Military and Police

New Mexico Governor Dismisses National Guard from Southern Border Security

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) dispatched a contingent of state troopers to help secure their state’s southern border while National Guard troops safeguarding New Mexico’s border are being about-faced and sent away. That’s right. Democrat New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham does not feel there is any sort of crisis at our southern border with Mexico. Perhaps prior (and forthcoming) caravans are mere illusions?

In her February 5, 2019 press release, Governor Grisham said: “New Mexico will not take part in the president’s charade of border fearmongering by misusing our diligent National Guard troops.” She actually called it a “charade.” As if the president is putting on the biggest stage show in the history of mankind, and we are all unwitting ticketholders. I’d like to know how a president who ardently adores the military institution is somehow “misusing” them in the course of defending our country from foreign intrusion.

On the day the State of the Union address before Congress grew with anticipation, Gov. Grisham decided to diminish the 118 National Guard troops assigned at the Mexico-New Mexico border, whittling them down to about one dozen. Her reasoning? She simply doesn’t see the need for border security. Her highly probable reason? It has to do with President Trump. Take a gander:

That video! That’s one chalked-up business ensemble along with a bundle of head bumps. Maybe that explains a few things (caravan illusions). Or perhaps more wall-bashing will reset brain cells and provide clearer vision regarding what is right under the nose.

As I compose these words, the Associated Press published the following latest border-wall response after viewing the complimentary comedic stunt offered by Governor Grisham: “Southern New Mexico rancher and Republican state Rep. Candy Spence Ezzell says the governor’s video makes light of serious issues of security along the state’s southern border.” And what about those poor children who witnessed their classroom walls breached by a blonde intruder? Subliminal-messaging script? Exhibition of violent measures? Thinking like a cop, child endangerment and similar statutes come to mind after seeing such recklessness. And there is a sense of irony/hypocrisy here, too, especially as she breaches walls then flees.

What’s Her Beef?

The press release from Governor Grisham’s office also contained the following disclaimer/fallacy: “I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the southern border, along which are some of the safest communities in the country.” Ha! That’s wonderful, despite betraying her utopia! Why not keep them safe? Indisputably, the Border Patrol is fervently trying. Why not lend a helping hand?

On January 18, 2019, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported on only some of the continually flowing and exponential batches of immigrants throwing travel bags containing personal belongings over the present border barrier in New Mexico and illegally entering the United States. Directly from Sun-Times writer Blake Gumprecht are the following descriptions of illegal activity out of Central America by way of Mexico and into the United States:

“For the second day in a row, Border Patrol agents on Thursday night apprehended a large number of Central America migrants entering the country illegally at the remote port of entry here [emphasis added].

“About 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, 115 migrants were apprehended after walking around barriers at the port of entry, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. They were apprehended by border patrol agents who live for a week at a time at a base adjacent to the port of entry [emphasis mine].” If they could simply walk “around barriers” that implies two things: we need more border security personnel now, and a permanent wall would be most optimal. Did you catch that federal border patrol agents are not permanently stationed at some “ports”? Our nation is still understaffed to do an overwhelming task. Troops in support of law enforcement officials are blessings.

Mr. Gumprecht continued his report: “On Wednesday, shortly after midnight, 247 migrants were apprehended doing the same thing. Since October [2018], 25 groups of 100 migrants or more have been apprehended at the desolate desert crossing at Antelope Wells.” That conservatively equates to 2,500 illegal immigrants merely walking “around barriers,” the same barriers from which Governor Grisham is pulling troops and sending them bye-bye.

One video recorded by Border Patrol stationary cameras depicts what border agents enumerate as 247 illegals jumping the border barrier in Antelope Wells, New Mexico. I could be totally wrong, but the grey-scale night-vision imagery does not seem to indicate many (if any) women and children, as Governor Grisham asserted was the case.

What else goes on at Antelope Wells which border patrol agents happened to catch because they were there?

From the chronicle of border events/activities posted on the U.S. Border Patrol website are the following nuggets: “March 6, 2018, Border Patrol Agents from Lordsburg assigned to a Forward Operations Base (FOB) near Antelope Wells seized 115 pounds of marijuana and arrested two illegal immigrant smugglers.

“Early Tuesday, Agents utilizing night vision technology observed three subjects pushing bikes and carrying large bundles on their backs. The observation took place approximately three miles north of the border.” So they already made it into the United States with illegal junk on their backs.

Backpacker Smugglers at LDS
Backpacking seizure at LDS

“Agents deployed to the area were able to locate two of the subjects and place them under arrest. A third subject absconded by running south.” Earlier I mentioned the border crossers carried “personal belongings.” I guess these three bundles of weed somehow found a place among water bottles, socks and Twinkies.

But wait! There’s plenty more…

On March 17, 2017, “U.S. Border Patrol Agents (USBP) on the ground, along with CBP Air and Marine personnel worked together this week to track and locate two vehicles that were smuggling marijuana through dense terrain in the boot heel of New Mexico.

“Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Agents got an alert from border technology showing possible vehicle activity near the U.S./Mexico border, west of the Antelope Wells Port of Entry. Agents discovered tire tracks crossing the border area and began tracking the vehicles through the Animas Valley [in Hidalgo County]. The search became extremely difficult due to the rugged terrain. Agents contacted air support from both Air and Marine Operations (AMO), El Paso Air Branch, and the New Mexico National Guard Counter Drug Support (CDS) to assist with the search. The agents remained persistent in pursuing the suspected border crossers over a span of seven hours. The combined effort by agents on the ground and partners in the air resulted in locating the suspected vehicles. The vehicles were found hidden in a wash and covered by tarps [emphasis added].

“The suspects driving the vehicles fled the area before agents closed in. USBP Horse patrol units, specialized canine teams and USBP agents ultimately located and arrested three subjects from Mexico who were hiding in the area. Agents also seized a total of 3,610 pounds of marijuana, a 2006 Dodge Ram and 2014 Chevy Silverado several miles north of the initial illegal entry point.”

In that particular caper, the “New Mexico National Guard Counter Drug Support (CDS)” personnel assisted in the search/operation which resulted in three drug-smuggling arrests and a mound of marijuana. I wonder how Governor Grisham feels about that.

Also from Border Patrol news, in March 11, 2016, “U.S. Border Patrol agents working in New Mexico apprehended a wanted sexual offender in one incident and also seized over 2,600 pounds of marijuana in two additional law enforcement encounters.” These are but a few excerpts among many regarding border enforcement activity provided by U.S. Border Patrol personnel. Can anyone not see the need to enhance staffing so as to nab even more of these drug thugs, traffickers and wrongdoers pushing their way (and poison) in to America?

Nope, nothing to see here! Move along folks…and you too, National Guard.

In her announcement to whittle-down the National Guard cadre to a dozen, Gov. Grisham went on to describe “…large groups of families, women and children crossing over the border in the remote Antelope Wells area in recent months,” you know…immigrants, illegal ones, who are beyond trickling in when you pull National Guardsmen and downplay any other kind of border security (which we call “border security” for absolutely definable and qualifiable reasons, a few of which you just read).

Compounding national security matters with a boatload of arrogance, some of the National Guard troops Gov. Grisham is sending home are not even from her state; they are dispatched there from others states —Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Wisconsin— all of which signed on to President Trump’s border security accord last year. Guess she wants hands on those joysticks too. Reportedly, Grisham is compelling the respective governors of the aforementioned states to “immediately” recall their National Guard troops from the New Mexico border. How’s that for lowering the curtain on a show that’s not even yours?

Google-search MS-13 and/or illegal immigrants and you won’t find any regaling behavior. No border-breaching gangbanger is in the McDonald’s drive-thru paying for the meals of the family behind them. Instead, you find scores of American citizens accosted, maimed or even murdered by excessively-tattooed monsters who crawled on through southern soil because no one was there to halt them. Go ahead and conduct a search. It’s becoming easier and easier to find material, making understanding the stances of the likes of Governor Grisham harder and harder.

Though, some concession evolved on Tuesday. Governor Grisham admits “…I recognize and appreciate the legitimate concerns of residents and officials in southwestern New Mexico, particularly Hidalgo County, who have asked for assistance, as migrants and asylum-seekers continue to appear at their doorstep.” I wonder if those residents see the “national security crisis” which Gov. Grisham denies exists.

Reporting for the Albuquerque Journal, Angela Kocherga wrote, “According to Border Patrol, some drug traffickers have used the large groups to time their smuggling operations to when Border Patrol agents are busy taking the families and kids into custody.” Whether it is a ploy or not, it remains illegal to enter the United States without applying and vetting for citizenship. Additionally, this statement underscores how drug cartels are vigilant with regard to American law enforcement presence and how to circumvent such measures in order to ply their drug trade.

Akin to many other politicians harboring pro-immigration philosophies and anti-wall sentiments, Governor Grisham’s stance amounts to approval of an open-door (borderless) policy, no matter how you look at it, notwithstanding the horror shows traipsing across/around our sovereign boundaries.

In summation, a crumb remains on the table. Grisham offers a pinky-finger Band-Aid for the large zipper we recognize as our southern border’s 1,954-mile stretch. Grisham’s olive branch of sorts was spelled this way: she “directed the Department of Public Safety to temporarily deploy an initial group of six New Mexico State Police officers to assist the day-to-day operations of local law enforcement in Hidalgo County, as has been requested by the county manager there.” I’m curious what the basis is for “temporarily” assigning six state police officials? Sounds more like a twig and not a branch. Are we going to pull them out too? Perhaps when the next massive news story breaks she’ll quietly pull the plug. A strategized I-showed-Trump moment?

From a law enforcement perspective, a whopping six state police officers is actually reduced to scant help when you consider days off, briefing/debriefing time, training requirements, arrests taking one cop away for an inordinate amount of time, as well as NM state police officers’ fulfilling family responsibilities (balancing work/professional life). Of paramount concern, therefore, is the omnipresent officer-safety factors. Bad things can happen in “remote” regions. (Hidalgo County census data indicate an average of “1.4 persons per square mile.”)

Sounds like a prime setting for illegal immigrants to cross en masse.

Other than some myopic poles, if the majority recognize that there are droves of large groups of illegal immigrants rushing the border barrier (whatever that may be) designed to impede them, and it is failing (as Border Patrol reports/arrests indicate), then physical human presence with conferred authority is the failsafe. And fewer law enforcement/National Guard officials at the border when hundreds of illegals approach becomes a stand of perilous proportions.

Grisham’s humanitarian scope somehow cut that part out of the real picture. Illegal immigrants get to bat 1.000 while border cops don’t even have the proper mitt with which to catch the hard-hitting curves, let alone a complete team to conduct safe and productive field work.

And it surely means something grand if the Hidalgo County manager is requesting state law enforcement help (pulled from other areas) when National Guard troops were already there to support local police and federal border agent efforts. Again, moving chess pieces around in such a wanton fashion seems to emphasize a Democratic governor trying to trump Trump.

By the way, the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office is seeking to fill vacant deputy sheriff positions, to help patrol the border county’s 3,445.63 square miles and its “remote” region.

From the Albuquerque Journal: “Together with units from Arkansas and Kentucky, New Mexico National Guard helicopter crews have been patrolling vast areas of the border from Santa Teresa to Lordsburg,” the Border Patrol noted in a statement provided to the Journal last month. “This expands our situational awareness and allows us to cover much more ground than we would be able to using our own assets.”

Although a certain southern state governor may not harbor the same sentiments, I am dismayed that our border guardians are overwhelmed, short-staffed, short-changed and needlessly placed in deeper danger.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Stephen Owsinski

Stephen Owsinski is an OpsLens Content Manager and Contributor. Owsinski is a retired law enforcement officer whose career included assignments in the Uniformed Patrol Division and Field Training Officer (FTO) unit. He is currently a researcher and writer. Follow Stephen on Twitter @uniformblue.

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