Texas leaders order the Department of Public Safety to begin "surge operations" along the Texas-Mexico border. It will focus not only on drug cartels but the developing humanitarian/security crisis
AUSTIN -- Texas leaders order the Department of Public Safety to begin "surge operations" along the Texas-Mexico border. It will focus not only on crime, including drug cartels, but the humanitarian and security crisis developing with an influx of children trying to escape violence in their Central American countries.
Last year Operation Strong Safety targeted the Mexican drug cartels.
"Seven of the 8 major Mexican cartels are using Texas as a staging and a shipment area for trafficking drugs, weapons and people," said Lt. Governor David Dewhurst in December.
Now Dewhurst, Gov. Rick Perry and Speaker Joe Straus have authorized another law enforcement operation on the border. The focus of this operation won't solely be on drugs. Straus says something has to be done about the humanitarian and security crisis that now exists along the border that's overwhelmed federal, state and local law enforcement there.
"They are completely overwhelmed with the tens of thousands of people that are flooding across our border, mainly from Central America, but also from Mexico and other places," said Straus. "They don't have the resources to process everyone and to take care of security concerns along the border."
Straus says just last month the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol apprehended more than 11,000 illegal immigrants per day in the Rio Grande Valley, most of whom are not from Mexico. Also, the state expects the number of unaccompanied alien children to increase by 60,000 from 2013.
"We don't have the resources in Texas to completely control and secure all 12,000 miles of our border, and we shouldn't have to," said Straus.
Unlike Operation Strong Safety which lasted only a few weeks, this latest DPS operation will last until September at a cost of $1.3 million per week. Straus promises legislative oversight.
"During the political season I didn't think it was appropriate without strong legislative oversight to do something that was only temporary in nature," said Straus. "This will be ongoing and monitored very closely by the legislature."
U.S. Congressman Lloyd Doggett responded to news of the latest border operation by issuing this statement:
"As usual, Gov. Perry is the problem, not the solution. Asking Texas Rangers to nab children who seek to escape Central American violence is hardly the answer. This is a humanitarian crisis where the best interest of the child should come first. And as most every major business group agrees, the governor's "know-nothing" opposition to comprehensive immigration reform is not stopping children; it is only costing our economy."