Happy Friday – 

Earlier this week, I took eight Members of Congress to tour the border to learn about the complexity and necessity of security. We traveled throughout multiple border cities and towns, meeting with Border Patrol agents, ranchers, and law enforcement officials.

Starting Out

Sunday morning, I joined my colleagues Brian Babin, Greg Gianforte, Ted Budd, Morgan Griffith, Ralph Norman, Paul Gosar, and Louie Gohmert in Tucson. They flew in to Arizona from across the country to see the border for themselves and hear from the people on the ground.

Viewing the Terrain

Our first stop was in southeastern Arizona, where we stopped to view the vast, open, and rugged terrain along the border. We also met with some locals who shared stories about their encounters with illegal aliens trespassing on their properties.

Walking the Paths

We then drove to a corridor of the mountain range to hike some of the paths used by illegal aliens on their journey from Mexico to the United States.

Seeing the Fence

After some time in southeastern Arizona, we drove to Douglas, Arizona, to see where there was actual fencing. This fence – bollard fencing – isn’t perfect, but at least it’s a barrier that prevents illegal aliens from instantly streaming across the border.

Talking to Border Patrol Agents

While at the Douglas fence, we met some Border Patrol agents and had the opportunity to talk to them about their experiences and thank them for their service. These men and women put their lives on the line whenever they leave their houses to protect our borders. They need our full support.

Meeting with Angel Parents and Local Officials

That night, we joined Angel parents Steve Ronnebeck and Mary Ann Mendoza for dinner – as well as Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels and his team. Steve and Mary Ann shared their heartbreaking stories of losing their loved ones at the hands of illegal immigrant criminals. Sheriff Dannels talked about how his office has acted to crack down on illegal aliens and protect his constituents.

Beginning the Next Day

Monday morning, we began the day back in Tucson. Congressman Glenn Grothman joined us for the day, and we all drove down to southern Arizona to tour a nearby Border Patrol station. After the tour and briefing, my friend and Border Patrol agent Art Del Cueto met our group to take us down to Sasabe for an unforgettable border experience.

Stopping in Sasabe

Before reaching the actual border line and fence in Sasabe, we stopped in the tiny town to walk through a convenience store that sells MRE’s for illegal aliens and traffickers passing through. It was a stark reminder of the realities of our porous southern border.

Experiencing the Open Border

When we got to the Sasabe Port of Entry, we were greeted with about a mile of bollard fencing that turned into a waist-high barbed-wire fence. That wasn’t the worst of what we saw. Connecting the bollard to the barbed-wire fence was a rope tied in a slip-knot. There were trails on either side of the fence, leading from the Mexican side and through the American side. We found out that illegal aliens crossing through this section only have to remove the rope, push back the barbed-wire fence, and cross over the border. That’s how easy it is to cross America’s border in some of these locations.

Eating with Border Patrol Agents

After touring the Sasabe sector of the border, we had lunch with several Border Patrol agents and talked to them about their experiences. They are the forgotten men and women of our fight against illegal immigration. They are underpaid, outmanned, and in need of more resources to do their jobs. Congress must step up to the plate to support these agents.

Briefing with Border Ranchers

In the early afternoon, we drove to Nogales, Arizona, to meet with several border ranchers. They’ve all owned their ranches for years and have seen firsthand the effects of our federal government’s refusal to secure our border. We heard story after story of the issues caused by illegal aliens trespassing across their lands on their way to different parts of the state and country.

Watching an Apprehension

At the end of the day, our group was on top of a bluff, overlooking the Nogales/Mariposa Port of Entry. While we stood there, the cameras and sensors detected a man pushing concertina wire away from the slatted fence so he could climb the barrier and slide down on the American side. He then raced into the brush at the bottom of the bluff on which we were standing. Shortly after, he hid. Two border patrol trucks raced up, and agents rushed out. They found his hiding place and took him into custody. In this case, a single illegal alien was apprehended because all the elements of border security were present. It was a fascinating way to end our trip.

Concluding….

I’ve been to the border several times, and each time I continue to learn more about the complexity and necessity of border security. The men and women who are working so hard to protect us are fighting with two hands tied behind their backs. We need to build a border wall, construct roads and infrastructure to facilitate interdiction of drug and human traffickers, improve our technological resources, and restore pay to Border Patrol agents that was removed during the Obama administration.

The federal government must secure our boundaries and protect American citizens. I am grateful for my colleagues who joined me on this trip. We gathered information from people closest to this crisis and saw first-hand the needs at the border. I encourage Congress and President Trump to reach an agreement to finally secure our border. This trip reminded me how vital this fight is.

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