U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar gives an interview in Laredo, Texas Reuters / Veronica Cardenas

It's been a hectic couple of weeks for Congressman Henry Cuéllar (D-TX), who announced $375,000 for southwest border security and then got robbed at gunpoint and praised law enforcement, all the while saying he supports stronger deportation policy.

On Sept. 25, 2023, Congressman Cuéllar, a Democrat representing the 28th district of Texas, announced that $375,000 was awarded to Zapata County--a southwest border county--from the Operation Stonegarden program he helped create in 2008. Following this, on Oct. 3, 2023, the legislator was in the public eye again for an unfortunate reason: while in Washington, D.C., on the night of Oct. 2, 2023, he was robbed at gunpoint by what he described as a group of three young men.

"I was just coming into my place. Three guys came out of nowhere and pointed guns at me. I do have a black belt, but I recognized when you got three guns, I looked at one with a gun, another with a gun, and another one behind me, and they said they wanted my car, and I said, sure," Cuéllar said in a C-Span video. After the suspects robbed Cuéllar, he said law enforcement recovered his car, phone and sushi in less than two hours.

He gave special thanks to the police, citing he has three brothers in law enforcement and saying that the message is very simple, "We gotta support law enforcement, and I've been doing that for a long time," he said. Cu{ellar said he does not think the robbery, less than a mile from the capital, was targeted.

Cuéllar's views on deportation

Before this, on Sept. 24, 2023, Cuéllar shared some of his views on immigration, which included a favorable sentiment for deportation and publicly showcasing expulsions. The following day, on Sept. 25, 2023, Cuéllar announced that $375,000 was awarded to Zapata County to pay border patrol workers overtime and to purchase essential equipment.

"We need to have repercussions at the border. What does that mean? You got to deport people, and you got to show those images of people being deported," Cuéllar said on Fox Sunday, "When is the last time we saw people going the other way instead of just seeing people flow in?"

Since 2008, Zapata County has received more than $9.7 million in funding from Operation Stonegarden. This money has allowed the county to cover extraordinary expenses incurred to reinforce border security, said Cuéllar in a press release.

In the 2023 fiscal year, the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse reported 223,570 deportations in the U.S., similar to past immigration statistics recording 262,591 deportations in 2019 and 249,532 deportations in 2018. The year with the most deportations in the last 20 years was 2012, with 407,821 recorded deportations.

Despite deportation numbers staying static over the last few years, many more immigrants have entered the U.S., according to Latin Times reporting. According to Cuéllar, the way to tie off this influx of immigrants crossing the border is "to show those images of people being deported," as he said on Fox Sunday.

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