LA JOYA, Texas — Victor Avila knows how dangerous the borderlands in the United States and Mexico can be. As a retired Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Supervisory Special Agent, he has seen and experienced it all, including being attacked by the Los Zeta Cartel in 2011.
The Los Zeta Cartel was at the height of their power and became known for their brutality when Avila and his partner Jaime Zapata were on assignment driving to Mexico City. The pair were ambushed on a highway in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosí. Shot multiple times, Avila survived, but Zapata did not.
Now, over ten years later, Avila has heightened concerns the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border since Joe Biden has become president, with illegal immigrant apprehensions, "gotaways," and drug seizures reaching historic highs. Based out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Avila is now running to become Texas' next Land Commissioner. Incumbent George P. Bush is running to be Texas Attorney General.
My name is Victor Avila,I am running for Texas Land Commissioner because I understand firsthand what is going on at our Southern Border. I’m running to provide the battle tested leadership Texas needs. Are you with me?— Victor Avila (@VictorAvilaTX) January 14, 2022
JOIN TEAM AVILA TODAY! ??https://t.co/TkdAiSXMJm pic.twitter.com/Ycc6olTIvq
"I think that we're at a pivotal moment...I'm running for Texas Land Commissioner because I'm battle-tested. I've seen firsthand the cartels, the threat they are to our country...[The border] is the worst I've ever seen in my career where areas like this are wide open," Avila told Townhall in an interview by the incomplete border wall.
"We see the human smuggling, the human trafficking, the drug trafficking, the fentanyl that comes right through these porous areas. As Land Commissioner, I will be back to these areas and find the state-owned land" to build the border wall, Avila promised.
Avila said he will continue working with the private landowners who are right next to the Rio Grande to agree with Texas building the border wall, even touting he has relationships with many landowners he has established as a private citizen.
"They are willing to donate the land, they want to give the land to the state of Texas because they are fed up with illegal activity...the threat they face from armed cartel members who are patrolling their Texas ranches and they don't want to take on the cartel...They don't want the wrath of the cartel."
"I will do something about it with the experience that I bring, on the ground working most of my career on the border and in Mexico," Avila added, even promising he will go to Washington, D.C. to lobby the federal government to allow Texas to use the building materials that have been sitting at the border untouched since Biden ordered a halt on construction. Texas has begun building its own border wall on state-owned land in Starr County, using a similar design to the federal wall that was being built under former President Donald Trump. Avila stressed the need to also work and pressure Mexico into helping stem the flow of illegal activity that heads towards the United States.
While border security would be a top priority for Avila, the Texas General Land Office also oversees the funds that go to the state's Permanent School Fund, which funds public schools, and the Veterans Land Board, which administers benefits for Texas veterans. If elected, Avila promised his office would ensure funds from the School Land Board will not go towards Critical Race Theory (CRT) curriculum.
Pointing to how the U.S. federal government is "refusing to abide by" immigration and asylum laws, Avila said "the state of Texas needs to step up. We should and we will adopt the constitution to be able to enforce our sovereignty and our borders."