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On Patrol In Edwards County Texas

by U.S. Congressman Ted Poe

In west Texas, where the rattlesnake rules the hard, rugged land is Edwards County. It is a sparsely populated place because not much grows on that dusty soil. Local landmarks include Devil's Sinkhole, a massive bat cave and a place called Bullhead. This land used to be the home of the fierce Lipan Apache Indians, dating all the way back to the 1600s.

This county, near the Texas-Mexico border, is the size of Delaware. On patrol of this massive place of over 2,000 square miles are only three deputy sheriffs. One of them was Gilmer Hernandez.

Recently, Deputy Hernandez was on patrol about midnight, alone. He came across a truck that had run a red light in the small quiet town of Rocksprings, Texas. He pulled the vehicle over and approached it. He noticed numerous people lying on the floor of the truck.

One thing led to another, and the vehicle sped off. Hernandez says the driver turned around and tried to run him down, so he fired numerous times at the vehicle. He shot out the tires. So the vehicle stopped and the occupants, they fled into the darkness. All except one, who was lying down on the floor, hiding in the back, wounded by a ricochet.

Deputy Hernandez immediately called the sheriff, Donald Letsinger. He immediately showed up, along with the Texas Rangers, to do routine follow-up work.

But then the Federal Government shows up and takes over the investigation. The Mexican Government is notified that an illegal from Mexico has been wounded in the United States.

Using poor law enforcement investigation techniques, the illegals are all interviewed together, but still give conflicting stories at a later trial.

After the dust settled, the Feds filed charges on Deputy Hernandez for firing a gun at the van. After being tried by a zealous prosecutor, Hernandez was convicted in Federal court. He is in jail waiting to be sentenced. And, yes, Madam Speaker, by the same Prosecutor's Office that prosecuted Compean, and Ramos.

Everyone in his hometown of Rocksprings, Texas has sided with Deputy Hernandez. They are taking care of his family.

But once again, our Federal Government has taken the other side, the wrong side of the border war. Our government is more concerned about illegals in the van than they are about the safety of Deputy Hernandez.

And get this: Our Federal Government even gave these illegals green cards and allowed them to stay in the United States.

Madam Speaker, this ought not to be. Deputy Hernandez did everything a normal person would have done in these circumstances, including immediately reporting the event.

Why is our government so relentless and zealous in prosecuting border protectors and not protecting the border?

Why does our government work backroom deals with illegals to convict our law officers?

Why does it seem the Federal Government is so quick to cooperate with Mexico to thwart border security?

And why does it allow these illegals more consideration than it does American peace officers?

Gilmer Hernandez is 25 years of age. He is married and has a young child. He makes $21,000 a year being a lawman in rough west Texas.

It is disturbing. This trend is disturbing. Our government is saying to peace officers on the border, don't protect yourself on this border because if you do, you will not get protection from the government. And to the illegals that come in and are caught, the Federal Government is saying to them, “Fear not. We are from the Federal Government and we are here to help you.”

Looks like another case of the Federal Government continuing to swoop in and save the day for the illegals who cross into American land.

The American government needs to gets on the right side, the American side of the border war.

And that's just the way it is.

Update: Gilmer Hernandez was sentenced by a Federal court to one year and a day and given a $5000 dollar fine. Local residents are petitioning for his release.


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