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Border Crisis: Rep. Tony Gonzales Says This Is What Keeps Border Patrol Up at Night


While many Americans were spending Christmas Day with their families, Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-TX) spent the holiday touring different parts of his district speaking with frontline Border Patrol agents — his district covers large parts of the U.S.-Mexico border — to get their view of the ongoing crisis that is nearing the one year mark.

Speaking with Townhall on Wednesday, Gonzales explained what worries him and Border Patrol the most during the historic crisis that has seen giant increases in apprehensions, releases, and illegal immigrants who have been able to avoid law enforcement.

"I had one of the agents go, cause I asked him, 'Hey, what keeps you up at night?', and one of the agents, who's been an agent for over 25 years, goes, 'Tony this is what keeps me up at night: Another 9/11 event happening that starts through the southern border.' And he goes, 'If that happens and I gotta look back and go I couldn't stop this, I'm going to be devastated,'" Gonzales recalled. "And I think he's spot on."

Gonzales pointed to his trip with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) that included a tour of the El Paso Sector in March of last year, where Border Patrol told them even back then illegal border crossers had been caught and found out to be on the terror watch list. Border Patrol has since publicized, and later deleted, instances of people arrested by the federal agency who were flagged for potentially having ties to terrorism.

"On Christmas Day, Border Patrol mentioned to me that there were people on the terror watch they just picked up from Eygpt, Syria. This is nothing different," Gonzales said. "If I spoke with them every single day, they would tell me something every single day. Nothing has changed. That's the part where this [Biden] administration is beyond incompetence, it's negligence. There are going to get people killed."

When it comes to staffing shortages Border Patrol has experienced along the southern border in the past year, Gonzales recalled a morning muster during which he asked who among the agents were not originally stationed in the area. Over half of the agents present raised their hands since they came from a northern border sector.

"Guess what? If they're not on the northern sector and everything is focused on the southern sector, that means our northern front has opened up as well."

Gonzales noted that a bill was introduced to increase funds for Operation Stonegarden — a federal grant program for local law enforcement to carry out border-related missions — but did not pass the current Congress. He considered it a victory that funding was not decreased, of which there was some talk.

While "push factors" have long existed in Mexico, Central, and South America, Gonzales said throwing money at the long-standing problems of corruption and poor economic conditions will not solve the main reasons for illegal immigration.

"Last month I had dinner with the president of Guatemala and two things he said that popped out to me...One, he goes, 'I haven't seen or heard from Vice President Harris since when she visited'...Two, he goes, 'Tony, I'm not asking for more foreign aid. I do not want your foreign aid...He goes, 'You know what I want, I want your foreign investment. Help me make my country so that way people will invest in my country,'" he continued.

When it comes to what Gonzales will be concerned about with the border this year is the same as what he started out the interview with: the massive gap in national security along the southern border. He plans on hosting more members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, to raise awareness of the issue because "I'm not waiting until Republicans take back the House to do something."

"I've seen it. I spent twenty years in the military. I spent five years in Iraq and Afghanistan. I've seen it firsthand, up-close and personal what terrorism looks like. At the end of the day, they're not trying to kill Democrats or Republicans, they're trying to kill Americans."

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