“We have a real lack of leadership”: NCFL leaders travel to U.S.-Mexico border amid immigration crisis

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 12:47 AM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

To keep up with the latest local news subscribe to our TV20 newsletter HERE and receive news straight to your email every morning.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -Leaders from across North Central Florida are in Texas touring the U.S.-Mexico border. The topic taking center stage is the immigration crisis. Five sheriffs, including Marion County Sheriff Billy Woods, Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith, and Putnam County Sheriff Gator Deloach, along with Ocala Chief of Police Mike Balken, joined Congresswoman Kat Cammack of Florida’s 3rd Congressional District.

“I’m begging the President and the Vice President of the United States that if they really cared about what was going on, they would be here doing something about it,” explained Bradford County Sheriff Gordon Smith.

He said in his short time there one thing is clear, there is a crisis.

“We have a real lack of leadership right now going on in our country. Apparently, they don’t give a damn. They are allowing this to exist. They are doing a lot of talk and politicizing it. I’m blaming both sides. This isn’t a partisan issue. This is a people issue,” explained Smith.

Congresswoman Cammack believes this trip is important because the issues at the border impact areas like Bradford County.

“What is going on here at the Southwest Border has a direct tie to the overdoses, increase in crime that is happening in our local communities,” said Cammack.

She thinks every town in America is a border town.

TRENDING STORY: UF researchers using artificial intelligence to develop treatment to prevent dementia

Rep. Yvonne Hayes-Hinson of Florida’s 20th District questions why the focus is on the Southern Border.

“Every person who finds their way to America looking for freedom ought to be processed the same way,” explained Hayes-Hinson. “Why are we down at that border? Why aren’t we at Ellis Island? Why aren’t we at the airports all over where people are coming in from other countries? Why are we at the border in Texas? Is it because they are undesirable?”

Smith said the sights he has seen traveling along are heartbreaking.

“When you see small children in diapers or little small kids with torn shirts or blood on it, knowing what is happening to them even getting here,” explained Smith.

Congressman Al Lawson of Florida’s 5th Congressional District believes trips to the border are important. Below is a statement sent to TV20 from Congressman Lawson regarding the situation at the Southern Border:

“Everyone agrees our immigration system is broken. President Trump left it in shambles, and it will take time to rebuild. We are building an immigration system based on humanity and working to keep families together, process asylum claims quickly, and help unaccompanied minors get placed with loving, caring and safe relatives as fast as possible. Trips to the border are important, and I hope that when policymakers return, they are ready to work together to problem-solve, not posture. We can’t do this alone. Congress needs to pass legislation that will put in place long term reforms and allocate resources that are necessary to update our outdated and ineffective system.”

Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood and Flager County Sheriff Rick Staley also made the trip with Congresswoman Cammack.

Copyright 2021 WCJB. All rights reserved. Click here to subscribe to our newsletter.