Repair-ations: Texas Farmers Ask Biden to Pay for Property Damage
With the thousands of migrants crossing our border illegally every day, communities and property owners are feeling the repercussions. Many Texas farmers and ranchers are asking the Biden administration to foot the bill for the damages done to their property by smugglers and illegal aliens as a result of the crisis.
Under President Biden, transnational criminal organizations are thriving. While border communities have felt the effects of illegal immigration throughout many administrations, the sheer magnitude of this crisis and the utter lack of enforcement by the Biden administration has created a whole different beast. It is not just migrant farmworkers looking for work, it is also hordes of criminals and smugglers that threaten the property, health, and safety of Americans. And Texas farmers have had enough.
In June, the Texas Farm Bureau spearheaded a national effort backed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest organization of farmers in America, and the Puerto Rico Farm Bureau, to urge the federal government to step up and take action to help farm and ranch families impacted by the ongoing surge of illegal immigration. The Bureau sent a letter requesting financial support and border enforcement to U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland.
The Farm Bureaus claim that “in their desperation to evade law enforcement, Coyotes abandon people, steal vehicles, vandalize property and threaten the safety and livelihoods of farmers and ranchers.” Smugglers drive vehicles through farmland, often causing significant damage to fences, crops, and irrigation systems. Some property owners say they must repair fences multiple times per week to keep livestock from escaping.
According to Deputy Constable Manuel Sauceda of La Salle County, “The damage to game-proof fences typically involves about 6 hours of labor by 3 workers and costs the rancher $3,500.00 to restore the fence. That’s the only way to avoid the loss of livestock or exotic game.”
And it’s not just landowners who live near the border. Texas Farm Bureau president Russell Boening told the New York Post that there are properties 200 miles from the border that are facing these issues. Even worse, residences are being broken into, equipment is stolen, and illegal aliens are even abandoned on some property.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott (R) issued a disaster declaration for the counties most impacted by the crisis. He also initiated a self-reporting system for landowners to report damages caused by illegal border crossers and smugglers. Abbott believes that “By completing the Self Reporting Damage Survey, our state will be equipped with the necessary data to continue addressing the ongoing crisis at our southern border and provide the support our landowners and communities need to stay safe and secure.”
The governor previously deployed state law enforcement and National Guard to the border and has vowed to put hundreds of miles of border wall up between his state and Mexico as the federal government continues to do nothing.
Governor Abbott said in a statement, “President Biden’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers, and deadly drugs like fentanyl to pour into our communities. Meanwhile, landowners along the border are seeing their property damaged and vandalized on a daily basis while the Biden Administration does nothing to protect them.”
While Texas is taking action to stem the crisis in their state, it is ultimately the federal government’s responsibility to fix the crisis. Their failure to do so continues to cost law-abiding Americans millions of dollars and places their well-being at risk.