May Lor Xiong joined the Liz Collin Reports podcast this week to discuss her recent visit to the southern border in Texas.
Xiong is running for Congress to represent Minnesota’s Fourth District, a seat that has been in the hands of the DFL since the 1940s. Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum has represented the district for more than 20 years.
She wanted to see for herself what is happening on the southern border, since Minnesota is experiencing drug trafficking issues stemming from the border crisis.
“Just last month they arrested two high-profile criminals that came into St. Paul [illegally from the border],” Xiong said. Almost half of all illegal immigrants in Minnesota are from Mexico, according to the Migration Policy Institute.
In June alone, Border Patrol agents encountered 207,416 people along the southern border, according to data from U.S. Customs and Border Protection. This was a 14% decrease compared to May. Twenty-six percent of those encounters were with individuals who had attempted to cross the border at least once within the past year.
The number of pedestrians who attempted to cross the border in June 2022 was up 41% compared to June 2021, and 107% compared to June 2020.
Xiong said when she spoke to locals in Progreso, Texas, they expressed fear of illegals coming on to their private property, which is not uncommon — destroying cars and other property and even hiding in cars or under houses.
“It’s just a lot of vandalism down there, and these are things that they have to use their own money to fix,” Xiong said.
Xiong also spoke with a Border Patrol agent who said the agency is extremely understaffed and has no ability to apprehend all of the illegal immigrants entering the country. Each shift, two to three Border Patrol agents assigned to a stretch of land will arrest 20–30 people coming across the border, an agent told Xiong.
“They are very lucky that they do have the local law enforcement and state troopers to help them when their hands are tied,” she said. “However, when there are a few groups that are crossing over, it’s very hard for them to apprehend all of them.”
Xiong’s own mother fled communism while pregnant with her, so some may wonder how Xiong can be critical of open-border policies.
It took her mother eight years to obtain the paperwork needed to legally become an American.
“If they follow the process, they can be part of the American economic growth, and having better opportunities versus coming here illegally,” Xiong said. “It’s not fair for the ones that are trying to get to this country using our immigration policy.”
Xiong decided to run for Congress after working in schools during COVID-19 and witnessing crime in the Twin Cities. Her two sons serve in the military and National Guard, and she wants to serve the country in some way as well.
She is heavily involved with the Hmong community in the Twin Cities metro area and has spoken to the Hmong, Latino, and black communities about their top concerns in the state.
“Every single time it’s safety. Crime is on the rise, and they’re scared,” Xiong said.
“[The DFL] has been in this seat longer than the Hmong have been in this country, and we haven’t really seen any changes … This is the time where we need a leader who is going to be vocal, who is going to really speak for the people and make a difference.”