Some ranchers in Texas have turned down a USDA offer to pay for property damage from ongoing streams of illegal immigrants and drug smugglers crossing their land.
According to a Washington Examiner story published Feb. 28 at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/texas-ranchers-turn-down-biden-aid-for-illegal-immigration-damages, the rejections are coming from fear “aid will come with strings attached and won’t help with the underlying problems at the border.”
On Feb. 16 the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) in Texas announced an initiative offering financial assistance to farmers and ranchers along the southern border currently impacted by damage to fields and farming infrastructure, including fencing and water structures.
At that time, Kristy Oates, NRCS state conservationist in Texas, said, “We understand that the field and farming infrastructure damages along the border are costly and have a negative impact on our natural resources that our farmers and ranchers work hard to conserve. Our field offices are ready to assist eligible producers with technical and financial assistance.”
In its Feb. 28 story, the Washington Examiner said the payments were offered to landowners “for a wide array of losses they sustained due to a surge in trespassers traveling from the border north into Texas…” The story went on to say the offer “is being met with skepticism and calls for President Joe Biden to secure the border.”
The WE went on to report, “Under the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service began last week allowing farmers and ranchers to claim reimbursements for more than two dozen types of costs sustained, including fencing repairs, livestock fatalities, irrigation, and crop planting, through July 5. The service has not disclosed how much funding it will make available or how many people it expects to apply to the new program.”
A number of ranchers interviewed said they’re ineligible for reimbursement because they’ve already paid for the repairs to be made. The story went on to explain that “the program only applies to unrepaired damages.”
Of the six ranchers interviewed by the Examiner, five said they aren’t planning to apply for the funds because “they think it will be more work than it is worth, do not trust Washington, or have already paid for repairs and are ineligible for reimbursement because they took action.”
The flow of illegal immigrants is made up of mostly men, and the Examiner reported in a Feb. 24 story at https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/del-rio-is-new-center-of-border-crisis-with-31-000-migrants-stopped-in-january, “Last month, 30,773 people were encountered illegally crossing the border in Border Patrol’s Del Rio sector, which spans 240 miles of the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico boundary. For each of the town of Del Rio’s 34,673 residents, one noncitizen was taken into custody.”
The story quoted a Border agent who said, “For the most part, if you’re from Haiti, from West Africa, if you are from Cuba or Venezuela, they basically decided you’re going to cross through Del Rio. That’s it. And they’ve set up the infrastructure. They have people to speak, whatever extra, whatever languages they might need to help facilitate that,” Anfinsen said. “The cartels decide where everybody goes, and we’re just left to react to it.”