Texas’ Response to Border Crisis and This Week in the Legislature

March 27, 2021

Texas Responds to Border Crisis

The Biden administration has failed on every level to secure our border. Recently, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary admitted that apprehensions could reach levels not seen in almost 20 years. This is a rapidly growing humanitarian crisis at our border that must be addressed. With a surge of migrants, influx of COVID-19 cases, and a rising threat of drug cartels and human trafficking, Texas is stepping up (once again due to lack of federal support) to take care of our residents and the unaccompanied minors who are at severe risk of being trafficked and endangered.

Efforts to address this crisis are well underway. Texas has currently deployed over 1,000 DPS troopers, agents, and Texas Rangers as part of Operation Lone Star to help secure the border, combat human trafficking, and protect Texans. We are augmenting with tactical resources from Special Operations Groups and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle teams.  Texas has also received authorization for National Guard to establish operations along the river.  The Texas Department of Public Safety is also conducting interviews with unaccompanied minors coming into our country to identify instances of trafficking and acquire intelligence that will lead to the arrest of these heinous criminals.

We are also investigating the conditions at facilities where the migrant children are being sent to ensure they have access to safe drinking water and a suitable living environment. In addition, the Texas Department of State Health Services has been deployed to investigate and prevent the spread of COVID-19 at these migrant facilities.

In total, we have appropriated $800.6 million in Texas for border security funding to be utilized in the current biennium.  We have also added 250 new Troopers and provided over $22 million in additional funds to fight human trafficking and anti-gang activities, improve and install border cameras, and establish a new tactical training facility in Cameron County.  

While it’s clear the Biden administration has shown egregious inaction and inability to secure our border, Texas is taking tangible and substantive steps to fill the gaps and accomplish what our federal government cannot. I want you to know, we are 100% committed to keeping our citizens safe, and our families cared for. We will defend Texas from this growing threat.  And we will deploy any necessary resources to help secure the border although it is a federal responsibility.  

This Week in the Texas Legislature 

We celebrated World Down Syndrome Day at the Texas Capitol by wearing brightly colored, mismatched socks.  Traditionally it is celebrated on March 21 because people with Down syndrome have 3 copies of their 21st chromosome.   

When session adjourned my colleagues and I went to visit with Arkansas gubernatorial candidate Sarah Huckabee Sanders and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Three of my priority bills were heard in committee this week.  One that was implementing tools for transmission and distribution utilities to help restore power in the event of widespread power outage.  The other two were law enforcement related and Chief Steve Stanford from Bridgeport PD and Sheriff Lane Akin of Wise county joined me to provide expert testimony. 

I also had a great visit in my capitol office this week with Aledo ISD Superintendent Susan Bohn to discuss upcoming education issues the legislature will be addressing.  I always enjoy my visits with constituents and leaders from the district and appreciate hearing from you through emails and phone calls to the office.  

The House Committee on State Affairs met for over 20 hours starting Thursday morning at 8:00 am and ending around 5:00 am on Friday.  Topics for discussion included disallowing local jurisdictions to defund police and a statewide preemption bill to ban homeless camping in public places.  We also heard several religious liberties bills where local jurisdictions cannot prohibit worship service at churches during a disaster.  Bills were heard to require transparency and reporting of registered lobbyists and to end taxpayer funded lobbying.  Other committees this week heard bills on police reform and 2nd Amendment rights like constitutional carry.  To date, committees in the House have heard over 580 bills.  Many have been passed out and are heading to the House floor to be debated.  

Next week the House will be hearing on the floor several emergency electricity bills that came as a result of Winter Storm Uri.  I also have three more bills that I will be laying out in committees that include other priorities such as defining antisemitism and creating a commission to combat and educate on this issue and legislation that requires divestment in public funds of companies that boycott the energy industry.