Kinney County, TX – A Texas sheriff said the surge of illegal immigrants spilling into his county over the U.S.-Mexico border is taxing his department’s meager resources and left him with no choice but to personally deliver a group of migrants down to the port of entry to deport them on Wednesday.
Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe said his deputies apprehended five illegal immigrants on June 29, all of whom needed to be medically cleared due to U.S. Border Patrol (USBP) policy before the federal agency would detain them, FOX News reported.
The group had been traveling inside a suspected smuggling vehicle that was involved in a crash during a pursuit, The Epoch Times reported.
One of the illegal immigrants was transported to a hospital, but the other four were uninjured and refused to be examined by emergency medical personnel, Sheriff Coe told FOX News.
As a result, Kinney County deputies would have needed to take them all to the hospital – located 35 miles away – to be medically cleared before USBP would take custody of them, FOX News reported.
Sheriff Coe said he has just six full-time deputies, and two would be tied up indefinitely while dealing with the four illegal immigrants at the hospital.
“I don’t have the resources right now to tie up two deputies…in an emergency room for people that aren’t complaining of any type of injury, tying up medical staff, and having to wait two or three hours for them to be medically cleared,” he told FOX News.
The sheriff said that taking so many personnel off the streets could also potentially place his county’s residents at risk.
“I’ll always place the safety of the residents of Kinney County, the residents of Texas, above the comfort of anybody that’s illegally entered this country,” he told FOX News. “My job is, as an elected official in Kinney County, is to protect these people. And that’s my job and that’s what I will continue to do until further notice.”
Sheriff Coe ultimately loaded up the four illegal immigrants that his deputies had apprehended and drove them back to the U.S.-Mexico border himself.
“Anyone or anything we catch walking the highway or in smuggling endeavor, we can roll over to Border Patrol,” the sheriff told FOX News. “But because of the Biden administration and policies that are being put into place by the administration, I didn’t have any resources but to take [them] back myself.”
He dropped them off in the center of the international bridge, The Epoch Times reported.
“I can’t let them walk the streets,” Sheriff Coe told the news outlet. “I can’t say, ‘Hey, go, be free.’ Because I still have to protect the Constitution and protect the people in the county…To let them go, undocumented, unaccounted for, just go because of a policy — I couldn’t do it.”
The driver of the suspected smuggling vehicle that crashed was arrested on seven felony charges, The Epoch Times reported.
Sheriff Coe said he was a Mexican national and that he was wearing cartel-linked insignia.
“It’s just all part of [the Biden] administration that they’re not enforcing the border laws, the immigration laws,” he told FOX News. “Things like this are going to continue to happen – the kidnappings, the pursuits, placing the general population in danger.”
The surge of illegal immigrants has also impacted local residents in other ways, according to the sheriff.
“Groups are walking through watermelon pastures, tearing at the watermelon… The torn-out fences, the broken water lines, the windows that have been damaged,” Sheriff Coe told FOX News. “One of the local ranchers has spent 40, 50, $60,000 in the past year repairing his fences to keep his cattle and his livestock.”
In some areas, groups walking through have kicked up so much dust that watermelon crops aren’t able to pollinate and are being destroyed, he said.
The sheriff said that driving illegal immigrants back to Mexico is “going to be the exception, rather than the rule,” The Epoch Times reported.
“But at the same time, if Border Patrol won’t take a group for whatever reason, I don’t have a choice,” he added.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Texas was outraged by Sheriff Coe’s actions and demanded his office hand over “any and all information regarding the Kinney County Sheriff’s Office transporting or sending individuals whom the Sheriff’s Office believes or suspects to be migrants to Mexico.”
Reportedly, the Kinney County, TX sheriff transported 4 migrants to Mexico today. State & local gov'ts have no lawful authority to deport people
— Kate Huddleston (@k_huddleston) June 29, 2022
Sheriff Coe said that those who deem the Biden administration’s illegal immigration policies as a “more compassionate” way to deal with the surge in illegal border crossings do not have any understanding about the realities those policies have created, FOX News reported.
“Because of this open border, in the past month – this month alone – we’ve recovered three deceased individuals in the brush,” he said.
His department has typically found one or two people dead on the unforgiving plains per year the past 20 to 25 years, but they’ve already found five bodies so far this year.
“Last year, we had 17,” Sheriff Coe said. “There’s no compassion when these people are dying in the brush.”