Chanel Rion, OAN Chief White House Correspondent
UPDATED 7:09 AM PT – Wednesday, August 31, 2022
Republican women toured the southern border guided by Winning for Women and POLARIS National Security – exposed to shocking realities media and politicians lack the stomach to face.
24 hours after White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre insisted migrants were NOT “walking across the border” a group of Republican women candidates from across the country and Republican Congresswoman Mayra Flores were given a border tour in McAllen, Texas directly contradicting the White House’s narrative. Not only did the day long tour show firsthand the sheer numbers of illegal migrants crossing into the US in broad daylight, every hour, every day but since President Biden has taken office and reversed Trump era immigration policies, nearly 3 million people have crossed our borders illegally through the US southern border.
The all day Republican women tour, hosted by Winning for Women founder Annie Dickerson and POLARIS National Security founder and former State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, started with a panel discussion on a private ranch just steps from the Rio Grande river dividing Texas from Reynosa, Mexico in what is known as Sector 9.
Sector 9 is the busiest Human Trafficking corridor in the United States. An estimated 2,000-6,000 illegal aliens cross from Mexico into the US every week in this sector alone. At least 2% of these weekly numbers consist of violent and dangerous criminals.
The panel of local officials and Sexual Assault advocates and Human Trafficking taskforce representatives left the candidates and attendees, at times, speechless, with individual horror stories of women and children being exploited by cartels, held captive inside ‘stash houses,’ some as sex slaves, others trafficked, kidnapped, organ harvesting, ransom, cases of impregnated twelve and fourteen-year-olds, and victims as young as 3 showing signs they had been brutally raped.
“There is ZERO regard for human life amongst these cartels” said one expert who has been an advocate for sexual assault victims at the border. She pointed to so called “rape trees” where women’s bras and undergarments are strewn as trophies to mock CBP agents and mark the numbers of rapes conducted by smugglers and cartels.
Sheriff Benny Martinez of Brooks County, TX, with a frustrated fervor, spoke from 42 years in law enforcement, and nearly two decades combatting border issues. Martinez bemoaned the lack of leadership and compassion from Washington when it comes to the burdens border communities shoulder.
Those burdens don’t come exclusively by way of the living. Brooks county is handling a devastating stream of illegal immigrants who didn’t make it at all – their bodies floating in from the river, drowned – from infants to the elderly. Or bodies of immigrants found on private property. Every body on US soil has to be collected. The costs fall on the county with no federal compensation.
To date, Martinez tells OAN his county has had to collect and dispose of 75 bodies along the border. Last year it was well over 100 and cost his small border community over $700,000 – all out of pocket from an otherwise small county treasury. Last year also cost the county $80,000 in property damages from illegal border crossings.
“Where is the end of this?” Martinez asks, “I don’t see it.” Martinez ultimately argues that we’re “overthinking the issue” and lawmakers need to follow the money and tackle the cartels if any of this crisis is to be truly addressed. More importantly, says Martinez, having dealt with border issues for more than two decades, says the US absolutely must build a border wall to help curb the initial flow and control the cartels.
Lacking any support from the federal government and the Biden administration, Martinez has taken to having to negotiate with the various Mexican Consulates to try to mitigate the flow of illegal crossings.
One expert speaking on background laid out the fundamental problem of jurisdiction – that crimes committed against women and children have no recourse in the Federal government. The recourse lies with the local municipalities – crimes such as rape, kidnapping, trafficking. When a stash house is discovered and broken up by law enforcement, the victims found within consist mostly of women and children who have been kept in bondage – some for months as sex slaves. “NO ONE is being prosecuted.” The expert bemoaned, “No one is prosecuted at the border for bondage, assault, slavery… [the crimes] at the border are more than just human smuggling.” This non-prosecution policy is a problem of leadership. It’s a policy the President’s office could change overnight. But the Biden administration refuses to even acknowledge the crime and humanitarian issues at the border at all.
Already morale depleted and overwhelmed Customs and Border Protection agents are also continuously undercut by the Biden administration – whether being castigated for using improper pronouns, or investigated for disproven news reports about migrant abuse. The beleaguered CBP is overseeing record resignations and burnouts internally since the Biden administration has taken office. Further aggravating an already dire national security and humanitarian crisis… while the already depleted CBP force is hemorrhaging agents, the onboarding process is also criticized as devastatingly slow. The average time it takes to bring on one new CBP agent is 300 days.
Meanwhile, cartels brazenly raid shelters to fish for migrants with US relatives. If they are found to have relatives on the US side, migrants are instantly kidnapped and held for ransom in excess of $9,000.
Cassy Garcia, a congressional candidate from Texas condemned the current climate of treating the border and border issues as a political lightning rod: “This isn’t a red issue or a blue issue… it’s a red, white, and blue issue.”
Winning for Women and POLARIS have called on the UN Human Rights Council, Congress, and the DHS to investigate the human rights violations taking place at the southern border. Crimes and violations “perpetuated by the Biden Administration” enabling the federal government to aid and abet in the daily trafficking and smuggling of humans – particularly women.
The groups also called on DHS to open a criminal investigation into DHS Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for forcing CBP agents to ignore current laws and allow 900,000 “gotaways” to remain in the US – some of whom possess criminal records or are repeat violent offenders.
The groups are also calling for Biden to reverse his policy decision to halt construction of the border wall initiated by President Trump.
Congresswoman Mayra Flores, Congress’ first Mexican born representative also called her fellow CBP spouses to action: “You have incredible power to be speak out for your spouses. Do not remain silent. This is your time.”