WASHINGTON (WJHL) — Rep. Diana Harshbarger recently returned to Washington following a trip to the US-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas.
She accompanied fellow Congresswoman Monica De La Cruz who represents that area.
Harshbarger said supporting Border Patrol agents and focusing on their needs was a big theme of the trip.
“When you see the enormous number of illegal aliens coming across the border and the job that they have to do, they are strapped. We’ve looked at the suicide rate with these Border Patrol agents, not just on the southern border but on the California border and on the northern border. We’re just there to encourage them and see what they need and get updated,” Harshbarger said.
“Even with appropriations we want to give the Border Patrol agents and (Department of Homeland Security) what they need to do their job. We’ve had over 2 million already come across the border this year and we’ve gotten probably, I think the number is 169 people on the terrorist watch list just this year, so what do they need to keep track? Do they need air surveillance equipment, technology? Those are things they have asked us for.”
The Northeast Tennessee congresswoman said that people are crossing the border in different places than before.
“Cartels are smart. If they see a presence in one sector they’re going to divert the traffic and they’re going to begin to go through other sectors and other states,” Harshbarger said. “They’ve moved from McAllen, Del Rio sectors now they’re in El Paso, Tucson and they are overwhelming. They know what to do and where to go to overwhelm these border agents and divert them so they can either smuggle the drugs or smuggle humans.”
Harshbarger said agents are taking in marijuana more than any other drug in that area.
“It’s amazing that in this particular sector that they’re number one drug that they would confiscate or interdict was marijuana and we talked about that and I said, ‘Why in the world are the cartels smuggling marijuana?’ And he said, ‘Ma’am, it’s not the marijuana of the 1960s.’ These are strains that you’re not even selling legally in states that have legalized marijuana.”
She is also worried about what she calls “got aways.”
“We’re up to 2 million people that have come across the border illegally that they’ve either seen via surveillance or they know that are here but they don’t know where they came from, where they went, or who they are,” Harshbarger said. “Those are the ones that worry you because what worries me is that’s a threat to our national security, not to mention the burden it’s putting on our cities, our counties, and our states.”
Harshbarger also talked about the Israel-Hamas war, her social media survey on funding Ukraine, and said she plans to vote against expelling Rep. George Santos.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://harshbarger.house.gov/media/in-the-news/rep-harshbarger-discusses-recent-border-trip