CEDAR PARK, TX – As a member of the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee in the Texas House of Representatives I’ve closely followed the security situation on the Texas/Mexico border for over a year and a half. In addition to staff briefings and regular updates I’ve visited our Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers and Texas Rangers on multiple occasions while they conducted security operations. As recent press reports have indicated the security situation has deteriorated even further over the past few months culminating in the current tidal wave of illegal crossings. Over the last seven weeks the number of illegal aliens, from all over the world, crossing into Texas exceeds the population of my hometown of Cedar Park, Texas – population 54,000.
I commend Governor Perry, Lieutenant Governor Dewhurst and Speaker Straus for directing the DPS to use all appropriated funds to surge Texas forces toward enhancing the security of our citizens in South Texas and across the state. The Texas DPS has proved that a strong, forward deployed presence deters crime, substantially reduces illegal crossings, increases the price of drugs on the street by cutting off supply and enhances the safety of Texans by reducing the number of felony pursuits which are dangerous for law enforcement officers and Texas motorists.
The failure of the federal government to meet its obligation to secure our border must change. Our current federal immigration policies are an invitation to families with young children or unaccompanied minors to make very dangerous journeys where they risk kidnapping, extortion, rape, murder and even possibly being sold into the sex trade. As such the federal government’s policies are immoral and jeopardize the health and safety of the immigrants and our law enforcement officers who must deal with multiple threats on the ground.
Even with the DPS stepping up efforts on the border this will not solve the problem of illegal crossings and drug cartel smuggling. The scope of the problem must be put into perspective. The Texas/Mexico border is over 1,900 miles long. The Texas DPS has just over 2,400 Troopers and 150 Texas Rangers. I support this effort, but every Trooper sent to the border region is one less Trooper keeping their usual assigned part of Texas safe.
In addition to our Texas DPS actions I urge the federal government to meet its obligations to Texas and to the nation to secure our border. The federal government should be paying for this enforcement action. The federal government should forward deploy the Border Patrol closer to the Rio Grande to prevent crossings instead of ceding the Texas border counties to the cartels. Increased law enforcement presence on the border deters crossings. Checkpoints 75-100 miles in-land may be good for padding statistics, but these fixed-point physical facilities don’t prevent illegal crossings. The federal administration should also use diplomatic efforts not just with Mexico, but also with our Central American neighbors since over 65% of illegal aliens apprehended in Texas are from countries other than Mexico. The federal government should also make public the actual statistics of not only the number of illegal aliens apprehended weekly, but also their country of origin. Illegal aliens from counties which we have security concerns from the Middle East and West Africa are routinely apprehended in Texas. On September 11, 2001 nineteen terrorists executed plots against New York City and Washington, DC. Now on a weekly basis more than 9,000 people per week from all over the world are violating our border. Our citizens deserve to know the truth about the nature of the potential threats we face. The failure to secure the border is a national security issue and federal policies are causing this current crisis.
Dale was elected to the Texas House in November 2012. He is a small business owner and veteran of the U.S. Army who previously served on the Cedar Park City Council. He represents western Williamson County, including the communities of Cedar Park, Leander and Brushy Creek, as well as parts of north Austin and Round Rock. He serves on the Homeland Security and Public Safety Committee, the Energy Resources Committee and the House Select Committee on Child Protection.