WA congressional candidate at the southern border: ‘It’s worse than you think’



(The Center Square) – In a seven-way Republican primary race for the 5th congressional district, Spokane City Councilman Jonathan Bingle wanted to break out of the pack. He knew he needed to educate himself on national issues. And with immigration and border security polling at the top of Gallup’s Most Important Problem list, Bingle went to the southern border.

“The people I met with in Nogales want us to understand this isn’t an Arizona or a Texas problem; this is a U.S. problem,” said Bingle. “They told me you don’t think you’re a border town, but because of this crisis, every town is a border town.”

Bingle is running for the seat being vacated by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers at the end of her current term. Other Republicans in the race include Medical Lake Mayor Terri Cooper, Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner, State Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber, Ferry County Commissioner Brian Dansel, retired civil servant John Guenther and radio host Rene Holaday.

Democrats in the race so far include retired foreign service officer Carmela Conroy, small business owner Ann Marie Danimus, and OB-GYBN Dr. Bernadine “Bernie” Bank.

Bingle traveled to Arizona last week for meetings with Santa Cruz County Sheriff David Hathaway, Border Patrol agents and Republican candidates for county supervisor. The following are some of his impressions from an interview Saturday after his return.

The Center Square: What does the border actually look like?

Bingle: More intense than you think. Sometimes you forget Mexico is a third-world country. On the other side of the border, the poverty is right there. The wall is far larger and longer than you can imagine, its more aggressive than you can imagine. Razor wire over the top and the middle, and it’s seriously tall – 15 feet-20-feet fall. It’s big and it’s effective.

The setting reminded me of how a ski lift goes through where the trees cleared out in a line, only here you have a giant wall going through the cleared bit, steel beams with metal grating over it, and barbed wire, and the barbed wire is littered with clothing. And it’s not like you see one piece of clothing every once in a while; you see pants and shirts and coats.

You can see how many people have tried to come across. These are the people who can’t afford to pay the cartels. Where there’s no wall is cartel territory.

Every five minutes we saw someone else trying to come across the border wall, in broad daylight in the afternoon. You’d see people watching the Border Patrol move by, then try to climb over. Two cartel scouts came walking by on the Mexico side, taunting the Border Patrol. Happens all the time, according to Border Patrol.

TCS: What did the Border Patrol agents have to tell you?

Bingle: I felt so bad for one officer, close to retirement age; big guy like the biggest bouncer you’ve ever seen. He told me his body was so broken from chasing people and fighting them. He’d tell them to stop fighting; he was taking them to the station, and they’d just be let go. He said, “Every day I come to work, I feel like I’m betraying my country.” You could hear the brokenness in his voice. That won’t leave my head.

Every morning, there’s a place called the Mariposa pad and the Border Patrol will find 200 to 300 people every morning just sitting there waiting to be picked up.

Agents told me they see criminals coming across with all the gang tattoos; they know who they are, they know they are criminals, but they have to let them in. One agent said he caught a guy on the terror watch list, but because they didn’t have any beds, he had to release the guy.

TCS: Who were your tour guides?

Bingle: Two Republican candidates for county supervisor and Sheriff David Hathaway, a Democrat, were primary contacts. Supervisor candidate Gerry Navarro is a former Border Liaison Officer for the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Jesus Jerez was a former assistant port director in Nogales.

Jesus told me what was coming through the port, telling stories that would blow your mind – 90% of the fentanyl coming into the US is coming in through the southern border.

TCS: What were your big takeaways from the trip?

Bingle: In almost every conceivable way, it’s worse than you think. Border Patrol morale, it’s worse than you think. Coyotes exploiting women and children, its worse than you think. Best estimates I heard were 7 to 10 million people have crossed illegally since Biden became president. That’s as many as 200,000 people per state, a new city the size of Spokane in all 50 states. Even on the low end, 7 million is larger than 34 states’ total population, all added in the last three years.

Most people say they are looking for work and opportunity, and they are. But let’s say just a half of 1% of 10 million are serious criminals. That’s 50,000 nasty, violent people who came into the country during the Biden administration. That’s still a thousand per state, and that’s crazy.

TCS: What next?

Bingle: We have to stop enriching the cartels. While Border Patrol is processing people coming illegally, cartels are busy trafficking people and drugs.

People when coming up through Mexico, there are organizations that coach them on what to say, and the key phrase is “I fear for my safety.” They tell them what to say their final destination is, to ask to go where the biggest backlog is.

New York has an eight-year backlog in cases, so they can go to New York and then anywhere in the country.

TCS: Was Spokane mentioned as a destination?

Bingle: Spokane was not mentioned specifically, but Spokane County is one of the federally designated High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, so I absolutely believe Spokane is one of those places they tell them to come to, but that’s just an opinion.

Realistically they’re going to places where there are sanctuary cities and a giant backlog in immigration cases.

TCS: How will you use information from this trip for your campaign?

Bingle: Border control is, if not the top issue, then certainly in the top three. Speaking with Border Patrol agents, they would say most of the policies we need are already in place; we just need an administration that will enforce them. We need to put the MPP [Migrant Protection Protocols] back in place; the remain-in-Mexico policy.

We need to change out when asylum is granted, and realistically, we need more immigration judges to process faster so we don’t have an eight-year backlog in New York City and other sanctuary cities.

TCS: What should I have asked you and didn’t?

Bingle: One of the saddest things was to see a wreath or cross where someone had died trying to come across. We were out in fields where there weren’t walls, there would be a cross, and it’s so heartbreaking to think someone died trying to come here. They believe the opportunity here is so great it was worth their life to try to get in. It reminds us what a great country we have and how much we take it for granted.

And then there’s people who want to tear the country down, insist America is systemically racist. Tell that to the millions of people literally breaking into this country right now that it’s systemically racist, and they can’t ever succeed because I think they’d disagree.

It makes you really grateful for where you were born and where you live as an American.

Read the Black Chronicle Black History Edition for Free! Click Below

Read the Black Chronicle Black History Edition for Free! Click Below



Share post:


More like this

Report recommends investment in youth employment

(The Center Square) – A report by the University...

Libertarians reject Trump, Kennedy in favor of activist Chase Oliver

Despite appearances from former President Donald Trump and Robert...

ShotSpotter supporters aim to keep technology in Chicago

(The Center Square) – Several Chicago aldermen are moving...

Youngkin: Honor the fallen with a strong military and love of country

(The Center Square) — A small crowd of veterans...