Open letter to Texas Governor Greg Abbott

Southside Matt
Texas Governor Greg AbbottState of Texas

Dear Governor Abbott:

For months you have bemoaned the lack of security being provided by the Federal government along the Texas-Mexico border. You have personally set the tone for Texans to protect our own and have taken the lead by deploying our state resources to protect the state as a whole. For this, you should be commended.

Despite your efforts, you have admitted that the border remains porous and unsecured even with Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers and National Guard soldiers deployed there. You have continued to expand your efforts to do Fed’s job by shoring up the border as much as you can. This includes calling upon other law enforcement agencies and accepting assistance from out-of-state groups to patrol the border for us. You have basically admitted that Operation Lone Star is successful but also needs assistance.

In essence, by doing this, you are loosely using our state’s own Castle Doctrine, § 9.31 Texas Penal Code, for our protection.

Since the days of Santa Ana, Tejas (Texas today) has always been home to a People who take pride in our self-sufficiency. This includes protecting our property. As such, it is natural that the Castle Doctrine is written the way it is.

With all of the aforementioned, an article in the Epoch Times raises concerns that there may be a misappropriation of priorities among DPS hierarchy about the protection of private lands.

It was publicized last week that a militia was headed to the border to assist. Brackettville and Kinney County recently made headlines for incidents worse than the Del Rio bridge situation last month. Being rural, Kinney County has become a prime path for migrants entering the country illegally, as you are well aware. With ranches and wide-open fields, the area provides a route for these migrants to take in their effort to avoid detection.

It is suggested that, of the 4,000 who evaded CBP capture in the Del Rio sector for October 18 – 24, most would have passed through Kinney County on their way to San Antonio.
Migrants on Dusty

Cole Hill, a rancher in Kinney County whose property sits about 35 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border, is featured in the article telling his story of having the migrants pass through his property uninvited. Hill stated that, despite past years that would involve 25 or so trespassers annually and some months with nobody, traffic across his property has increased dramatically since January. He has found the fence along his property line cut, sometimes from top-to-bottom and at least once with an entire section removed. He has encountered groups of men numbering upwards of six at a time while working his ranch during the day. Hill reports that he has been victimized by men in full camouflage clothing seemingly attempting to enter his home, “banging on the walls and peering in the windows.” He said that his ranch workers’ house has been broken into, and that his own truck suffered a destroyed ignition as migrants attempted to steal it.

Evidenced by photos that accompanied the article, Hill’s experiences are likely typical in Kinney County and throughout the area. Trail cam photos show upwards of a dozen or more men traveling across private property, dressed in camouflage and sometimes seeming to carry weapons.

It is acknowledged that DPS and the National Guard do what they can to patrol these ranches and that they have even been given authority by the landowners to traverse the properties for enforcement efforts. One would hope that this would have deterred those attempting to enter and travel through Texas while avoiding CBP, but it obviously has not. With that, the numbers of migrants that are making their way through these ranches are overwhelming for law enforcement alone.

Because enforcement forces are spread so thin, the ranchers and others actually had welcomed the reports that the militia was headed their way.

Contrary to popular conception, the militias who offer their services, such as Patriots for America which is profiled in the article, often have their ranks formed by well-trained individuals. The leaders of these groups are well-aware of the connotation that the title “militia” has in society and want to avoid furthering those notions, and actually desire to turn this reputation around. In that spirit, the militia groups often provide the equivalent of security services in situations such as that in Kinney County, only with more professionalism, training, knowledge, and skills than the licensed security companies.

In an incident described in the article posted to the Times website, Hill had invited four men to his property to help protect against trespassers. That September night, the men caught seven trespassers and detained them until DPS could arrive to take the trespassers into custody and charge them.

Instead of receiving thanks for protecting the state and the nation against illegal entries, Hill received a call from DPS accusing the men of “kidnapping” and stating that they would no longer respond to Hill’s ranch to pick up detained illegal aliens. The excuse provided by DPS was the fact that it would tarnish their reputation when it could have been spun to show the cooperative effort between law enforcement and the community.

Patriots for America made the fact known that they were headed to Kinney County to provide similar protection. In advance, Sam Hall, the group’s leader, had coordinated with Coe to advise of where they would post themselves to act as a deterrent in high traffic areas. Hall even admitted that his group knows their limitations acknowledging that they are not authorized to arrest and that they can only “disrupt and frustrate until the county or DPS get there.”

Despite these efforts, DPS apparently felt that their “right of enforcement” had been infringed. Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe reported that he had received a call from DPS similar to the one that Hill had received.

According to Sheriff Coe, an unnamed DPS official called and threatened to “pull all my resources out” of Kinney County if the militia was allowed to proceed. Even after Sheriff Coe confirmed “They’re not working for me. They’re not deputized. They’re just here on their own accord. And they have that right to be here,” DPS threatened to make it so that the Sheriff’s Department and the militia were the only support that Kinney County residents would have in trying to stop the flow of illegal migrants through their properties.

While the Castle Doctrine in Texas specifies that it can be imposed in the case of a breach or attempted breach of a “habitation,” or where the actor using force for protection believes that such a breach is imminent, those in Texas are authorized to detain persons who are observed committing a breach of the peace or a felonious crime. Even though trespassing can, at most, be a Class A Misdemeanor and not a felony, it has been determined in Case Law to be a breach of the peace and, therefore, eligible for detainment by someone observing the act.

With that in mind, troopers were right to not attempt to charge with kidnapping the four men who detained seven illegal aliens on Hill’s property in September while awaiting DPS troopers’ arrival.

Considering his past experiences, as they have likely been reported to law enforcement and are recorded, Hill and those four who joined him in protecting his property would be expected to have a reasonable belief that the seven detained were intent on entering his habitation or vehicle.

These incidents indicate that the citizens and residents of Kinney County, even if aided by other parties such as militias like Patriots for America, are merely exercising their rights to protect personal property under the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, and under Texas Law.

Since approximately 1830, Texans have banded together for protection. It is from this spirit that we became our own nation, and that spirit has continued on into our statehood with the United States.

This spirit makes it even more concerning that our own State Troopers would take such a stance in this situation. It seems, based on DPS’s reaction, that they are more concerned with the appearance that they are not making as much of a difference as they would hope than in protecting the state’s residents and citizens, even if they receive civilian assistance in doing so.

As indicated earlier in this letter, this was an opportunity for DPS to promote and publicize cooperation between the community and law enforcement. In the “day-and-age” of a great divide between the two, this was a chance to show that the two can work together, with each respecting the boundaries of the other, and to work to “mend the fences.”

Instead, it seems that DPS has chosen to continue and expand the divide by ignoring property owners’ rights to protect their own property and to, instead, allow their feelings to be hurt because they were not the ones exercising the original detainment. To make matters worse, they seemingly threatened the men protecting Hill’s property despite the exercise of their rights under Texas Law. Adding insult to injury, DPS seems to be telling Kinney County that, if DPS can’t have total control of the situation and has to allow the property owners their rights, then DPS will leave the county to their own resources to protect against literally thousands of trespassers whom you have personally committed to stopping.

It is with great hope in submitting this letter, granted publicly, that you will personally review the calls described and take action to ensure that DPS understands that our troopers work for the People and that they should accept, not threaten, their assistance in protecting this Great State!

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Hailing from the Great State of Texas, South Side Matt monitors government for compliance with the Constitutional values that founded the United States, and works to maintain liberty for all in that spirit. His articles focus on furthering this cause, but also occasionally go "off track" into lighter topics such as cooking, general life and others.

Fort Worth, TX

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