Excluded are key Texas sheriffs who have been fighting antitrust crime for years
(The Center Square) – Continuing on a promise he did it during his first Arizona border security summit and before his next border crossing After traveling to Texas on Monday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday the formation of a new national coalition of sheriffs committed to working together to fight crime stemming from the border crisis.
More than 90 sheriffs from 24 states are part of the coalition. Notably missing from the list are the Texas border sheriffs, who have been fighting border crime for years.
Coalition participants include sheriffs from Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and South Dakota Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, South Dakota and Wisconsin.
“Illegal immigration has not only devastated communities along the southern border, but also harmed states across the country through the deadly influx of cartels-trafficked fentanyl and higher rates of violent crime,” DeSantis said. “I’m proud to work with this growing group of law enforcement leaders and apply Florida’s dedicated resources and leadership to solving this national problem.”
In the undated and signed copy letterthe sheriffs express their commitment to securing the border.
“As elected law enforcement officers, we must uphold our oath of office and protect the lawful residents of our jurisdictions. While we work to ensure compliance with the law and uphold public safety, the federal government has failed in its responsibility to secure our nation’s borders. In fiscal 2022, encounters at the southwest border hit record numbers, and in fiscal 2023 encounters are nearly twenty percent higher than in 2022,” they write.
“The consequences of the federal government’s waiver are being felt across the country. Cartels and gang members are bringing record amounts of fentanyl and other drugs into our communities, while our officers work around the clock in the fight against these criminal institutions. As sheriffs, we are grateful that Florida has recognized the crisis on our border and that we are working with the Sunshine State to restore law and order to our streets.
“It is unfortunate that the federal government has effectively failed the border states… We can no longer watch as our country is overrun by gang activity and drug-related violence.”
The sheriffs vowed to “work with Governor DeSantis and the state of Florida to ensure the safety and well-being of the citizens we serve.”
Notably absent signers include key Texas border sheriffs and one of the state’s most influential sheriffs created an interagency Texas Operation Lone Star task force to combat antitrust and border crimes, Goliad County Sheriff Roy Boyd. A Texas sheriff who signed the Lavaca County letter has declined to participate in or join OLS task force operations for the past two years and is currently being challenged in his re-election bid.
Boyd, who did not sign the letter, told The Center Square that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has done more for Texas and provided more support for border security operations than any other governor in the state’s history.
Others have pointed out that it is Abbott and Texas that are leading the border security effort. Florida has also supported OLS border security operations in Texas.
Last fall, Abbott met with Texas Sheriffs Discuss Efforts to Fight Antitrust Crime on Southern Border
“Texas has done more than any other state in American history to respond to this challenge,” Abbott said at the time. “We are the only country building its own border wall. We have the National Guard at the border involved in turning back people trying to cross the border illegally.” Some who do get through are banned and arrested by Texas Department of Public Safety officers and sheriffs, he added.
“We were drowning in labor and couldn’t keep up until Governor Abbott stepped in and gave us funding for Operation Lone Star,” Boyd said. “This funding gave us the manpower, overtime and equipment to proactively fight the cartels and their agents directly in our jurisdiction.
Every Texas sheriff involved in fighting antitrust crimes has spoken to funding Abbott and Operation Lone Star so they can work more effectively. Jackson County Sheriff Kelly Janica, a member of the OLS Task Force, told The Center Square that thanks to the OLS funds, they are using new technology and have access to other resources.
By Bethany Blankley | The contributor at Center Square