Most Americans have had enough of illegal immigrants coming over the U.S.-Mexican border, and now “Gotaways: The Hidden Border Crisis” (“Gotaways”) has brought the issue into clearer focus. Epoch Times Senior Reporter Charlotte Cuthbertson directed, wrote, and filmed what actually happens at ground level in a small Texas county.
‘Gotaways: The Hidden Border Crisis’The documentary relates the ongoing battle to stem the tide of illegal immigrants, known as “gotaways.” They cross the border wherever they can, which means they are not seeking asylum; they trespass on private property, leave trash wherever they go, often break into homes, and then disappear. The film emphasizes that these are criminals of some sort or other.
Law Enforcement StarsKinney County Sheriff Brad Coe, with years of personal experience and excellent knowledge of how things work in his county, starts the story. He gives a riveting account of how gotaways evade going to jail and of how this is a bad-going-to-worse situation.
Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith exhibits his care and compassion for residents, and is responsible for getting the State of Texas to bring in needed resources, a program called Operation Lone Star. “Gotaways” clearly shows that law enforcement cannot be faulted in any way for failing to stop the rush of illegals.
Two area locals tell the other half of this crisis: how this affects those who live and work in the area. Ben Binnion manages a large exotic game hunting ranch; and Cole Hill, a wildlife biologist, owns a ranch in Kenney County. Hearing the experiences of these two brave men makes it clear that they and their families live in constant vigilance and fear. They deserve credit for just for speaking out.
Between interviews of law enforcement officers and residents who are willing to speak out are car chases. The professionalism and expertise of the troopers is impressive, showing that they effectively take in the law breakers. They make the illegals take off their shoes to make it harder to flee and handcuff people in pairs.
But here’s the fly in the soup, and Sheriff Code expresses his frustration about it: Once arrested, gotaways often make bail and the county never sees them again to prosecute and jail. Operation Lone Star did make law enforcement resources available to the county: troopers from larger communities. They know their job and do it well, but again, are stymied by the legal system’s inability to actually keep the illegals incarcerated.
Taking Care of NonresidentsSome interesting facts are revealed: We get a rundown of the outlandish costs the county must bear to care for nonresidents—paid for by the residents. These are medical expenses of criminals from another country.
Kinney County EMS (Emergency Medical Services) director Henry Garcia explains the startling costs of emergency care, which has run up by leaps and bounds. He claims about 63 percent of his costs are border-issue related. They pay for illegals’s snake bites, injuries from using the rail system, and scratches from crossing the fences, and locals must wait longer for emergency care.
All of these local authorities know their job and do it well. A county could not ask for a better team to handle the gotaway problem. The county's only problem is they seem to really believe their government will help them handle the problem. County officials have requested assistance from the federal and state government (with the exception of Operation Lone Star, which addresses the symptoms, not the cause) with no other help given to date.
Despite the strength of the chase scenes, the film might have included more interviews with residents who would given a sense of what they're suffering--but perhaps that's asking a lot of residents.
“Gotaways” gives no answers for this huge problem. But it does deliver the message important for every other county in every other state: Gotaways can come in uninvited, as they are now doing in Kinney County. This documentary is one of the few films to bring the issue of illegal immigrants to our front door and is highly recommended for its valuable message.