THE TEXAS CAPITOL, AUSTIN – Texas House Speaker Joe Straus today appointed State Representative Sergio Muñoz, Jr. to the Select Committee on the Fiscal Impact of Texas Border Support Operations, which will examine the short- and long-term budgetary effects of addressing increased activity along the Texas-Mexico border.
The recent influx of immigrants from Central America prompted the State's top leadership to call for a surge of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers along the Rio Grande Valley border region to conduct law enforcement operations. The committee will monitor the costs of those operations and other services associated with increased border crossings.
The committee will also review and evaluate any support that Texas receives from the federal government to address this issue and study the influx’s effect on resources available to local governments. Finally, the committee will determine the long-term budgetary effect of efforts to ensure Texans’ safety.
"It is quite an honor to accept this appointment and get right to work on these very pressing issues that are directly affecting our communities in the Rio Grande Valley," said Muñoz. "It will be my priority to devise a system that rewards the great work that is being done by our local governments and communities by reimbursing the significant costs they bear by supporting what is ultimately a federal responsibility. A federal reimbursement revenue stream will allow our state and local governments to sustain the response to the humanitarian crisis and provide for adequate border security."
“It is important for legislators and the public to know the full impact of these operations,” said Speaker Straus. “A comprehensive look at the costs and benefits associated with our investment in border security will be helpful as the House sets priorities for next year’s legislative session.”
Speaker Pro Tempore Dennis Bonnen of Angleton will chair the new committee. Its membership will also include Reps. Greg Bonnen of Friendswood, Myra Crownover of Denton, Drew Darby of San Angelo, Donna Howard of Austin, Oscar Longoria of Mission, Marisa Márquez of El Paso, Sergio Muñoz, Jr. of Palmview, John Otto of Dayton, Sylvester Turner of Houston and John Zerwas of Simonton.
Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children from Central America have crossed into Texas in recent months, raising concerns about the ability of federal, state and local authorities to focus on fighting drug cartels and other criminal activity along the border.
Rep. Muñoz has worked closely with Speaker Straus and with DPS officials to monitor the situation, especially as activity has increased in recent months. Rep. Muñoz has visited with federal, state and local officials about the influx, and continues to assess the impact of the change in immigration trends and the flow of commerce and business across the ports of entry in his legislative district. Three major international ports of entry lay within District 36… The Pharr International Bridge, the Hidalgo International Bridge, and the Anzalduas International Bridge.
“The committee needs to address the situation and find solutions both for the short term and the for the long term,” Rep. Muñoz said.
RICHARD P. SANCHEZ
121 E. Tom Landry