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Press Release

Message from Sheriff Austin Garrett on U.S. Southern Border Visit


Yesterday morning, I had the distinct privilege to join United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN) at a press conference in Nashville, Tennessee, to discuss our recent trip to Eagle Pass, Texas. Our delegation also included Sullivan County Sheriff Jeff Cassidy, Wilson County Sheriff Robert Bryan, Lawrence County Sheriff John Myers, 12th Judicial District Attorney Courtney Lynch, 26th Judicial District Attorney Jody Pickens, Carter County Mayor Patty Woodby, and Knox County Mayor Glenn Jacobs.

I was invited by Senator Hagerty to personally see firsthand, at no cost to Hamilton County taxpayers, the crisis our Nation is experiencing at our southern border and how it pertains to illegal immigration and the smuggling of narcotics such as cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl that are flowing across our border.

Senator Hagerty’s invitation gave me the rare opportunity to see and hear from other sheriffs, troopers, border patrol agents, and Texas Army National Guard personnel about the unprecedented issues they are facing and how these heroic men and women are fighting each day to protect our Nation’s border and security.

Our Nation was founded by immigrants and to this day, American citizenship is a priceless gift. What we witnessed at the border should not be confused with those who are seeking a better life for them and their families and are following the proper immigration process.

At Eagle Pass, we learned there have been individuals documented from over 150 countries who have entered our country illegally, many of which have a violent past or association. While there, our delegation spent two days meeting with ranchers, Texas law enforcement and National Guardsmen, and community leaders affected by illegal immigration, drug cartels, and the smuggling of illegal narcotics. I spoke to one rancher who has had his ranch repeatedly vandalized by illegal aliens who are stealing from his lands, including breaking into his home and barns. He also talked about young women being raped during their crossing on his ranch as well as homicides.

What our delegation witnessed at the border is an unprecedented crisis that will have serious repercussions on our Nation’s security and the well-being of our citizens for generations. We were shown documentation from Border Patrol agents detailing the alarming number of violent criminals who are crossing our border unchecked who will potentially commit untold numbers of crimes and potential lawless actions in every state and county in America. In many small communities, these acts of violence and drug trafficking are wreaking havoc on local law enforcement’s resources

and capabilities.

To help our local community better understand the issues we are facing at the border and here at home, this afternoon I will be joining Senator Bill Hagerty at a public event at the Walden Club for community and business leaders to ask questions and learn about how the border crisis is affecting our county from a local perspective. Afterwards, I will be hosting a roundtable event at my office with Senator Hagerty, sheriffs and district attorney’s from across our region to offer a firsthand perspective of the magnitude of illegal activity and poison infiltrating our state from the border.

The unmitigated disaster we are seeing unfold at the border not only affects the states that border Mexico; It is a crisis that is affecting every city, every county, every citizen, and every family in this country.

You elected me Sheriff to keep you and your family safe. The men and women of the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office are committed to your safety and working with our local, state, and federal partners to ensure your security and quality of life in Hamilton County. As always, thank you for the privilege and honor to serve you as your Sheriff.

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Phone: (423) 209-7000