FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 03/12/2015
Rep. Bohac Authors Legislation to Beef Up Border Security and Crackdown on Drug Trafficking and Human Smuggling
Austin, TX -- State Representative Dwayne Bohac (Houston) announces authorship of two bills that significantly strengthen border security and help law enforcement crackdown on border-related crime. HB 11, the “Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act,” is an omnibus bill that will dramatically increase the number of Department of Public Safety (DPS) Troopers in the border region, impose tougher penalties on smugglers, and provide more resources for police statewide. HB 1450 will establish the Texas Border Security Division which will focus on busting up criminal cartels throughout the southern border region.
"The clock ran out a long time ago, and we can no longer wait for the federal government to do its job," Rep. Bohac said. "With our population expected to more than double to 54.4 million by 2050, it is critical that Texas step in where Washington has habitually failed to protect OUR border. These bills take the necessary steps to increase DPS officer presence on the border, which will result in the reduction of violent border-related crime and human trafficking."
HB 11 will increase the amount of DPS Troopers permanently serving in the border region which will end “temporary surges” by creating a “year-round, 'perpetual surge.'” In addition, it will impose tougher penalties for smugglers, classify human smuggling as organized crime, cut the cartels’ supply lines with new southbound checkpoints within 250 yards of the border to curb the flow of stolen vehicles, guns and money from being smuggled into Mexico, and establish a multiagency border crime information center in the Rio Grande Valley led by local law enforcement with assistance from DPS.
HB 1450 will create the Texas Border Security Division, organized within the existing framework of the Department of Public Safety. The Division will be tasked with criminal interdiction and will collaborate with and assist local law enforcement, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and local district attorneys and prosecutors to secure the Texas-Mexico border and prevent criminal cartel- and gang-related activities in the region. Additionally, the bill will require the Attorney General to seek reimbursement from the federal government for any border-security related activities performed by the Texas Border Security Division.
"The taxpayers in Texas have literally been paying the price for Washington's inaction for too long," Rep. Bohac said. "State funding for border security has more than tripled over the last six years. We spend more than $200 million bi-annually to incarcerate criminal aliens in state prisons, and counties spend nearly $140 million during that same time to hold them in county jails. This burden falls on every Texas taxpayer and community, and it is no longer sustainable."
"Crime that comes through our border rarely stays on the border; it's not only a border problem it's a Texas problem," Rep. Bohac said. "Along with gang-related violence, we find human and drug stash houses operating in Houston and cartel-related assassinations in Dallas. In fact, we see MS-13 gang members in my district. Our border remains unsecure and the consequences facing our entire state because of that should alarm every Texan. The only way to combat this violence and crime is to permanently increase boots on the ground, and these two bills will do that."
On November 4, 2014, Representative Dwayne Bohac was re-elected to represent House District 138. He is a lifelong district resident. In September of 2012 and 2013, Rep. Bohac participated in Operation Nueces Strip and Operation Strong Safety, respectively. These large scale, multi-agency law enforcement border initiatives along the Rio Grande River were designed to detect and interdict a substantial percentage of cartel and human smuggling activity.