FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 06/19/2014
REP. SIMMONS APPLAUDS STATE LEADERS' ACTIONS TO INCREASE BORDER SECURITY
Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst and Speaker Straus Direct DPS to Immediately Begin
Law Enforcement Surge Operations Along Texas-Mexico Border
AUSTIN – Yesterday, Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Speaker Joe Straus directed the Texas Dept. of Public Safety (DPS) to immediately begin law enforcement surge operations on the Texas-Mexico border to combat the flood of illegal immigration into the state in the absence of adequate federal resources to secure the border. State leaders have authorized DPS to fund border security operations at approximately $1.3 million per week.
"The most fundamental responsibility of government is to protect the lives and property of its citizens," Rep. Simmons said. " I applaud these three men for taking this action sooner, rather than later. As a member of the House Homeland Security & Public Safety Committee, I visited the border last fall and received a special briefing from DPS which concluded that the number one threat to the citizens of Texas is the danger posed by Mexican drug cartels. Now, more than ever before, increasing security along the border must be a priority."
The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (USCBP) has apprehended more illegal immigrants in the Rio Grande Valley in the first eight months of the current federal fiscal year (over 160,000) than it did for all of fiscal year 2013 (154,453). In May 2014 alone, USCBP reported apprehending more than 1,100 illegal immigrants per day in the Rio Grande Valley. This year, like last year, more than half of the individuals apprehended at the Texas-Mexico border by USCBP are from countries other than Mexico. Additionally, 34,000 unaccompanied alien children (UAC) have been apprehended in Texas so far this year, with estimates that number will reach 90,000 by the end of the fiscal year. By comparison, 28,352 UAC were apprehended in fiscal year 2013.
“Texas can’t afford to wait for Washington to act on this crisis and we will not sit idly by while the safety and security of our citizens are threatened,” Gov. Perry said. “Until the federal government recognizes the danger it’s putting our citizens in by its inaction to secure the border, Texas law enforcement must do everything they can to keep our citizens and communities safe.”
Previous law enforcement surge operations in the border region, such as Operation Strong Safety in 2013, have proven effective in reducing criminal activity and violence associated with human smuggling and drug trafficking in the border region.