Skip to comments.[Texas]Senator contrasts no-fly zone in Libya with security on southern border
Posted on 03/25/2011 8:00:37 AM PDT by SwinneySwitch
AUSTIN, March 24 - The Obama administration and congressional leaders are willing to spend billions of dollars enforcing a no-fly zone in Libya, but fail to show up for our fight to secure our borders at home.
That is the view of state Sen. Tommy Williams, chair of the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee.
Williams, a Republican from The Woodlands, held a news conference at the state Capitol on Thursday to announce the introduction of a Senate Resolution critical of the federal governments record on securing the border.
I'm tired of the rhetoric, inaction and escalating costs Texas is forced to bear because the federal government has failed to secure our border, Williams said. Our citizens have a right to be protected. Too many of our land and homeowners along the Texas-Mexico border live in fear of their lives and property.
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano would likely dispute Williams analysis. She has said many times that the border is now much safer than in previous years, pointing out that the number of Border Patrol agents stationed on the southern border has gone up dramatically.
Williams, who participated in the Rio Grande Valley Partnerships Valley Legislators Tour in January, said it is time for the federal government to fulfill its constitutional duty to secure the border. He also said Texas deserved to be reimbursed by Congress for the extra costs state and local governments incur due to the federal governments failure to secure the Texas-Mexico border.
Williams said the inability of Washington, D.C., to secure the border and develop a comprehensive immigration reform policy has put an unfair and unreasonable burden on the state of Texas. He said Texas border communities in particular are struggling to keep their streets and neighborhoods safe from spillover gang violence.
Williams said the federal government imposes mandates on the state of Texas related to non-citizen, unauthorized immigrants. However, he said, it fails to provide the funding and manpower necessary to enforce immigration laws effectively. This broken system has punished Texas for too long, a news release from Williams stated.
Williams said Texas prisons house between 7,000 and 12,000 violent offenders who claim foreign citizenship. The state of Texas bears the entire cost of housing and prosecuting those offenders at an average cost of $47 per day, he said.
Converted to annual cost, this means Texas taxpayers are paying over $200 million per year because the federal government has failed to secure the border, the Republican senator said.
At the very least, the federal government should be responsible for the cost of housing non-citizen, unauthorized immigrants convicted of committing a crime in the state of Texas, Williams said. This is an unfunded mandate, and Texas should be fully reimbursed for its incurred expenses.
State Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, appeared at the press conference in support of Williams resolution. He used much of his time at the podium to push for a more immediate, state-level solution: southbound checkpoints.
Southbound traffic if our major problem. Guns, ammunition, technology, and money goes back into Mexico, said Lucio, pointing out that the gun used to murder U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement official Jaime Zapata in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, was purchased in Dallas.
Lucio has authored legislation which would allow the DPS to investigate the feasibility of southbound checkpoints.
Williams gave Lucio as a prime witness of the cost of federal inaction.
Its the cities and counties in the border region that are bearing the brunt of [the cost,] said Williams, who said that the cost of incarcerating undocumented residents cost the state $200,000,000 a year.
While Williams wasnt able to give an estimate of the cost of enforcing all federal immigration laws in Texas, he estimated that to put 30,000 Border Patrol agents on the border could cost the federal government $2.3 billion.
Lucio stressed that even though the spillover of violence from Mexico had been limited, the resolution was an important gesture of responsibility for Texas ally, friend, and largest trading partner. Lucio said that it was impossible for Texans to turn a blind eye toward the spiraling drug war happening closer to the border than San Antonio was to Austin.
Just because it happens an hour south of the border doesnt mean its not our issue. It is our issue, Lucio said.
Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said he backed SCR 36.
For far too long, Washington has dodged their Constitutional duty to secure our borders, passing the costs and the consequences of their inaction to states like Texas, Dewhurst said.
This resolution will hold Washington accountable for the millions of uncompensated tax dollars that Texans spend each year to enforce federal immigration laws and secure the 1,200-mile Southern border.
More political theater, its getting truly tiresome. Mr Williams should remember his party isn’t so different than the tards in regard to border security and ME wars. Perhaps it would mean more if the Spineless Party were to actually secure our borders rather than throw rocks and huff & puff.
Hey, but it’s a good thing the Homeland Security Department has the new high tech security center on the Canadian Border. Them canuks are the most violent border crossers I have ever heard of.