Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said the plan he laid out on Wednesday in Austin will put more boots on the ground that can actually make arrests by phasing in Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers and phasing out the National Guard troops who cannot make arrests. The comments from Dewhurst came as an exclusive response to questions from Breitbart Texas regarding Wednesday’s press conference.
Grassroots activists across Texas have demanded action from the Texas government to secure the entire Texas border as previously reported by Breitbart Texas. “I have continually pressed for an approach that spans the border from Brownsville to El Paso,” the Lt. Governor told Breitbart Texas. “The key implications of the proposal I signed this week are that the operations will expand to cover the entire border, with continuous funding until the Legislature gets a chance to act …”
Dewhurst praised the ongoing efforts of both the DPS troopers and the soldiers of the Texas National Guard (TNG). “DPS has operational control of the state’s border security initiative, with the latitude to deploy assets in the most effective fashion, including the Texas National Guard, which has done a phenomenal job” Dewhurst said. “The National Guard will continue to play a key role in securing our border for the long term, especially in terms of aerial support as part of a federally-funded effort.”
Dewhurst stressed the need to use the state government’s resources in the most effective and cost effective way possible. “Texas will be replacing boots on the ground that cannot make arrests (Texas National Guard) with boots on the ground that CAN make arrests (DPS),” he explained.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Dewhurst acknowledged that this was at least in part a financial consideration, as the National Guard personnel are more expensive on a per capita basis than DPS. The reduction of TNG forces should enable more resources to be deployed along the border and these new resources (DPS troopers) will have total law enforcement powers.
Dewhurst told Breitbart Texas that Texas will continue to show the federal government and other border states how to secure the border by “appropriately focusing on hot spots.”
Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby said he felt this was actually a step in the right direction for Texas and the border. “A lot of grassroots groups are upset at the idea of the Guard being taken from the border, but if you really look at what they are doing there, their limitations, and the limited region where they are deployed, this is a good step — provided state leaders follow through.
The Guard was only deployed to roughly a quarter of the Texas border with Mexico and the DPS were deployed to the same region, the Rio Grande Valley Sector. The next sector over, the Laredo Sector, has been largely open wide for smugglers and human traffickers. The Border Patrol agents in that sector have gone on record repeatedly about the limitations imposed upon their ability to secure the border by the Obama Administration.”
Darby Added, “Now we will have state law enforcement on the entire length of the Texas border with Mexico and they will actually be able to have full law enforcement capabilities. They will be able to make arrests. As a strong border security advocate, I am personally relieved and excited at the thought of Texas DPS having an actual presence on the entire Texas border with Mexico. Now we just have to make sure that the full border DPS surge actually happens and stays.”
“This is not THE solution, but it is definitely part of a solution and works to increase border security in Texas.”
Bob Price is a senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas and a member of the original Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX