What happens at the border doesn’t stay at the border, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims said Friday.
Mims said that was her message to President Donald Trump during a visit Friday afternoon. The president traveled to Calexico to take part in an immigration and border security briefing as well as to view 2 miles of refurbished border fence.
Sheriffs including Mims, Mike Boudreaux of Tulare, Dave Robinson of Kings and Donny Youngblood of Kern joined the president during his visit. Mims was invited to give brief remarks during a roundtable discussion earlier in the day and stressed that more is needed to secure the border with Mexico.
Speaking to reporters in Clovis on Friday night, Mims said she shared with the president that the presence of the deadly narcotic Fentanyl along with crimes linked to MS-13 in Fresno County were consequences of a lack of border security. She said she was confident the president understood her concerns.
“When bad things happen at the border, when things get through that shouldn’t, it causes our local communities problems,” Mims said.
She elaborated on the crimes by MS-13 and said authorities have identified 18 deaths in California, Texas and Nevada that were linked to MS-13 gang members from western Fresno County.
The gang, comprised of Central Americans, has been a frequent target of the president.
Trump insisted during the roundtable that the United States was overburdened with the surge of illegal immigrant crossings, mainly by people from Central America. He said, “Our country is full.”
The meeting and visit came after the president had vowed to shut down the border with Mexico, but later retreated, giving Mexico a one-year warning to address the migrant issue. Trump added that Mexico has been helpful in recent days in stopping the influx of migrants moving toward the U.S. border.
Mims, who said that images of people “rushing the border” are signs of a crisis, proposed two solutions: fix asylum laws and get Congress to reform the immigration system.
She also insisted that her involvement on immigration discussions are purely for public safety reasons. She noted to reporters that she also met with former President Barack Obama and recently had a breakfast with Democratic freshman Rep. TJ Cox where she shared her feelings about immigration reform. She also said she had a good relationship with David Valadao, who formerly held Cox’s seat.
“This is a congressional issue. We definitely need immigration reform so we can start from scratch,” Mims said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.