FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 2, 2014
(512) 463-0120 office
AUSTIN, TX - Yesterday, the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) voted unanimously to approve an additional $86.1 million to continue the state's border security efforts through August 2015. Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa is the only border legislator to sit on the LBB, the joint committee of the Texas Legislature that develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations.
The new funding will be used to wind down the presence of National Guard troops along the Rio Grande Valley border from about 1,000 to 200 between January and March. An additional 640 DPS troopers will be hired to increase existing enforcement forces, while camera and aircraft surveillance will also be expanded to protect our Texas citizens and to eliminate cartels engaged in smuggling of illegal drugs, people, and firearms.
Senator Hinojosa issued the following statement:
"Monday's LBB vote is a significant step in our state's ongoing border security plan that will continue to be a critical issue this coming session. I voted to approve the $86.1 million funding because we do need additional DPS troops and Parks & Wildlife wardens to support our local law enforcement and border security efforts. At the same time, this funding will be used to wind down the National Guard presence along the Rio Grande Valley border, a presence I have opposed from the very beginning.
Utilizing the National Guard creates an image of militarization of the border and sends the wrong message. There is also a concern with the lack of coordination between the National Guard, DPS, and our local law enforcement. We can make better use of our money on border security by investing funds in a DPS training facility in the Valley so that troopers will become acclimated and familiar with our Valley culture and communities.
We can also invest in raising salaries of DPS troopers so we can compete with police officers in big cities as well as providing additional funding to our local communities who need more resources to hire more police officers and deputies. It is my priority to ensure the safety of our families in the Valley and to support the strained resources of our local law enforcement through cost effective and carefully crafted border security efforts."