On a recent trip to the U.S.-Mexico border, Rep. Kat Cammack, R-Fla., saw young girls who had been gang-raped on the journey to America.
In one case, Cammack says, a Border Patrol agent “pointed out a 9-year-old girl” at a processing facility in Donna, Texas.
The girl “came up to me and she had tears in her eyes,” the Florida Republican recalls, adding:
She looked extremely distraught and I was asking her her name. She was really struggling to tell me her name. I asked her where she was from, and I kept hearing this really broken crackle. And I asked the Border Patrol agent. I said, ‘Is she just very upset? What’s going on?’
And he pulled me aside and he said, ‘Ma’am, we found this young girl in the fields. She was being gang-raped by cartel members. And she had been screaming so loud for so long that her vocal cords have given out.’
This is a 9-year-old girl who had been recycled by the cartels, meaning they are children that are sent along to escort single adults to the border so that they can get through the processing, because they don’t run biometrics on children under the age of 12.
Cammack joins “The Daily Signal Podcast” to describe this encounter as well as share her perspective on the situation at the border.
We also cover these stories:
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell says he opposes Democrats’ “slanted” bill to create a commission to investigate the Jan. 6 riot at the Capitol.
- President Joe Biden speaks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu about his nation’s latest conflict with the terrorist group Hamas.
- Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot appears to be granting interviews only to black or Hispanic journalists.
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Rachel del Guidice: We’re joined today on “The Daily Signal Podcast” by Congresswoman Kat Cammack of Florida. Congresswoman, it’s great to have you with us on “The Daily Signal Podcast.”
Rep. Kat Cammack: Thank you so much for having us. Pleasure to be here.
Rachel del Guidice: It’s great to have you with us. I wanted to start off by talking about the border. We’re mainly going to be talking about the situation that’s happening at the southern border. You recently went on a trip to the border and before we get into everything you saw, can you just kind of tell us your general thoughts on the trip and kind of the main takeaways that you got from being there?
Cammack: At this point, I’ve been there twice and each trip has really yielded a pretty cohesive message in my mind. It’s a very, very broken, nonexistent border that we have right now on the southwest border.
In both of my trips, I have had the opportunity to tour the processing facilities, where we have migrants that are being housed there for indefinite periods of time.
I have been to the physical border wall construction sites, where we have materials that are lying there not being used, not being built, but taxpayers are still footing the bill.
I’ve been to the communities that are right there on the border that are impacted both from the lack of construction of the wall, which actually acts as a levee to protect them from flooding, but also for talking to them about the influx of individuals that come through their neighborhoods at all hours of the day, all the way down to the migrants themselves and the horror stories that they have experienced on their journey to the United States.
It’s been very discouraging, heartbreaking. You can call it a public health crisis, you can call it a humanitarian crisis, you can call it a national security crisis, but no one, not even the president himself, can deny the fact that we have a crisis on our southwest border.
That is what I think is so important for people to recognize, that if you can’t even call it what it is, then you have no business even trying to address the situation, if you can’t even identify the fact that you have a problem. And Houston, we have a problem.
Del Guidice: Congresswoman, you witnessed something during this trip to the border. When it comes to girls, young girls, and gang rape at this visit, can you kind of recount what you saw?
Cammack: Yeah. I had the opportunity to start out one of my trips going to the Donna, [Texas,] processing facility, which is really a series of large tents that have been strung together to house these pods of women and children and single parents.
As I was going through these pods, there’s certain areas where the Border Patrol have really been forced to house some of these kids who have experienced trauma, or they haven’t been able to identify a parent or a relative. So they are truly abandoned. They have nowhere to go.
And it was during this time that one of the sector chiefs took me to this playpen that they had set up actually out of their own funds. The Border Patrol agents had put together this playpen with toys and stuffed animals to try to make the kids a little bit more comfortable.
They pointed out a 9-year-old girl and she came up to me and she had tears in her eyes. She looked extremely distraught and I was asking her her name. She was really struggling to tell me her name. I asked her where she was from, and I kept hearing this really broken crackle.
I asked the Border Patrol agent. I said, “Is she just very upset? What’s going on?” And he pulled me aside and he said, “Ma’am, we found this young girl in the fields. She was being gang-raped by cartel members. And she had been screaming so loud for so long that her vocal cords have given out.”
This is a 9-year-old girl who had been recycled by the cartels, meaning they are children that are sent along to escort single adults to the border so that they can get through the processing because they don’t run biometrics on children under the age of 12. So up until that point, they can recycle these children.
Well, a lot of these children are getting sexually assaulted and abused. And when I asked the agents, how many of these young girls are being abused on these horrific journeys? They said at least 60%, if not the vast majority.
How is it that we, as you know, the United States government have become complicit in completing the trafficking cycle that the cartels have established, very lucrative cycle, I should say, because what we’re doing is we’re not penalizing them. We’re not going after them. We’re taking in these victims and doing the very best that we can, but we can’t even identify this whole thing as a crisis.
So really at this point in time, President [Joe] Biden isn’t President Biden to me, he’s trafficker in chief because he knows what’s going on at the border.
I know because the Republican Conference, we compiled all of our findings together and we sent it to the White House and to our so-called borders czar. And they know from firsthand testimony and through videos and photos and written testimony that we have collected in our trips to the border that these are real situations.
Just when I was there, I had been there and a 16-year-old gave birth to twins right there on the banks of the Rio Grande Valley River.
It is unconscionable what we are seeing unfolding on the southwest border. And I think it’s heartbreaking that these young kids are being used as pawns for the cartels to make money and to really shepherd people across the border, because they’re using our own laws against us. They know the systems better than we do. And every time we make a modification or a change, they know, and they know who to send and when to send them.
As I’ve said before, it’s a great day in America if you’re a member of the cartel because you’re making money over fist. And that doesn’t even include the narcotics that are coming across. But the human lives that will be destroyed because of the inaction of the United States government is an abomination. And it’s time that we step up and take action once and for all.
Del Guidice: On that note, I wanted to ask you about the rhetoric we’ve been hearing.
During the Trump administration, we heard all the Democrats talk about the kids in cages, which those facilities were actually set up by the Obama administration. Now, those facilities that were not overcrowded under President [Donald] Trump are overcrowded. And we see the situations happening like the one you described of that girl that was gang-raped, but we don’t hear Democrats talking about this situation as you laid it out.
So what is your perspective on the rhetoric and why is this something that’s not being talked about by the Democrats anymore?
Cammack: Well, one, it doesn’t fit their narrative. Their M.O. is to trash President Trump at all costs.
The minute that reality sets in that it was President [Barack] Obama who had established these quote-unquote “cages,” these pods—they’re clear vinyl walls where people can come in and out freely within the pod system. Once they realized that, “Oh, we can’t talk about that anymore,” they’ve tried to deflect and deter and really do anything but talk about the crisis that’s unfolding.
When I was in the Donna processing facility, these various pods are specifically designed to house about 250 people max. They were housing over 3,000. And you talk about COVID restrictions, they weren’t even doing COVID tests when they were picking people up in the field.
So when you report in either to the facility that’s under one of the major bridges in McAllen, Texas—it’s an outdoor facility, basically put together with some construction materials and plywood where people can report if they’ve managed to cross the border.
They report to Border Patrol agents under this bridge. They sit there for several hours. They get seen by a medical contractor and what they’re checked for is lice and scabies. And if they are running a fever, then it takes two Border Patrol agents to escort that individual to the local hospital where they then get COVID tested. But if they’re not exhibiting symptoms, they go right on through into the Donna processing facility from there.
So again, you don’t see [Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez] standing in an empty parking lot staging a photo shoot where she’s fake crying, because it doesn’t fit the narrative. She could never in her world do that because she would be slamming her own president.
And we all know that this is not a Republican problem. It’s not a Democrat problem. It’s an American problem. This is our national security at stake here.
And if we’re going to continue to be a country of law and order and upholding the rule of law, we actually have to enforce the laws on the books. But again, this is all a fundraising tool for the Democrats. They want to slam Trump. They made an incredible amount of money on President Trump, slamming him over and over and over again for doing the very thing that the American people wanted.
But now we have a situation where, oh, the facts don’t support that narrative anymore. And so, how are they going to raise money off of it? Well, they’re just going to continue to deflect and drive a new narrative that is bringing up all the bad things from the past, or so-called bad things from the past, while inadvertently or purposely, I should say, purposely avoiding the reality and the facts as they stand right now.
Del Guidice: We had talked about the situation of the child, basically, who was gang-raped. Were there any other things from this trip that really stood out to you and were etched in your memory of things that you walked away with?
Cammack: Absolutely. I had a lot of interaction, personal interaction, with a lot of these migrants. One that sticks out is a young girl that I met in the fields right outside McAllen. I was out with the Texas Rangers at midnight, and we were patrolling the brush and came across a group that really hadn’t come as a group, but they had managed to find each other in the brush.
It was two young teenagers, a brother, sister from Guatemala. A son and a father. … And then a man and his daughter who was 3 years old. She looked terrified. She couldn’t tell me her name. The father was being pretty sketchy about the whole situation. …
Later that day at the Donna processing facility, we asked the Border Patrol agents to follow up on that particular case of that father and daughter. And as we suspected, when they were doing the interviewing process, it had come out because a couple of red flags had been raised during that interview.
They said, “Well, we’re going to run a rapid DNA test on you to make sure that this young girl is, in fact, your daughter.” And that’s when he admitted that no, that wasn’t his daughter. He didn’t know who she was, but he had been given her as a loan by the cartels to get him across. He was a convicted sex offender.
This is what is happening on a daily basis. We’re seeing 25 to 3,000 illegal [immigrants] coming to the border every single day. And these kids, like I said, are just collateral in all of this. They’re being used as pawns. And she, God knows where her parents are, God knows where she is today. But these are the situations that are really putting a face to the crisis that’s unfolding.
You know, another situation was I met a mother and her young daughter in the McAllen airport. When I was leaving to go back to Washington, D.C., they put 24 children and six infants on my plane from McAllen to Dallas, Texas.
As we were getting off the plane, they all had packets, manila packets, that on one side said, “Please help me. I do not speak English. Tell me which plane I need to take.” And then on the other side of the manila envelope, it was in Sharpie, and it said their itinerary of where they were going.
On the inside of the packet, because I asked one of them to please show me what was in the packet, it was their plane tickets and a notice to appear in English.
Now, when I spoke to this young woman, she was very confused. She’d never been out of her home country of Honduras. She did not speak English, certainly. And she actually couldn’t even read. So had she even been given materials in Spanish, she wouldn’t have been able to understand them.
So she had to do a layover in Dallas overnight, and she couldn’t understand why she had to stay in the airport. She was just trying to get to San Francisco. And when I asked her, “Why San Francisco?” She said, “Because my sister is there.” And I looked at her, I said, “Is this really your sister?” And she hesitated and then said, “No. I was told to say that my sister is in San Francisco.”
It’s part of the package that the cartels do for folks coming across. They’ll give them a phone number. And it’s that phone number that the migrant then gives to the Border Patrol agent. [The Health and Human Services Department] then calls that phone number to quote-unquote “verify” that that is a family member, but it’s just a phone call.
So whoever’s picking up that call on the other line could be anybody, but because they’re so overwhelmed, they don’t have any way to verify other than, “Hey, I’m calling on behalf of this person. They say that you’re their sister. Is that true?” And they say, “Yes.”
So she’s now in San Francisco, somewhere with her daughter that’s 2 years old, with no resources, no money, no cash, no nothing. And this is happening every single day. And when people say, “Well, this is just a southwest border problem.” No, it’s not. This is a situation, a crisis, that is coming to a town near you.
My husband is a first responder. He’s seen an uptake in overdoses in our community. And a lot of that is due to the increase of narcotics that’s coming across.
We’re seeing illegal [immigrants] that are coming to our community. We’re seeing kids in foster care systems that are getting aged out early to accommodate the influx of unaccompanied minors that we have coming across the border. This is crazy.
And I see the media getting fatigued on this issue, but we need to recognize that we cannot lose our vigilance. We cannot lose sight of the fact that without a secure border, we cannot have a secure nation, first and foremost. So that’s why we’re hammering this border issue over and over and over and over again.
Del Guidice: Congresswoman, what do you want people who are listening or watching this to know that the mainstream media isn’t reporting? Because I’ve been to the border twice so far this year. I’ve been a couple other times before this year. And there’s so many things I learned there that I’ve never heard reported ever in mainstream news. So if you could pick one or two things that you want people to know that they’re not hearing on TV, what would that be?
Cammack: I would say that the cartels are making an ungodly amount of money on a daily basis, somewhere to the tune of $15 to $25 million a day in just the trafficking and smuggling of human beings. That doesn’t include the narcotics. We’re seeing, for example, fentanyl, 5,000% increase in fentanyl coming across the border.
Now, we talk about all the people that are coming here that they want to be caught by Border Patrol because then they go through the process of then being integrated into United States. The thing that we’re not talking about is the close to 200,000 “got-aways.”
Got-aways are individuals that are crossing the border illegally that don’t want to get caught. They don’t want to go through processing because they are either a gang member, someone on the terrorist watch list, a convicted sex offender, [or] a violent offender. These are people who know that once they are caught, they will get turned right back around because of their record, because they have a record in the United States.
So we have close to 200,000 got-aways that have been captured on either camera or have been recorded by Border Patrol agents in the field that have seen them, attempted to apprehend, and couldn’t get to them in time—200,000, just this year alone, just this year alone are in the United States.
We have no record of who they are or where they’re going. All we know is that they cross the border illegally. And again, the only reason that someone would cross the border illegally and not report into processing is if they had something to hide and a record that was on their names. So that is a huge, huge issue that needs to be talked about, … the gotaways and the lack of apprehension there.
But the second thing is, again, the drugs, recognizing that we are all a border town. Every single city in America is a border town now. The drugs are having a direct impact on our communities. We’re seeing the increase in fentanyl and heroin. We’re seeing the increase use of cocaine and other drugs in our communities.
If you don’t believe me, ask your local [emergency medical services] or fire departments that are responding to these calls. This is a direct result of the open borders that we have on the southwest side of the country.
So those are the two big takeaways. And also, don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith. We will get the situation under control. It might take a while, but we have to keep that pressure up on the administration and Democrats in Congress for them to just even take action on this.
Del Guidice: Congresswoman Cammack, it’s been great having you on The Daily Signal. Thank you so much for making time to talk about this.
Cammack: Absolutely. Thank you so much. Have a good one.