A leaked report from the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) states that border surge was largely a success. The report cites numbers indicating a reduction in illegal immigrant border crossings and cartel activity. The report lays the foundation for Texas Governor Greg Abbott’s plan to increase the number of permanent DPS troopers along the Texas-Mexico border.
“The permanent assignment of a sufficient number of troopers, agents and Texas Rangers to the border region is more effective and efficient than short-term deployments from around the state,” the report found, according to an article by Brian M. Rosenthal in the Houston Chronicle. The report, sixty-eight pages in length, stated the deployment of State resources in Operation Strong Safety II, bringing troopers and National Guardsmen to the border region, allowed the agency to build additional relationships with local law enforcement officials. This came at a cost of over $100 million.
The report was prepared for Governor Abbott last month and it was distributed on the condition that it not be released to the public. Nonetheless, the Chronicle obtained a copy of the report.
“The permanent assignment of a sufficient number of troopers, agents and Texas Rangers to the border region is more effective and efficient than short-term deployments from around the state,” the report found.
The report stated that the State should immediately provide funding for an additional 320 patrol vehicles and phase out the deployment of National Guardsmen by replacing them with 500 new troopers, as requested by the Governor in his State of the State address February 17th.
The need for additional resources along the border is clear. DPS director, Colonel Steve McCraw, testified before the Texas Senate Finance Committee on Monday. McCraw told the committee there is more danger to residents of the Rio Grande Valley than people realize, according to a report on KRGV-ABC5 in the Rio Grande Valley. The report also states that a local police officer admitted cartel members are threatening him and his family.
Referring to the cartels, McCraw testified, “They follow us around the clock. They know we follow the Constitution. They know we don’t stop anybody unless we have a reason to stop them. They use convoys against us. They use decoys against us. They use chase vehicles. They are effective, sometimes.”
McCraw said the gang activity is not limited to Hispanic gangs along the border. He testified there are Chinese gangs working with the Bloods and Crips. He also said the Mexican Mafia is working with Tango Blast. He said the Aryan Brotherhood is also involved and they are all working with the Gulf Cartel.
He said Texas has become a stronghold for the infamous MS-13 gang. “Texas was never a stronghold for MS-13. It is right now. You have boys in school being murdered based on execution hits ordered out of El Salvador. We’re seeing this on multiple occasions,” McCraw said.
McCraw told the committee they are accomplishing a lot along the border but they are nowhere near done. “I can put a lot of dope on the table and we can all high-five each other, but at the end of the day, did we really secure it?” McCraw said.
“McCraw said the border is far from secure,” KRGV reported. “He said more technology and manpower are necessary.”
The Chronicle reported other successes from the border surge. “In addition to the steep reduction in crossings since the mission began, which some experts have attributed to other factors, the report said that encounters with gang members in the operation area have dropped by 38 percent, pursuits in Hidalgo and Starr counties have dipped by 29 percent and documented human stash homes have plummeted by two-thirds,” Rosenthal wrote.
Local law enforcement officials in Mission and McAllen have reported a decrease in crime in their communities. Several high-profile leaders of the cartel have been arrested during the border surge as well.