FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 07/02/2014
COMMITTEE TO STUDY FISCAL IMPACT OF BORDER OPERATIONS
AUSTIN – Texas House Speaker Joe Straus today created 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.
Speaker Straus and other state leaders recently directed additional resources to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for law enforcement operations in the border region. 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 important for legislators and the public to know the full impact of these operations,” said Speaker Straus, San Antonio. “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.
Speaker Straus and his office have worked closely with DPS officials to monitor the situation, especially as activity has increased in recent months. The Speaker visited with federal, state and local officials about the influx during a recent trip to the Rio Grande Valley.
“This committee will take a big-picture look at this immigration crisis,” Speaker Straus said. “Until the federal government gets a handle on the issue, the impact on our state will be real and far-reaching. By taking a close look at that impact now, the House will be prepared to address this issue in a thoughtful way.”