Border Patrol is trying to stop people from dying — and the Republican congressman is very unhappy about it.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Monday complained during an interview on One America News Network's "Real America" that the U.S. Border Patrol utilizes tools like rescue beacons to save the lives of migrants crossing the border who are in dire need of help.
"There's a new thing that was not there last I was," Gohmert said of his junket to the border with fellow Republican lawmakers. "It was a red button that you can go push, and Border Patrol would immediately come surging up and pick you up at that spot."
The "button" Gohmert appeared to be referring to are rescue beacons installed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol to provide life-saving aid to lost migrants making the dangerous crossing. The unit consists of a 30-foot-tall tower that, when activated, calls for medical assistance and triggers a strobe light to reveal their location. It also has drinkable water and the ability to charge a cell phone.
"Too often, migrants are abandoned by human smugglers in the harsh Texas terrain," Del Rio Sector Chief Patrol Agent Austin L. Skero II said in a December 2020 statement. "These beacons enhance Del Rio Sector’s capability to respond to those in distress and save lives."
According to the U.S. Embassy in Mexico, the Border Patrol found the remains of over 250 deceased migrants along the border in 2020. The Missing Migrants Project reports 77 deaths of migrants recorded so far in 2021.
In one case from 2020, Customs and Border Protection found the bodies of two men in the desert of Yuma, Arizona, along with a sign marked "HELP" and an arrow pointing north.
However, Gohmert said that instead of saving lives, Border Patrol should be denying aid.
"So, we've made it easier for people to get help once they cross illegally instead of making it tough," he told OAN. In many cases, however, migrants are crossing the border to seek asylum, which is legal.
Gohmert also falsely claimed that President Joe Biden has not discouraged migrants from coming to the United States.
"He's done nothing to disabuse people of the idea that, 'Just, just come on in, we're letting everybody in,'" Gohmert said.
However, Biden told ABC News in March that his message to prospective migrants is "don't come over," adding, "don't leave your town or city or community."
Nevertheless, Republicans and anti-immigrant hate groups have attacked Biden and other Democrats over the topic of immigration, frequently distorting the party's positions to allege support for "open borders" and "amnesty." Democrats have called for the reversal of harsh anti-immigrant policies implemented by Donald Trump and for a pathway to citizen for undocumented immigrants. Contrary to Republican claims, Democratic lawmakers have not called for "open borders."
From the April 5 edition of OANN's "Real America":
LOUIE GOHMERT: People have illegally taken over this country since Biden has been president. He's done nothing to disabuse people of the idea that, "Just, just come on in, we're letting everybody in." And these signs directing to asylum — they're not helping matters at all.
JENN PELLEGRINO, OANN: It really seems — we went down those same dirt roads as well, after dark, right around midnight and saw a number of migrants being apprehended. It seems like they have no concern that Border Patrol's there, of what's going to happen next. It's almost like they want to be caught by Border Patrol because they know the Biden administration's going to take care of them.
GOHMERT: Yes, and there's a new thing that was not there last I was. It was a red button that you can go push, and Border Patrol would immediately come surging up and pick you up at that spot. So, we've made it easier for people to get help once they cross illegally instead of making it tough.
But it appears that the Texas Department of Public Safety is actually the one entity that is discouraging people from coming across, whereas the Border Patrol — they would like to discourage it, but their orders are, "Just welcome 'em in, and make 'em as comfortable as possible."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.