“My [county] judges are asking for one thing in particular,” Rep. Tony Gonzales (R-Texas) told Newsmax. “I sit in front of them and I go, ‘If I can do one thing for you, what would that be?’ And this is the task I’m getting. They go, ‘Tony, we need more body bags.’ And I’m going, ‘Body bags? Why do you need body bags?’ They go, ‘Migrants are dying at record numbers, and we don’t have body bags to handle the situation.’ “That’s what is happening on the ground,” Gonzales added.
The migration crisis along the southwestern border gives little sign of slowing down. On Wednesday, US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) announced that they had stopped more than 180,000 illegal immigrants trying to cross the frontier last month, the most in one month since April of 2000. May also recorded the third consecutive month of more than 170,000 apprehensions by CBP, the first time that has occurred since January-April 2000.
Though historical trends show the number of illegal immigrants trying to cross the border will slowly sink in the summer months, officials are suggesting that more who do attempt the crossing will not make it.
Webb County (Texas) Medical Examiner Dr. Corinne Stern, who tracks illegal immigrant deaths in 12 South Texas counties, told CNN Wednesday that 128 migrants had died so far in those countries this year, more than triple the number that had died at the same point last year (45).
“Typically our busiest months are July and August,” Stern said. “We’re not even there yet.”
All or part of six of the counties in Stern’s jurisdiction lies within Gonzales’ district, which extends over 29 counties from Western San Antonio to the outskirts of El Paso and comprises more than 800 miles of the border.
Gonzales is a frequent critic of the Biden administration’s handling of the border crisis and described Vice President Kamala Harris’ opposition to visit the border region Thursday as “disrespectful.”
“It’s disrespectful to districts like mine, it’s disrespectful to the people that live and work along the border that are having to deal with this crisis every single day …,” he said. “No member of Congress has been on the border more than I have. I’ve hosted 25 members, and I’ve never gotten any word from the vice president, or anyone from the administration, that wants to take any interest in what is happening.”