A congressman who spent this past weekend at the border with Mexico came back with a chilling story about a barrage of high-caliber gunfire that scattered U.S. Border Patrol agents while at least 40 illegal immigrants emerged from the weeds of the Rio Grande River.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, says he’s worried about what else may have come into the country as those border agents were occupied taking in and processing the illegal aliens from Central America. And he believes the gunshots were fired by smugglers more than likely as a diversion tactic and not meant to actually kill any U.S. border agents.
Yet, Gohmert says, he was not surprised that the gunfire, confirmed by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, drew no response from the White House. Same for leaders of both parties in Congress.
Other than a report by Fox News Monday, the story got no coverage from mainstream media outlets. Out of that silence, Gohmert hears a message.
“The Department of Homeland Security didn’t want an issue made of this, and if I were not out there on the ground in the area where this happened Friday night, you probably would have never heard of it because Homeland Security doesn’t want a big deal made out of it,” Gohmert told WND in a phone interview Tuesday. “Our president doesn’t want a big deal made out of it, our leaders in Congress don’t want to make a big deal out of it, because that would mean they would have to do more to secure our border.”
Gohmert said he arrived at the Texas border about 30 minutes after the shots rang out, and was able to get a first-hand account of what happened. He spent two days and two nights there, returning to Capitol Hill on Monday. It was at least his third trip to the border in the past few months, he said. But he did not expect to hear that Border Patrol agents were taking heavy machine-gun fire.
“In the case of a .50-caliber gun, the noise is so earth shattering that, unlike a .223-caliber round that can sometimes go unnoticed, it’s very clear – you know immediately it’s indeed gunfire,” he said.
He said he’s not surprised the high-caliber rifle fire met with a low-key response from official Washington.
“I understand there may be a more official position, that it was gunfire but that it may not have been directed at our guys,” Gohmert said. “In our case we were in a position where you could talk to people right there as it happened and get their stories before their superiors could help them with their stories.”
The gunfire broke out between 8 and 9 p.m. Friday, just before darkness descended on the area.
Gohmert said the border agents were positioned near two large oil or gas tanks. There will often be two or three vehicles parked there because it’s a good place to interview people coming across the border. It’s less than 50 yards from the banks of the river.
“They said they were hearing .50-caliber rounds and ricochets came up in their direction and they immediately sought cover, and they remained behind something protecting them until it stopped,” Gohmert said, relating the story as it was told to him by the agents. “Our Border Patrol has nothing to stop a .50-caliber round, and when it stopped they immediately came from behind their cover and 40 to 50 people came up from the water.”
Gohmert said he believes the purpose of the shots “was to cause our Border Patrol to have to seek cover and clearly they did not want anyone seeing or stopping what was coming across. And then they will be tied up processing the illegals and so they didn’t have the manpower to go through the brush and the trees, the heavy brush along the river banks there, to see what else may have accompanied the 40 or so illegal immigrants that gave rise to the .50-caliber fire.
“We’re told they were not firing directly at our agents, but they were firing toward them, in their general direction, and caused them to seek cover,” Gohmert continued. “They weren’t firing at but toward, in the general area and they accomplished apparently what they wanted, which was to keep them (border agents) from seeing what had crossed over the border after the illegals.”
The Obama administration has said the numbers of illegal crossings have begun to slow down, and Democrats in Congress such as Rep. Joachin Castro, D-Texas, have lashed out at Texas Gov. Rick Perry for sending 1,000 state National Guard troops to help patrol the border. Castro, the brother of Obama’s secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, and son of a woman who helped found the radical Chicano socialist group Council for La Raza, called Perry’s move a “militarization” of the border that is unwarranted by crime statistics in the border areas, which he says show no increase or cause for concern.
“Militarizing our border is the wrong response to the arrival of children,” Castro said in a July 21 email to Politico. “I remain hopeful that our state can provide a more helpful response than to send armed soldiers to greet children seeking refuge from violence.”
But Gohmert doesn’t buy that argument. He doesn’t believe all those crossing over are innocent young children seeking refuge from violence. The majority are teenage boys with unknown backgrounds, and he praises the actions that Texas has taken to help protect the state from potential criminal elements.
“The administration will say the numbers are down now. Well, I would submit that the reason the numbers are down is because Texas has been doing something about it,” Gohmert told WND.
“They’ve spent millions on boats going up and down the river, they’ve brought in the Texas Rangers, we’ve have already been supplementing the federal government with significant state assets and if the coyotes [smugglers] know they can’t get the people they’re smuggling to the border then they won’t bring them. So the president can say the numbers are down but he’s taking the credit for what the state has accomplished. Make no mistake about our Border Patrol agents, they are doing a great job with what they’ve been given, but they need help and they’re not getting it from this administration in the White House.”
Gohmert also addressed the role that the Texas National Guard will be playing at the border when those troops arrive over the next 30 days. Some conservatives have criticized Perry’s deployment of the National Guard because they haven’t been given authority to arrest or detain illegals.
“The lack of authority to detain people will not be a problem so long as they can meet them on the border and refuse them entry into the United States if they are attempting to come in illegally,” Gohmert said.