Reported Deaths: 7354
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto22264265
Hinds20634421
Harrison18381316
Rankin13862282
Jackson13677248
Madison10234224
Lee10050176
Jones8458167
Forrest7821153
Lauderdale7257242
Lowndes6498149
Lamar633688
Lafayette6298120
Washington5418136
Bolivar4835133
Panola4663110
Oktibbeha466098
Pearl River4597146
Marshall4572105
Warren4440121
Pontotoc424973
Monroe4155135
Union415576
Neshoba4059179
Lincoln4007111
Hancock386087
Leflore3515125
Tate342386
Sunflower339391
Pike3366110
Alcorn324172
Scott319374
Yazoo314171
Itawamba305077
Adams304885
Copiah299766
Coahoma298383
Simpson298189
Tippah291568
Prentiss283561
Leake271774
Marion271280
Covington267083
Wayne264442
Grenada264087
George251951
Newton248563
Tishomingo231267
Winston229981
Jasper222148
Attala215073
Chickasaw210459
Holmes190374
Clay187554
Stone187433
Tallahatchie180041
Clarke178980
Calhoun174032
Yalobusha167840
Smith164034
Walthall135247
Greene131833
Lawrence131024
Montgomery128643
Noxubee127934
Perry126638
Amite126142
Carroll122330
Webster115032
Tunica108027
Jefferson Davis107833
Claiborne103030
Benton102325
Humphreys97533
Kemper96628
Franklin85023
Quitman81816
Choctaw79018
Wilkinson69332
Jefferson66228
Sharkey50917
Issaquena1696
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 547873

Reported Deaths: 11274
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson809141565
Mobile41984826
Madison35629523
Tuscaloosa26147458
Shelby25580254
Montgomery25075611
Baldwin21805313
Lee16248175
Calhoun14710325
Morgan14618285
Etowah14160362
Marshall12446230
Houston10757288
Elmore10292212
Limestone10179157
St. Clair10155250
Cullman9928200
Lauderdale9591248
DeKalb8963189
Talladega8455184
Walker7330280
Autauga7229113
Blount6937139
Jackson6905113
Colbert6406139
Coffee5622126
Dale4929114
Russell454541
Chilton4470116
Franklin430783
Covington4267122
Tallapoosa4127154
Escambia401180
Chambers3723123
Dallas3606156
Clarke352861
Marion3237106
Pike313978
Lawrence3124100
Winston283272
Bibb267664
Geneva257081
Marengo250665
Pickens236662
Barbour234559
Hale226678
Butler223771
Fayette217762
Henry193743
Cherokee187245
Randolph186944
Monroe179141
Washington170439
Macon162951
Clay160159
Crenshaw155157
Cleburne153144
Lamar146237
Lowndes142053
Wilcox127030
Bullock124242
Conecuh113230
Coosa111429
Perry108726
Sumter105732
Greene93434
Choctaw61725
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