CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Nueces County Sheriff J.C. Hooper will join former President Donald Trump, Texas Governor Greg Abbott, and other invited officials in a border summit Wednesday in Edinburgh. The meeting is scheduled for 2 p.m.
“Any sheriff that has an opportunity to have an audience with an ex-president, whether it’s Trump or President Obama, I think you should jump at that opportunity,” said Hooper.
The sheriff says Nueces County is starting to experience some effects of the increasing numbers of migrants who’ve made it through the border into South Texas.
“What happens 150 miles from here on that border directly affects all of South Texas, including Nueces County,” says Hooper. “We’re already experiencing problems related to the human trafficking with fences being torn down, gates being torn down, and stolen trucks being stashed on ranchers’ property out in the Agua Dulce area and other rural areas.”
Hooper says the department has been cooperating with the Border Patrol by sending deputies and tracking dogs to help search trains heading to Houston.
Hooper was among more than a dozen South Texas sheriffs who attended a town hall meeting, June 1, in Edna (Jackson County) about 100 miles south of Houston. The topic of discussion was what to do when migrants show up on residents’ doorsteps or camp out on their property.
“We’ve had a lot of ranchers who’ve held migrants at gunpoint and called us to take care of them,” said Jackson County Sheriff A. J. Louderback. “Well, that’s all right, but please keep your finger off that trigger.”
Some residents wanted to know if they could volunteer to help law enforcement in apprehending migrants. One Sheriff said, “The liability issues are too great. We can’t just hand out guns and badges like they did in the old days.”
Jackson County and several others near Houston are part of Governor Greg Abbott’s disaster declaration plan because Houston has long been the South Texas hub for human trafficking and drug trafficking by the Mexican cartels.
Hooper says he disagrees with some other South Texas officials who object to the governor’s demand that they arrest and jail migrants. They say they don’t have room.
“We’re at 100 percent capacity,” says Hooper. “But if someone gets arrested in Nueces County, I’m going to find a way to house them. That’s my obligation as a sheriff.”