Opinion: The Real Conversation on Border Security

Opinion: The Real Conversation on Border Security

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst seeks re-election in November 2014.

The federal government’s litany of policy failures is endless, but their longstanding refusal to take meaningful steps toward securing the border has created a crisis with deadly repercussions. In recent testimony to the Texas Senate Committee on Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Homeland Security, Colonel Steve McCraw, head of the Texas Department of Public Safety, emphasized the fact that the lucrative nature of cross-border trafficking, be it northbound drugs and sex slaves or southbound guns and cash, has emboldened cartels to be even more aggressive, resourceful and fearless in the face of Washington’s failures.

The cartels must be stopped and it’s time for Texas to step boldly into the vacuum created by Washington’s failure to act decisively and effectively.

Last fall, the Texas Department of Public Safety launched Operation Strong Safety, a close-ended operation that was the culmination of years of investment by the Texas Legislature in the resources necessary to clamp down on the border. Leveraging everything from state-funded surveillance aircraft, armored gunboats and fusion centers, the operation caused a marked drop in the key measures of criminal border trafficking.

That success motivated me to call for this three-week concept to be expanded to a year-round effort because it is in the best interest of our citizens in the border region and across Texas. The sooner this can be done the better. A review of the conditions caused by the cross-border crime only drives home that point.

Seven of the eight major Mexican cartels are currently operating in Texas and are using the state to move marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and people while sending bulk cash, weapons, and stolen vehicles back to Mexico. This is causing a rise in associated crimes like home invasions, human trafficking and stash house operations of the sort recently discovered in Houston and Austin.

Holding stations for drugs and the victims of human trafficking, typically located in residential areas, stash houses have proliferated, with reported incidents growing from 178 to 237 between 2011 and 2012. In the same timeframe, apprehensions rose from 2,204 cases involving 12,473 aliens to 2,747 cases involving 32,138 aliens. That trend must be reversed with decisive action.

Driven by an increased operational tempo, coordination of resources, and data-driven decisions, Strong Safety yielded results that merit year-round implementation of the surge. It is our best hope to protect the freedoms of those who lawfully live and work in the United States and in Texas. In the 2015 Legislative Session, I plan to continue my ongoing fight for increased border security funding, starting with the surge concept.

Addressing these key areas will continue our progress toward keeping all Texans safe and respecting the humanity of all involved. The current situation, in which Texas ranchers are overrun, neighborhoods are turned into trafficking way stations and human beings die of exposure in the desert, cannot continue unchecked.

Until our border region is adequately secured and human and drug traffickers no longer move freely in Texas, discussions of other reforms are moot. 

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst

The views expressed in this letter are not reflective of Breitbart Texas or Breitbart News Network.

Lt. Governor David Dewhurst is a candidate for re-election against State Senator Dan Patrick. Both Lt. Governor Dewhurst and State Sen. Patrick were invited to submit op-eds.

Breitbart Texas Managing Director Brandon Darby previously covered Operation Strong Safety here

Follow Breitbart Texas on Twitter for the latest headlines @BreitbartTexas