Guest post by John Hughes
On January 1, 2017, Sheriff Javier Salazar (Democrat) was sworn in as Bexar County’s 34th Sheriff. Bexar Country encompasses the greater San Antonio metropolitan area and is home to nearly 2 million Texans. During his tenure, San Antonio transferred $1.3 million of the police budget to the health department during the Defund the Police fad (2020) and murder rates increased steadily from 2019-2021. 2021 murder numbers were the highest since 1994 when the city suffered from severe spikes in gang violence.
In 2021, Fox News reported that San Antonio, the 7th largest city in the US and the 2nd largest in Texas, has become one of the biggest hubs in the US for drugs smuggled across the border from Mexico. To combat the increased drug trafficking through San Antonio, "DEA reorganized the San Antonio district by adding additional people and management staff and split Austin and Waco, away from the San Antonio district." 1 The DEA had to shift manpower to do what Sheriff Salazar could not or would not do.
Crime has dramatically worsened in the past 2 years. Previously safe gated communities on the north side are now sharing in the car jackings, home invasions, and kidnappings plaguing the rest of the city. Many home owners associations are debating hiring armed guards to protect their residents. I live in the north side of San Antonio and now carry a concealed firearm when I run in the parks.
In addition to near record murders, crime, and drug smuggling/cartel activity in the Alamo City, the Sheriff has presided over unprecedented illegal immigration. “Since April 2021, more than 185,000 migrants have arrived in the city, typically staying only for one to three days, according to the City of San Antonio. The numbers have picked up recently, with the city estimating 19,000 immigrants will come through in [a single month].”2
With the increase in immigrant numbers has come a massive increase in tragic immigrant deaths. One incident occuree in June 2022 when the bodies of 53 illegal immigrants were discovered in a tractor trailer near Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio. The deceased victims of human trafficking were from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala and included many children.3
So the real question is what is Sheriff Salazar doing about this disaster?
He was largely quiet in the news until last week when he began investigating San Antonians who may have cooperated with Governor Abbott to coordinate the flight of migrants that famously landed at Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts. Martha’s Vineyard has 3 times the per capita income of Texas, over 50,000 empty hotel rooms, and only had to receive 50 immigrants for their population of 15,000. That is 1 immigrant per every 300 citizens. Although a sanctuary city, Martha’s Vineyard residents called the Guatemalans “trash”4 and had them removed to a nearby Army base less than 48 hour after arrival. In the last 18 months, San Antonio had received 185,000 immigrants or 1 immigrant for every 10 citizens.
On September 19, Sheriff Salazar at a press conference stated “What infuriates me the most about this case is that here we have 48 people who are already on hard times, they are here legally in our country at this point, they have every right to be where they are, and I believe they were preyed upon,” Salazar said, alleging the migrants were “exploited and hoodwinked” for nothing more than “political posturing.” He vowed to investigate to find any enablers in his jurisdiction and fully prosecute them. Salazer then “welcomed the White House to ‘give me a call.’”5 Salazar spoke up about the border in June 2022 with the 53 dead immigrants from the trafficking case, but has been largely quiet about the issue before and after.
Under his watch San Antonio has had an epidemic of murder, crime, illegal immigration, and drug trafficking. A large percentage of the illegal drugs including fentanyl that plagues the US and is responsible for over 100,000 US deaths last year comes through his jurisdiction. His response has been to roll over and accept cuts in pay and manpower and to oppose attempts to spotlight the humanitarian and legal crisis unfolding at the southern border. He actually thinks non-US citizens are here legally once they set foot in the country. As a democrat, he clearly is defending the leader of his political party (President Biden) and is tone deaf to the obvious solutions that would take care of most of the problems plaguing his city. Embarrass the President and his party. Shame them. Close the border. The open border is related to all of San Antonio’s crime issues. In his personal code of ethics, it seems politics comes first, the safety of his city is a distant second. Cue to the sheriff playing the violin as the city burns to the ground.
San Antonio voters need to remember his actions and words in the next election. Perhaps they should recall him before then.
John Hughes, MD
USMA Class of 1996
3rd Generation West Pointer
4 combat tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan