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Border Showdown Between Congressman And Local Sheriff's

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/6823674/detail.html Border Showdown Between Congressman And Local Sheriff s POSTED: 8:10 pm MST February 7, 2006 KFOX February 7,
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 8, 2006

      Border Showdown Between Congressman And Local

      POSTED: 8:10 pm MST February 7, 2006


      February 7, 2006 -- El Paso County Sheriff Leo
      Samaniego and Hudspeth County Sheriff Arvin West
      delivered a message before a Congressional Homeland
      Security subcommittee on Tuesday. But U.S.
      Representative Silvestre Reyes (D) El Paso, believes
      the Sheriff's may have an agenda, and that some of the
      testimony presented "didn't make sense."

      "Tell them, it ends here, it ends now, there will be
      no more incursions," that's the message that T.J.
      Bonner, the President of the National Border Patrol
      Council delivered in his testimony.

      "They are basically running over us down there," said
      Sheriff West. "Why is Mexico just sitting back and
      allowing this to happen?" said Bonner.

      Taking center stage at the hearing was the January
      23rd incursion in Hudspeth County, where sheriff's
      deputies pursued three SUVs filled with narcotics.
      When one of those SUVs became stuck in the river
      sheriff's deputies say they were surrounded by Mexican

      "He was holding a large caliber weapon which appeared
      to be a 50-caliber weapon on a mounted tripod," said
      Deputy Sheriff Esequiel Legarreta, of the Hudspeth
      County Sheriff's Office.

      "Some of the things that I heard then and I heard
      today (Tuesday), just didn't make sense to me," said
      Rep. Reyes.

      The El Paso's Congressman testified after the
      sheriff's officials were finished that he had concerns
      with the story that was being told.

      "I spent all my adult life on the border. I have never
      seen a 50 -caliber machine gun on the back of any
      military style vehicle, and I am an Army veteran and I
      know what that looks like. Under stress, it can
      certainly look like a 50-caliber to somebody that's
      not familiar with it," said Rep. Reyes.

      Rep. Reyes caught many Sheriff's off guard when he
      said, "I'm concerned that a lot of the work that we
      have been doing in convincing the Mexican government
      that they should be a partner with us, if we don't
      deal in facts, and we do not deal in accuracy then
      that partnership may not take place," said Reyes.

      Shortly after that comment that El Paso Sheriff Leo
      Samaniego walked out of the hearing. Hudspeth County
      Sheriff Arvin West was asked by the sub-committee
      about his relationship with officials in Mexico, and
      he said it is very limited.

      "I have asked the Mexican Consulate, who by the way
      came to see me right after this incident, to give me a
      list of these people to make contact with for the
      simple reason that if we do have incidents like this,
      I can have a direct communication with them. I have
      yet to see that list," said Sheriff West.

      That remark concerned Rep. Reyes, who appeared to
      question Sheriff West's credentials.

      "If you don't establish those kinds of relationships,
      if you don't understand that's an important part of
      your duty on an international border, then you really
      have no business being in charge of any entity," said
      Rep. Reyes.

      "That's typical of him trying to white wash things,"
      West told KFOX later. "I don't know what his agenda is
      or why but there we have it."

      Congressman Reyes tells KFOX that he believes it's the
      Sheriff's who may have an agenda.

      "There are maybe some agenda's working here and that's
      why we need to be very clear about what happened, why
      it happened, and where we go from here," said Rep.

      Sheriff West says the agenda is clear.

      "We do have an agenda for all this, keeping our nation
      safe and keeping our community safe," said Sheriff

      Mexico insists that none of its military forces were
      involved in the January 23rd incursion, and named four
      suspects last week.

      T.J.Bonner says that he and the 10,000 agents he
      represents are asking lawmakers to immediately stop
      the $60 million a year in federal aid that is given to
      Mexico, until these border incursions are stopped.

      As for the border sheriff's, they will remain in
      Washington for the next few days. They will still be
      meeting with Texas Senators Cornyn and Hutchison as
      well as White House Staff.
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