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Government/Politics

Texas Moving Forward With Border Troop Surge

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David Martin Davies
/
TPR News

State lawmakers on the Texas House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security seem to be committed to “more boots on ground” when comes to the state-led border security operation.

Department of Public Safety Director Col. Steve McCraw told lawmakers that since the surge began they have been able to decrease the amount of crime happening at the border by 56%. But he said at some point he would like DPS to get out of the border business.

"At some point in time when the federal government dedicates sufficient resources to the border there’s no question they can get on the river, stay on the river, and force the cartels to curtail all of their smuggling activities,” McCraw said.

Texas National Guard Maj. Gen. John Nichols said troops are still training for their border deployment and while that training is occurring the state is using state money slated for the DPS to help the guard kick off their operation while lawmakers look for other funding sources.

While lawmakers are committed to manning the border, others aren’t so decided.

Dr. Mike Vickers, a veterinarian and rancher in Brooks County near Falfurrias, said much of the human traffic he has seen come across his land are cartel members.

“And even with these young people and children showing up from Central America are gang members," Vickers said. "They’ve got gang tattoos.” 

Selina Moreno with the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund said this type of sentiment will lead to people taking the law into their own hands.

“Some of the vigilantism that we’ve seen over the last decade -- and we've represented some of these clients -- we don’t want to see any of that in Texas,” Moreno said.

Moreno said they don’t  want to see National Guard troops enforce immigration laws they haven’t been trained for., She says MALDEF would rather see that money spent on a humanitarian effort.