By Phillip Williams
Two speakers at the recent monthly meeting of East Texans for Liberty described how illegal immigration over the U.S.-Mexico border has become a major problem, and one of them said that "Chinese are one of the major groups coming across."
Ashton Oravetz of Texas Border Volunteers, Inc., and Oscar Martinez, a retired U.S. Border Patrol agent, addressed the group Sept. 14 at Disabled American Veterans post No.204 in Gilmer.
Oravetz's group says in a pamphlet that it conducts "watches on private property in south Texas. Trespassers are reported directly to the United States Border Patrol at no expense to the American taxpayer."
The pamphlet describes the group's mission as "assisting law enforcement officials with securing the border, upholding the rule of law and educating the general public with regard to immigration issues."
Donations to the non-profit 501 (C) (4) organization, says the pamphlet, "are used to purchase equipment such as night vision and thermal imaging scopes."
Oravetz said his group has permission to be on about two million acres, but some of that area is too far away to man. Volunteers work from about 6 p.m. to 2 a.m., and those with concealed handgun licenses are armed with pistols, he said.
Presenting several slides to illustrate his point, Oravetz said America's border security "is terrible" and "we're being invaded."
"It's getting much more dangerous," he asserted. "Corpus (Christi) is pretty much gone" and the city of Victoria will follow suit in two years, Oravetz predicted.
"We have gangs here in East Texas," he added. "They run Houston."
Showing a slide of a 14-year-old El Salvadoran youth who was caught, Oravetz said "Salvadorans are extremely violent." And "the bad news is" that 25 to 30 percent of all El Salvador's citizens live in the United States.
In addition, the former Tyler Junior College professor said, all seven border patrol stations in the Rio Grande Valley have been attacked in the past 18 months.
"People coming up are much worse than they were four or five years ago as far as arms," he said.
Oravetz also showed slides of damaged fences in the border area, saying illegal immigrants will run trucks through them. They also start fires, wreck wells and sexually assault women, he said, showing a slide of a bra and panties hanging from a tree.
"There's trash all over the place," too, Oravetz said. "They just trash everything."
Mexicans comprise less than one third of the illegal immigrants, who mainly come from Central America, but Chinese are among the major groups, the border volunteer said.
"Some of them (Chinese) are crooks," but others were "misinformed" what they would do here, he said. Chinese girls ages 16-19 "thought they were being brought here for jobs," but were taken to brothels instead, he said.
"The Chinese will not take them (any illegal immigrants to the U.S.) back," so they are locked up and given a court date, he noted.
Meantime, ISIS has a headquarters in Juarez, Mexico, and many people from the Middle East are coming through the border, Oravetz added. Other illegal immigrants include many gang members and cartel soldiers, he observed.
Showing a slide of a bag of marijuana, he said the cartel members put large bales of the drug on their backs and use duct tape to secure it.
Some who try to illegally enter the United States die of snakebite or dehydration, he said. Showing photos of bodies, Oravetz said some 128 persons were found dead in 2014, mostly on ranches, which means probably 500 others died and will not be found.
Border volunteers "save a lot of people" by reporting them because some are nearly dehydrated, he said.
In the meantime, deaths of others have helped bankrupt Brooks County, which has only 7,500 population, due to the law which requires autopsies, he said.
"The autopsies are a killer," costing about $3,000 each, and the county also has "tremendous" welfare costs due to illegal immigration, Oravetz said. Brooks County is now so strapped financially that "they're not going to prosecute anything but murder," he said.
He also said illegal immigration impacts five areas in general: national security, crime, economic, environmental and disease. Concerning the last item, he said border patrol agents get scabies and tuberculosis.
And the Obama Administration has instructed, "Don't do anything" to groups of five or less who come in illegally, so smaller groups are coming, Oravetz said. But they cannot escape from Texas Department of Public Safety helicopters, the speaker added.
The DPS can fire back at shots from Mexico, but border patrol agents cannot, Oravetz said.
"If we just enforce the law on the books now, it'd be better," he said, but "The Obama Administration won't do anything" although "these are illegal people breaking the law to come here."
He praised former Gov. Rick Perry for putting DPS officers on the border, but said Perry could have given the National Guard the same power. And state officials, who Oravetz termed "RINOs" (Republicans in Name Only) do not want to do anything about the immigration problem, the speaker charged.
"Building a fence'll help," but the nation must also "have the will to stop" the illegal activity, he said.
"We're in the United States and you can't even go on your own property" safely near the border, Oravetz asserted. He told of one man who cannot send his children outside without shotguns.
Martinez, meantime, said he was "not anti-immigration," but for legal immigration. Saying he spent 20 years with the border patrol, he said officials in Washington "are not supporting our immigration laws," but breaking them all.
"No way in hell is it (immigration at the Mexican border) under control," Martinez declared. He said he had read that the Obama Administration had deported more illegal immigrants than any other, "and you know what? That's a bunch of bull. What they're doing is playing with numbers" because "deported means they were apprehended" and charged.
Martinez said more criminal aliens are being released into American communities than ever, and that Chinese paid $30,000-50,000 each to be smuggled into the United States.
Big industry is involved in that because "they can get cheap labor out of it," he said.
Martinez also alleged that "our administration is more willing to assist illegal aliens than to assist our countrymen." He said the 10,000 Syrians that President Obama wants to accept will receive medical examinations.
Saying it is time "we do something" about illegal immigrants, Martinez said "agents are not being allowed to do their jobs. They're being told to just turn them loose."
Unless something is done, "our whole system's going to cave in," he added, saying Mexican workers in the United States pay no taxes, but send $22 billion back to Mexico while "we spend more than that taking care of them."
Said ET4L member Chuck Mears, who introduced the speakers, "It's very, very expensive what is happening at the border to us as taxpayers."
Besides hearing Oravetz and Gonzales, the ET4L audience of about 25 also heard a candidate for the Republican nomination for Upshur County tax assessor-collector, Mary Anne Farrow, and James Watts, speaking for his father David Watts Jr., a candidate for the GOP nomination for state representative.
Farrow said she was probably the only current employee of the tax office who is "trained on practically everything that is there," and that she has worked in its Gladewater branch office two days weekly for the last two years.
She said citizens have complained that the tax office is not as "well-mannered or as friendly as it should be." Farrow also said she will cross-train all employees to do multiple functions since "we probably are not as cross-trained as we could be."
She said that was an issue in keeping the Gladewater branch open.
Noting she works with tax suits the tax office files, she said she also has a background of working in law offices and can "see what the problems are." Farrow said she wanted to work more closely with attorneys who file such suits because money "is slipping through the cracks."
Watts meantime said his father favors "less government and more liberty," ending abortion and eliminating the "corrupt and twisted" property tax system. David Watts Jr. also favors border security and the constitutonal right to carry a gun wherever one wishes, his son said.