As many of you know, I have been trying to stay on top of the ongoing crisis on our southern border. The federal government has failed to secure our borders, so we are having to take matters into our own hands. The future of both our children and this country are at great risk if action is not taken immediately. My staff, colleagues, and I are working together to create Texas solutions to address the crisis.
On Saturday, I joined my fellow colleagues Rep. Jeff Leach, Rep. Scott Sanford, Rep. Bryan Hughes, Rep. Steve Toth, Rep. Brandon Creighton, Rep. Debbie Riddle, Rep. Elect Matt Rinaldi, and US Congressman Louie Gohmert, on a trip down to the Rio Grande Valley to see firsthand what is going on.
When we arrived in McAllen, we had an incredibly detailed briefing on the current situation from Texas DPS, state troopers, local sheriffs, local law enforcement, and US border patrol. DPS Director Steve McCraw, whom I hold much respect for, explained what the recent authorization of $1.3 million per week through the end of the year would actually look like. The money will be used as a means to increase boots on the ground, expand coverage on the border, as well as pay for the extra overtime shifts required of our border patrol officers. I was very encouraged that our Texas DPS Troopers would be very successful with the current mission we are sending them on.
Though no fault of their own, they are being tasked with a specific mission from the state to crackdown on cartel activities. It is very clear that the general public expects them to stop illegal immigration. They will not be deporting anyone. When caught on our soil, DPS hands them over to the federal border patrol agents (if they have no criminal history within our state). My understanding of current protocol with the federal government is to process each illegal apprehended, assign them a court date at a future time, and then release them back into America. Officials laughed at our question on how many of them will show back up for court. Basically, we will never see them again.
Director Steve McCraw believes that our crackdown on the cartels (who many think are the ones orchestrating the massive ramp up of illegal crossings and the thousands of unaccompanied minors) will hit them right where it counts — in their pockets. In theory, this will require the cartels to rethink their strategy of using women and children to overwhelm our personnel and hopefully deter them from entering. While he may be in part correct, I believe that this problem seems to be much bigger.
The truth is that we have done a “surge” operation before, and frankly it worked. We detained a lot more gang members, confiscated many illegal drugs, slowed down home invasions (which were drug related in nature), and prevented many crimes from ever happening. This did not slow or stop the flow of people coming across our border. In fact, it is worse now than ever before. I still believe and maintain we should immediately be called into a special legislative session by Gov. Perry. Even though a special session will come at a cost to Texans, I do not believe it even comes close to the astronomical costs that illegal immigration is having on our state. The “surge” is part of the solution, no doubt, but it is a small band-aid on a much bigger problem. We must not put unfair and unobtainable expectations on our troopers.
I fear that once again citizens are being sold a line on dealing with the border crisis. After news of the money being appropriated to DPS, many in Austin think this problem will just go away. The truth is, without a special session and addressing all of the problems at hand, the can is getting kicked down the road, yet again. This time is worse, more people than ever are breaking our laws by coming to America illegally. Eventually, we are going to have to pay the piper and simply do not have the ability to do so.
We cannot just give up, so what should we do? While I do not have all the answers, we do have suggestions:
- All the magnets attracting folks here must be turned off. No more benefits or special perks for illegal immigrants.
- We must secure the border immediately and make sure not one more makes it past us without being captured.
- A message must be sent to the countries and families of these unaccompanied children. We will no longer pay for the transportation of their children, wherever they wish, in America. We will hold them and take care of them until we are able to return them to their country.
- The federal government must be held accountable for the havoc it’s policies and lack of enforcement are causing our state.
Enough is enough.
I will continue to do everything I can to bring light to this crisis. As you may know, the Austin establishment and Obama administration do not like me one bit. We have seen it happen before, we must see it again — a grassroots uprising that demands action and accountability from our elected leaders.
If you agree we cannot sustain the current path we are on, I ask you to act immediately –call Governor Perry’s office and demand a special session right now. We cannot wait another 6 months for the regular session while tens of thousands more come across.Call your state and federal elected officials and tell them how you feel. Together we can send a clear message that we love this country and we will not allow this to happen. Secure the border NOW!
PS- I want to thank all of the Texas DPS who took us on this amazing tour of the border and kept us safe. They are doing an amazing job with very few resources in a dangerous situation. Please thank them whenever possible and keep them in your prayers.
All pictures used in this email were taken on 6/21/2014 during our tour of the Texas/Mexico border