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Op-Ed: Battling the Border Crisis

Op-Ed: Battling the Border Crisis

The Texas border region is engulfed in a full-blown humanitarian crisis measured in lost lives, unsafe communities and an overwhelmed infrastructure in danger of buckling under the flood of unaccompanied minors hailing largely from Central America. Despite President Obama’s threats of unilateral executive orders, the answer is not amnesty. Instead, Texas is taking decisive action against the drug cartels that have encouraged the influx as a way to distract law enforcement from their criminal activities.

Like the least principled foes America has ever met on the battlefield, the cartels are essentially cultivating a massive population of human shields. They must be stopped or this flood of illegal immigration will crush our healthcare system and overwhelm our public schools as it provides cover for the cartels.

Fortunately, Texas has made border security funding a priority over the past few years because Washington just won’t. I am proud to have helped secure funding for the assets the Texas Department of Public Safety is deploying in their efforts to secure the border region. Unfortunately, a number of cuts to border security funding made it necessary for me and a number of my conservative colleagues in the Texas Legislature to vote against last year’s budget. However, DPS is still making a remarkable effort with their resources.

I had the chance to view those efforts up close the other day when I traveled to the border with COL. Steve McCraw, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety and the man executing the plan to secure the border region recently approved by our Governor, Lt. Governor and Speaker of the House. In the course of our in-flight conversation and briefings I attended at the command post in Weslaco, a picture emerged of a relentless criminal element with no regard for human life driving this crisis.

All along a line stretching deep into South America, cartel members have seized upon President Obama’s remarks about refusing to prosecute undocumented immigrants if they’re underage and spread the rumor that children will be granted safe haven if they can cross the Rio Grande. As a result, a trickle of unaccompanied minors has grown to a flood.

Throughout the border region, river crossers who previously would have hidden from law enforcement are now seeking them out, surrendering in large groups and overwhelming the system. Shelters of every sort are now filled to bursting, so the Border Patrol and Immigrations & Customs Enforcement are attempting to clear the backlog by putting their charges on buses with instructions to show up weeks later for a hearing on their status. Unfortunately, those passengers are merely melting into the background when they reach their destinations. The sooner we can get those buses pointed south, the better.

Last fall, the DPS surge essentially stopped the cartels cold at the border for three weeks and I’m confident they’ll do the same with the new surge. I am also encouraged by conversations about additional efforts including the idea of local police departments across the state temporarily lending officers to the border effort. However, those efforts will fall short unless Washington gives the Border Patrol the resources they need to meet their obligations, ranging from more personnel and vehicles for patrols to judges able to conduct hearings. I would also support a special session of the Texas Legislature to discuss necessary funding to get that done.

Experience tells us that the feds are more interested in calming political turbulence than actually solving problems, so Texas must continue acting aggressively, in a manner that brings measurable results for the country and reminds everyone we are a nation of laws. As Texans , we shouldn’t tolerate anything less . 

Brandon Creighton is a Republican State Representative from House District 16 representing Conroe, Texas and surrounding communities. He is also a candidate for the Texas Senate for District 4 which stretches from Montgomery County east to Beaumont. The runoff election for that race is scheduled for August 5, 2014. Early voting begins on Monday, July 28 and ends on Friday, August 1.

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