By Noi Mahoney of FreightWaves
Several hundred people gathered in three border states Saturday to call for stricter immigration security, ending the cross-country “Take Our Border Back” convoy that traveled from Virginia to Texas last week.
Convoy organizers and supporters initially said as many as 700,000 vehicles would take part in three separate rallies in Arizona, California and Texas, including truckers who took part in recent protest convoys in Washington, D.C., and Canada, according to U.S. Rep. Keith Self, R-Texas.
While hundreds of thousands of vehicles never materialized as the convoy moved across the country, about 100 passenger vehicles, recreational vehicles and trucks towing campers arrived in Texas, according to NBC News.
The Texas rally occurred at the Cornerstone Children’s Ranch in the town of Quemado, about 20 miles outside of Eagle Pass. The daylong event included musical performances, vendors and speakers who voiced their concerns about illegal immigration.
“The mission here is the border, that’s what we’re here for,” said Trenis Evans, one of the speakers at the Quemado rally.
At another “Take Our Border Back” rally Saturday in San Ysidro, California, convoy organizer Scotty Saks said the border is “a national security crisis.”
“We have a human trafficking problem on the border in proportions that we’ve never imagined,” Saks told a crowd of about 200 people, according to the New York Post.
The “Take Our Border Back” convoy also gathered for a rally in Yuma, Arizona.
The rallies were held amid a feud between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and the Biden administration over border enforcement measures and jurisdictional authority.
The Texas National Guard seized control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass several weeks ago, and erected a razor wire barrier around it, limiting U.S. Border Patrol’s access to the area.
On Sunday, Abbott held a news briefing in Shelby Park accompanied by 13 Republican governors to discuss border and immigration issues.
“A state can defend itself and its citizens to protect their safety from the imminent danger that we are facing, and from an invasion of millions of people coming from across the globe into our country who are unaccounted for whatsoever,” Abbott said.
Abbott also said he is expanding Operation Lone Star, the controversial border security initiative he launched in 2021. The operation has included deploying Texas National Guard members along the Mexico border, installing a floating barrier in the Rio Grande River and initiating safety inspections on commercial trucks arriving at ports of entry from Mexico.
“As we speak right now, the Texas National Guard is undertaking operations to expand this effort,” Abbott said. “We’re not going to contain ourselves just to this park, we are expanding to further areas to make sure that we will expand our level of deterrence and denial of illegal entry into the United States.”