The America Project (TAP) held a conference on border security Saturday in Phoenix at the Hershberger Theater. The Border 911 event featured leading experts on human trafficking, cartels, and drugs coming over the border, including former acting ICE Director Tom Homan, who also served as a Border Patrol agent in Phoenix.
Homan said, “Under President Trump, we had the most secure border in my lifetime.” He discussed all the progress Trump made, such as getting countries to accept illegal immigrants back, Title 42 restrictions, and implementing the Remain in Mexico program.
“President Trump was a game changer, Homan said.”
He also said none of the six presidents he worked for did more to secure the border than Trump.
“Joe Biden was the first president to come into office and unsecure the border — on purpose,” Homan said.
He refuted some of the criticism he’d received, “If I’m a white nationalist hate group, then what about those people up there who wrote the laws?” referring to Congress. He said over 90 percent of so-called asylum seekers never get asylum since they’re not qualified.
Homan said 30 percent of females transported through the cartels end up raped. He talked to girls who were 10 years old, and had been raped multiple times. Illegal immigration was down 80 percent under Trump, which meant fewer rapes and fewer deaths, including fewer fentanyl deaths. So the Biden administration knew what was going to happen when they changed those policies, which made the former border chief furious.
“Alejandro Mayorkas needs to be impeached,” Homan declared. “I said that a year ago.”
He revealed that 1.2 million illegal immigrants had crossed the border unapprehended since Biden took office because the Border Patrol agents were “too occupied changing diapers, attending to airports,” etc. “This administration is lawless,” he said, “they’re borderline treasonous.”
He said Trump was criticized for referring to the ruthless smugglers as animals, but the cartels are worse than animals.
“Animals kill to survive, the cartels kill for the joy of it,” he said.
“It’s not just about illegal immigration anymore,” Homan said. He said authorities only find about 10 percent of the bodies since so many decompose or are eaten by animals. They’re filling up the local morgues, so in Texas they have added refrigeration trucks to store them.
He warned Arizonans, “As Texas takes more steps [to secure their border], where do you think they’re going to go?”
He told a heartbreaking story of being sent to Victoria, Texas, to handle a high-profile situation where numerous illegal immigrants were found overheated to death in the back of a tractor-trailer. He saw a 5-year-old boy dead among the bodies, and it tore him apart, bending down and saying a prayer over him.
“Where’s all the screaming about the humanitarian crisis on the border?” he asked.
Homan added, “Where’s AOC [Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] ? Where’s that moron?” referencing her display kneeling at the border in June 2019. A video clip was shown of Homan answering questions from AOC in Congress when she repeatedly accused him of supporting family separation of illegal immigrants from their children at the border. Homan pointed out that regular American citizens are separated from their children when arrested for crimes, and she had no response, ending her questioning.
Homan said Trump called him and said he watched the clip 10 times because he made her look like a moron. The former ICE director said, “It’s not hard to make someone look like an idiot who is an idiot.”
Jaeson Jones, a former captain with the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counter-terrorism Division, now a correspondent on the border for Newsmax, spoke about the cartels. He said the problem is the U.S. hasn’t taken on the cartels. He said he was at the conference “for one purpose today, to end the Mexican cartels.”
He said intelligence and security agencies should have informed the public about the dangers. He called the problem “[t]he largest U.S. intelligence failure since 9-11.” He said it began in 2012 with the Los Zetos cartel becoming out of control, a “silent war” facing Texas. He hears a common theme from people, “your government has abandoned you.”
Jones talked about efforts to rescue people from being executed by the cartels.
He said “[t]here is a war going on at your border that you have not been told,” due to “institutionalized cowardice within the leadership positions at the Homeland Security enterprise.”
The former captain of the Texas Department of Public Safety said he works seven days a week to save people’s lives. He’s trying to get the government to designate the cartels as foreign terrorist organizations.
He walked through the development of the cartels since 2006. He said the cartels act like a “true parallel government.”
There have been over 341,000 murders in Mexico since 2007, but people don’t know about them since the cartels murder journalists. The cartels are in over 50 countries around the world, so the demand is not just due to the U.S., despite claims it’s U.S. drug users driving demand. He showed a video of a long line of armed cartel members who looked like “terrorists,” not just “criminals.”
He said after he released the video he received death threats.
Jones said the cartels are using weapons that can’t be bought in the U.S., contrary to the claims that the weapons are coming from the U.S. He said people just blow the violence off, saying, “as long as it stays in Mexico.” He cited an illegal immigrant who joined the U.S. Border Patrol while secretly working for the cartels.
The human smugglers are now heavily armed far into Texas, Jones said, and drive trucks they steal from Texas. The Sinaloa cartel is primarily responsible for the fentanyl in Arizona. He showed a video of heavily armed human smugglers driving past an Arizona state trooper who ignored them.
No local people make meth anymore; it’s all done by the cartels, Jones said. He blamed leadership at the FBI. According to Jones, the Uniform Crime Data does not track a lot of the crime related to the border — transnational crime — so Americans don’t know how bad it is.
“Alejandro Mayorkas says your border is safe but he is lying to you,” Jones said.
Victor Avila, a former ICE Special Agent with expertise in child and human sex trafficking and cartel activities, was shot in an ambush and his partner assassinated. He said people get upset about an occasional mass murder in the U.S., but they occur every day in Mexico. Mexico has continued to get even worse over the last few years.
Avila explained how smuggling and trafficking are different. Smuggling victims pay a fee, he said, whereas trafficked victims are forced against their will. Avila said he encountered children being trafficked on the airplane, accompanied by adults who weren’t their parents. The former ICE special agent said he is furious that the government and the airlines go along with it. He said the Sinaloa cartel is the most powerful one in the world. He recommended the best way to go after the cartels is to go after their money. He said other countries protect their sovereignty, so the U.S. should be allowed to without getting attacked by the left.
Panel discussions featured the parents of children who died from taking fentanyl and ranchers discussing the violence. One of the ranchers said after Donald Trump became president, the trafficking through his property reduced to a trickle. The ranchers are part of Texas Border Volunteers, which assists law enforcement with securing the border.
Another panel discussion included several legislators, who also appeared at a press conference on Thursday before the event to declare a crisis on the border.
State Representative Steve Montenegro (R-Glendale), who immigrated legally to the U.S. from El Salvador, spoke of how his parents told him the U.S. was the greatest country in the world, where no one needed to go hungry and so wealthy that people pay to buy rocks.
However, the state representative said “the dream is dying.”
He said “[t]he media owns” the border security debate.
“This is now a health crisis and a public safety crisis. .. and it’s directly connected to the border.” He went on, “The fentanyl crisis is a border crisis. … Our children are not blue or red children, they are dying of fentanyl,” Montenegro said.
State Senator Janae Shamp (R-Surprise) expressed concern that data about the border isn’t available. She said of the 100 million fentanyl pills seized by federal agents over the past six months, 50 million were from Arizona.
State Senator Sonny Borelli (R-Lake Havasu) warned that although the legislature passed a bill providing $300 million for border security funding, Democratic Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs has said she intends to undo it. “Is it going to be people first, or politics?” he asked. Borelli noted how the mainstream media isn’t covering much of the border crisis.
State Representative Alex Kolodin (R-Cave Creek) said we need better civics education, so people understand that it’s not true that only the federal government can do anything about the border. Kolodin made some suggestions, such as providing more funding from the state to local law enforcement and using trespassing laws to offer illegal immigrants the option of self-deportation to reduce their prosecution.
Russell Newman, TAP’s Chief Legal Officer, said, “I’m p***** off because we are watching the destruction of our country.”
He explained how he sued Republican Governor Bill Lee of Tennessee over COVID-19 restrictions, but could not find an attorney who dared to represent him, so was forced to sue him pro se. He has filed lawsuits in multiple states, including Arizona over the border chaos, representing ranchers, property owners, and business owners. Newman said one of the Florida Keys is shut down due to being overrun with illegal immigrants.
Dr. Keith Rose, a tactical medicine physician who has lived all over the world, said we say that we would “never forget 9-11,” but we have. He said it was one of the biggest immigration failures. Unlike the U.S., plenty of other countries erect impenetrable borders. He went over the breakdown of the border under the Biden administration.
Rose said the largest transporter of fentanyl into the U.S. is the Sinaloa cartel. Over 109,000 people died from fentanyl last year, he said. He said the Sinaloa cartel is allied with the Albanian mafia. He said he believes it is working together to transport the fentanyl from China. He said the “shiny people” at the border are distracting law enforcement from the real problem. He urged people to take action, not just complain.
“I can point out a problem but then I gotta do something about it,” Rose said.
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Tom Homan” by The America Project.