From the Right



The recent shutdown of the U.S. Government has brought great attention to the Southern Border. President Trump shut down the government when he was unable to attain funding to secure vulnerable areas on the Southern Border. Though the shutdown affects only a fourth of the federal workforce and according to many, those affected support the President’s plan to increase border security by installing barriers in unprotected areas, the media has been reporting that there is no crisis and the border is quite safe. Fast forward to reporter Jim Acosta who, standing next to a steel fence, declared the border safe and no visual sign of anyone trying to cross the border. The irony of that report has been substantially covered, so I will leave well enough alone.

The border consists of the metropolitan areas on both sides of the border. El Paso includes Juarez, Laredo includes Nuevo Laredo, Brownsville includes Matamoros, etc. And when considering the border in its’ comprehensive geography, the border is one of the most dangerous places in the world. The inherent peril surrounding the border is a result of the cartels (gangs) operating in those border towns. I was told that the Gulf Cartel has two factions; the Matamoros and the Reynosa gangs and of the two, the Reynosa faction is the most powerful and the most brutal. There are multiple cartels that operate throughout the Southern Border and their presence creates a particularly dangerous place, for private citizens, our own border patrol agents and those seeking to cross the border illegally.

The border is now not only a place for drug smuggling, but a conduit for human trafficking. Fentanyl, an opioid 60 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine is becoming an emerging threat where even small amounts can be fatal. The border patrol suspects that one in three of every females making the trek to the border are raped. Some border experts say that number may be more like 70-80%. These situations support the President’s conclusion that we have a humanitarian crisis. We need to immediately urge our lawmakers, particularly those vacationing in Puerto Rico, to support the funding, which most did, by the way, before President Trump assumed office. By securing our border we can hope to curtail the cartel activity and see corruption come to a crawl. By making it difficult to cross the border, we might save some young ladies from the horrible treatment they currently experience as they will not initiate the journey.

This will not stop smuggling or illicit behavior. But first we impede the conditions that facilitate it and then work on curbing the appetite in the United States that fuels the criminal behavior. I would ask each of you who oppose securing the border if you would leave your house unlocked, car unlocked, gates open to welcome all to your home. I think the answer is clear – your safety would be at risk. Countries without borders, cease to exist and the result is chaos.

MARIAN KNOWLTON is the Atascosa County Republican Party Chairman and the Committeewoman for the State Republican Executive Committee for Senate District 19. You may E-mail her at

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