Canadian County Sheriff Chris West recently spent three days in El Paso, Texas along with sheriffs from across the country, and members of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Border Patrol.  In all, members of 5 sheriff’s organizations (National Sheriffs Association, the Western States Sheriffs Association and Major County Sheriffs of America, Southwest Border Sheriffs, Texas Border Sheriffs) met to discuss the ongoing debacle, and national security situation at our southern border.  The nation’s unsecured southern border continues to be a national security threat, as well as a public safety risk to all Americans.  Sheriffs from across the country once again gathered to voice their strong support for common sense change to our border security policies.  In El Paso, they heard first-hand accounts from Border Patrol agents and border county Sheriffs about the unchecked tide of illegal crossings of migrants from dozens of Countries into the United Sates.

"We need every Sheriff to understand that illegal immigration's costs to communities are real.  Not knowing who is entering , and their intentions , is a risk and an unexpected cost to ongoing social, educational and safety factors," explained Jonathan Thompson, Executive Director, and CEO of the National Sheriffs' Association ( NSA).  “NSA leadership, including Sheriff Chris West of Canadian County, used their experience, credibility and voice to once again call out the failed border policies burdening every county and state,” said Thompson. 

As Second Vice President of the National Sheriffs Association, Sheriff West is a member of the NSA’s Homeland Security Committee and Border Security Committee.  As such, West has been able to tour and learn first-hand from working Border Patrol agents, Sheriff’s Offices from across the border and from the U.S. citizens who are personally impacted by the tide of illegal immigration into the country.  Over the past several years, West has been on the ground at the southern border in McAllen, Texas; Eagle Pass and El Paso, Texas; Cochise and Yuma Counties in Arizona, and in San Diego, California. 

“The never-ending wave of illegal immigrants into our country is of major concern to me.  Many, if not most of the people coming into the U.S. are simply processed through multi-million dollar per month processing centers, and then shipped off to who knows where inside and across our nation.  During my time as a member of the border security committee, I’ve personally seen the unaccompanied minor children who are often times released to completely unvetted adult males, and other persons, who drive off into the sunset with these children; maybe never to be seen again.  It’s extremely concerning,” said Chris West, Canadian County Sheriff.

While the southern border between the United States and Mexico gets most of the media attention, West says the northern border and coastal ports are being penetrated as well.

“Information we get from our federal counterparts dealing with this each and every day tell us that the northern border, which is far thinner in manpower is becoming more of an issue every day, with upstate New York being one of the emerging hotspots,” said West.

While some may want to know how this impacts us in Oklahoma, West says it’s all connected, and includes both the Mexican cartels, as well as Chinese mafia organizations, ideologists, terror organizations and other transnational criminal organizations working together to exploit the United States, it’s infrastructure and U.S. citizens.

“These criminals are smuggling some of the worst people on the planet into our country, they operate in human trafficking, slavery, sex slavery and in other criminal activity.  The Chinese are responsible for operating a large majority of the black-market marijuana industry that leaves Oklahoma and is shipped to locations across the United States.  They also operate major counterfeiting operations in everything from tennis shoes to brand name clothing, jewelry, and handbags.  They also operate sophisticated bank fraud and extortion operations inside the United States,” West said.

During the El Paso meeting, Sheriffs were taken to Gate 36 at the El Paso, Texas/Juarez, Mexican border where they were able to interact with Texas DPS-Highway Patrol Troopers and Texas National Guard personnel working as part of Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s “Operation Lone Star” mission to secure the southern border between the US and Mexico.

West continues to be fearful of widespread violence and the chance that coordinated terror events could spring out across the country.  He believes not enough is being said to the American people about the truth of how vulnerable the country is to major attacks and acts of violence.

“I met with a group of citizens in Kingfisher on Monday and shared with them what I know about the border.  I told them that I hope and pray that I’m wrong about what I believe could happen, but I feel its vitally important to tell people as much as possible to keep them accurately informed.   I told them If you see something that doesn’t look right, you’re probably right, so call the police,” said West.

Sheriff West’s participation as a member of the NSA’s border security committee is made possible through funding by the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Association.

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PHOTOS:  (1) Sheriff West with Texas DPS Troopers and illegal Immigrant in custody (2) National Sheriffs Association,  Border Security Committee members along the New Mexico state border with Juarez, Mexico pictured left to right: Sheriff Eric Severson, Executive Committee member; 1VP Keiran Donahue, US Border Patrol El Paso Sector Operations Chief Mike Tellez and 2VP Sheriff Chris West


Chris West

Sheriff, Canadian County