By: Bethany Blankley | The Center Square
Texas sheriffs and some residents have a message for a trucker convoy scheduled to come to the Texas border on Feb. 3: “Don’t come.”
Organizer of the “Take Our Border Back Southern Border Convoy & 3-state Rally” are calling on “all active and retired law enforcement and military, veterans, mama bears, elected officials, business owners, ranchers, truckers, bikers, media and law abiding, freedom-loving Americans” to travel to rural, hard-to -reach areas near Eagle Pass, Texas, Yuma, Arizona, and San Ysirdo, California.
The convoy is expected to follow a route from Virginia Beach, south through Jacksonville, Florida, and west along I-10 to Houston, south on highway 35 from San Antonio, which Texas sheriffs note are major human and drug smuggling corridors and criminals could capitalize on their efforts.
The group’s stated objective is to “assemble in honor of our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights,” to express support to secure the southern border. Its Go Fund Me page has raised more than $130,000, none of which goes to state or federal border security efforts. Social media posts indicate some joining the convoy will be armed.
In response, Goliad Sheriff Roy Boyd, who leads an Operation Lone Star Task Force along a major smuggling corridor, is urging the convoy not to come to Texas.
“If the desire of protests like the convoy are to make an impactful difference, there are better ways to do so,” Boyd told The Center Square. “Unfortunately, driving to a border town is not the best way to make an impact. If a group wants to bring attention for the mainstream media to report on the protest, the convoy would be better off showing up on the streets of New York City or Washington, D.C.”
The convoy will impede law enforcement efforts that have been targeting 18-wheeler and other truck drivers smuggling people from the border, he and others, say.
“Increased traffic, especially commercial vehicle traffic, works to the benefit of smuggling organizations by providing them with more opportunities to blend in while reducing the likelihood of loads being stopped,” Boyd said.
The OLS Task Force first shared with The Center Square how cartel operatives are advertising online, paying drivers $70,000 to smuggle more than 80 people per truck load from the border, and how they’re actively working to catch them.
OLS Task Force Jackson County Sheriff Kelly Janica told The Center Square: “We appreciate anyone supporting securing the border, but please don’t come here. It will make our job harder. The cartels will capitalize on this and use the 18-wheelers, which they are already doing, to smuggle people from the border.”
OLS Task Force Wharton County Sheriff Shannon Srubar told The Center Square: “I understand the frustration that many Americans have about our unsecure border. But I do have concerns with a large convoy of trucks that I’m hearing about. Traffic on these highways in south Texas are already a nightmare, especially with many of them being single lane. As a result, law enforcement officers will be pulled away from their normal duties to deal with traffic issues. Extra traffic will also make it difficult to interdict the poison and evil coming across our southern border heading north while our attention is on the safety of the convoy and our local citizens.”
OLS Task Force Brooks County Sheriff Benny Martinez told The Center Square: “Texas law enforcement officers are already doing their jobs. We have 25 governors supporting us sending their National Guard troops. It’s imperative to protect our border but under Gov. Abbott’s leadership, Texas law enforcement is doing the job the Biden administration should be doing.”
Boyd warned about donating to newly formed groups. “An unfortunate side effect of the open border is the fact that individuals and groups have used the crisis to profit from the good will of others. Citizens should be careful about donating money to organizations claiming to take action or be providing material support to law enforcement,” he said.
Alliance for a Safe Texas founder Sheena Rodriguez expressed alarm. telling The Center Square: “If those in the convoy truly cared about Texas, they would not come. State legislators and Gov. Abbott have worked so hard to advance legislation and support Texas law enforcement efforts to secure the border for people who don’t know what they are talking about to come here. If you want to help, donate to Texas’ fund to build the border wall, donate to local groups who are working with the state legislature, and law enforcement. The money the convoy raised for themselves will not have any impact on securing the Texas border.”
The convoy is expected to come through Brackettville, in Kinney County, which cannot handle the volume, county spokesman Matt Benacci said. He told The Center Square, “It’s easy to understand the patriotic spirit driving some of our fellow Americans who feel the need to make some sort of grand, unequivocal gesture of support for the State of Texas as we try to implement solutions to this out-of-control border crisis. But small-town destinations that lack infrastructure cannot handle a large-scale disruption.
“The convoy could pose the same problem in a different way that’s been created by thousands of people coming from Mexico illegally entering our county. A better use of time and effort would be to drive to Washington, D.C., and directly lobby Congress to stop funding the current crisis.”