A group of Texas ranchers has told Democrat President Joe Biden to go pound sand after the administration made an offer to cover property damage caused by illegal immigration and drug smuggling.
The Texas ranchers are rejecting an offer from the federal government to cover the damage, saying they fear the aid will come with strings attached.
Other ranchers don’t want to deal with the bureaucracy, while many are ineligible because of the program’s numerous restrictions.
The USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service began allowing farmers and ranchers to get reimbursements for more than two dozen types of damage including fencing repairs, livestock fatalities, irrigation, and crop planting, through July 5 last week.
“We understand that the field and farming infrastructure damages along the border are costly and have a negative impact on our natural resources that our farmers and ranchers work hard to conserve,” Kristy Oates, a state conservationist for the department’s Natural Resources Conservation Service in Texas, said.
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“Our field offices are ready to assist eligible producers with technical and financial assistance.”
“I hear daily from property owners who have suffered damages due to the border crisis,” said Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican whose district stretches along two-thirds of the Texas border said last week.
“These dollars will have real impact to our ranchers and farmers, who have footed the cost of this crisis.
“Providing this relief has been a priority for me, and I appreciate my colleagues for joining me in this effort to put our farmers first.”
“It looks good on paper. It looks good in the media,” said rancher John Paul Schuster.
“But in reality, it’s not servicing us right now.”
Page Day, a professional outfitter who has 20,000 acres outside Del Rio, said:
“I don’t have high hopes we’re going to get money or that it’s going to work because of the way they’ve worded it.
“I almost want to say it’s a political stunt by the government to say, ‘Look, we are helping the ranchers.’”
Billy Whaley of Val Verde County said:
“It’s probably going to be more trouble than it’s worth to apply because nothing is simple with the government.
“If I have to spend four or five hours filling out stuff and sending it in then have somebody come look at it, by the time they do that, we’ve already fixed another fence.
Ann Hodge said:
“We don’t want anything from the government.
“There’s going to be strings attached.
“You never know when they’re going to try and say they might need that money back now and have the power to take it away from us.”
Schuster added that you can’t put a price on safety telling a Washington Examiner reporter
“DPS called me and said foot chase headed towards your house. So we turned off all the TV and one light wife had on in bedroom.
“She went to bed, I am sitting still in recliner with dog and pistol by my side.”
Members of the South Texans’ Property Rights Association, a 500-member group whose properties encompass 5 million acres, told the Washington Examiner in April said that they were used to seeing people trespass on their land, but never to this extent.
Rancher Whit Jones said illegal immigrants ended up lost on his land 80 miles north of the border because they were kicked out of a smuggler’s vehicle and told to walk several miles around Border Patrol’s highway checkpoints in Hebbronville and Falfurrias, Texas, and were unable to find their way back to the road.
The Texas Farm Bureau, backed by farm bureaus in all 49 other states and the national bureau, wrote the secretaries at the departments of Agriculture, Homeland Security, and Interior asking for financial help and a security solution to stop the illegal entries into the United States.
“We have been listening to the concerns of our members and hearing how their livelihoods are being affected by the surge on the border.
Farm and ranch families, many of whom have owned land for generations, are bearing the brunt of this unprecedented influx and have never seen a more dire situation,” the farm bureaus wrote in a joint letter sent in June.
By September, more than 120 landowners near Del Rio, Texas, had agreed to let the state erect a fence on their property in an effort to keep out people and prevent damage to their fields, livestock, and infrastructure.