QUEMADO, Texas— Hundreds of trucks and vehicles arrived in western Texas Friday night as part of the Take Our Border Back Convoy.
Americans from Tennessee, Maryland, New York, Missouri, Ohio, New Mexico, and many other states gathered Friday night and Saturday in Quemado, Texas, about 150 miles west of San Antonio, to call on elected officials to secure the border.
“Close the border,” Sharisa Hoke, 50, told The Daily Signal as the convoy arrived at Cornerstone Children’s Ranch on Friday. “Deport everybody who came here illegally, and I think we even need a moratorium on immigration for just a little bit to even it all back out,” she said.
Hoke and her family traveled with the convoy for two days from their home in Aledo, Texas.
Asked what her message is to the Biden administration and U.S. elected leaders, Hoke said, “I would like them to follow the law, but mostly, read our Constitution and give the people back their voice. It just amazes me that they can do whatever they want nowadays, and nobody is held accountable,” she said. “So I’d just like them to start with closing the border actually, like the law says.”
It took the convoy over an hour for the trucks and cars to pull into the ranch hosting the gathering since it was reportedly five miles long according to organizers, but The Daily Signal could not verify this.
“I came here because for me, this is a situation that is unacceptable in our country,” Daniel Demoura, 33, told The Daily Signal. “We’re Americans,” he added, “we’re not a foreign nation. We need to defend our nation and show support for the Constitution, show support for the law. We don’t want people that are breaking the law to come here illegally.”
Demoura, who is originally from Boston, drove with the convoy for part of the journey to Texas and the experience “was really fun. A lot of people waving along the road, a lot of people supporting, screaming, showing flags, and honking. A lot of people [were] happy. So this is the conservative movement. This is America. We are a happy people.”
The Texas bound convoy, one of four convoys, began its journey Jan. 29 from Virginia Beach, Virginia. The other convoys set out from locations in Texas, New Mexico, and California and ended with rallies in Arizona and New Mexico.
The Take Our Border Back Convoy organizers stressed on the group’s website that the gatherings were peaceful, and “strongly” condemned any violence.
“This convoy is meant to bring our country together in love, kindness and in peace,” the convoy’s declaration reads.
There were concerns over opportunists with negative intentions taking advantage of the situation and causing violence at the rally on Saturday. But the arrival of the convoy Friday night and the rally Saturday remained peaceful and without incident. Police were at the entrance of the event Saturday.
The first hour of the rally resembled a church service with contemporary worship music, prayer, and exaltations to “love your neighbor” and serve the Lord. The event turned to speeches later in the afternoon from border security advocates, conservative activists, and elected leaders.
“Let me tell you, in Joe Biden’s America, you get 8 million illegal immigrants in three years,” Rep. Keith Self, R-Texas, told the crowd of about 200 on Saturday, adding, “you get 100,000 minors have been lost across the United States. You get enough fentanyl crossing the border to kill the entire world’s population. You get sex trafficking and cartels that control the southern border.”
The site of the trucker convoy rally was 30 minutes north of Eagle Pass, Texas, a city that has become a flashpoint between Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, a Republican, and President Joe Biden, a Democrat. Texas National Guard has taken control of Shelby Park in Eagle Pass and is no longer allowing Border Patrol to use the park as a staging area for illegal aliens after they cross the Rio Grande. Biden has demanded Texas surrender the park back to federal authorities, but Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has denied the request.
Eagle Pass has been a busy crossing point for illegal aliens for years, which led Customs and Border Protection to build a temporary processing center there in 2022. The facility, known as Firefly, was originally intended to process about 1,500 illegal aliens at a time, according to a source The Daily Signal spoke with who used to work inside the facility. But at its height, the center was processing as many as 5,000 illegal aliens a day, the former Firefly worker said.
Since the start of the Biden administration, more than 8.5 million illegal aliens have been encountered on America’s borders. In December, a record 371,036 illegal aliens were encountered at and between U.S. ports of entry.
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