As I’ve written before, Governor Rick Perry is for border control and has the record to prove it, in spite of very unique challenges in Texas.
Unfortunately, the Federal government which has the Constitutional duty to protect our borders has refused to fund the necessary manpower and equipment and has also been negligent in identifying, arresting, and deporting illegal aliens. Governor Perry has focused on border security to control illegal invasion in the first place, both in Texas and the greater United States. He advocates what he calls “boots on the ground:” patrolling the border, with agents, planes, drones, and helicopters.
Governor Perry supports strategically placed fencing in urban areas and not the rural fence that doesn’t work well when placed 1/4 mile from the Rio Grand. More here from National Public Radio. This article from the LA Times, gives an example of the unintended consequences of unwise placement of the fence, resulting in Texans whose homes have been fenced off from the rest of the US.
While there are National Guard troops on the 2000 mile border with Mexico, only 250 of the 1200 are deployed along the 1200 miles of Texas’ border. Perry has repeatedly asked for more. Read this news report from a year ago. He also pushed the Federal government to allow the military practice to their skills with unmanned Predator aircraft along our border (“They’ve gotta practice somewhere.”)
As a direct result of the Governor alerting Texas Republican Congressmen about President Obama’s plan to remove the National Guard after less than 6 months, we’ll have them longer. News report, here, from June, 2011 about the extension.
Texas (along with our costs from eleven ICE detention center detainees being dumped in the State by Homeland security, our support of Katrina refugees, and our natural disasters like Ike, wildfires, and tornadoes) is expected to pay for our own Guard if we want them here after September.
Watch and listen to Governor Perry talking with Fox News Greta van Susteren about the border, that “boots on the ground” phrase, and the problems with the fence. (You can see and hear the Texas Ranger helicopters in the background.)
He created the Ranger Recon force, sending 150 Texas Rangers (Motto:”One riot, one Ranger”) to the border along with helicopters and Texas Guardsmen, paid for with Texas state funds. “Operation Linebacker” and “Border Star” were efforts from 2006 and 2007: Gov. Perry Implements and Leads Operation Border Star From 2009: Gov. Perry Expanding Operation Border Star – Sends Rangers, Guard to the Border (2009)
Texas spends over $200 million a year on the cost of jailing illegal aliens that the feds bring here. In addition, we’ve spent $79 million of our own Texas tax funds on troops, helicopters.
When the Texas Legislature refused to fund his program to implement a “virtual border” using camera surveillance to augment “boots on the ground,” so he used money from the Governor’s discretionary fund. In some cases, local sheriffs and cities refused to cooperate and their opposition impeded full implementation of the program.
The following are from the Governor’s News room:
Tuesday, June 07, 2011: Gov. Perry Adds Sanctuary Cities to Special Session Call He also added bills to approve “Secure Communities” and a ban on Texas driver license for illegal aliens.
“Gov. Rick Perry announced the addition of legislation relating to the abolishment of sanctuary cities, the use of the federal Secure Communities program by law enforcement agencies, and the issuance of driver’s licenses and personal identification certificates to the special session call.
“Texas owes it to the brave law enforcement officials, who put their lives on the line every day to protect our families and communities, to give them the discretion they need to adequately do their jobs,” Gov. Perry said.
“Abolishing sanctuary cities in Texas, using the federal Secure Communities program and ensuring that only individuals who are here legally can obtain a valid Texas driver’s license sends a clear message that Texas will not turn a blind eye to those breaking our laws.”
Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Gov. Rick Perry on House Passage of House Bill 12.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011: Statement by Gov. Rick Perry Regarding Sanctuary City Legislation
2005: Gov. Perry works with the 16-member Texas Border Sheriff’s Association to deter illegal immigration and prevent border-related crime – Creates ‘Operation Linebacker” – Awards $6 Million to Border Counties for Border Security
2010: Governor Perry’s Letter to Barack Obama (2010)
(Thanks to “casinva” at FreeRepublic.com for many of these sources.)
I find my self looking for, copying and pasting these quotes over and over, so here’s a series of excerpts from Governor Rick Perry’s book showing that he’s not in favor of amnesty. From Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington:
The Supreme Court—filled with nine unelected and unaccountable judges appointed to the bench for life—long ago wrested away from the people the power to decide what is right and what is wrong and, at the most fundamental level, how we should live our lives. Nothing could be more offensive to the concept of liberty and the principle of federalism. (pp. 94-95)
We can have all the immigration debates we want, but Americans are demanding that the border be secured first.
We have already been burned once by false promises of border security in exchange for tying security to other aspects of the immigration debate. President Regan, in 1986, signed the immigration reform and control act, which legalized close to 3 million undocumented immigrants. The law was supposed to be a comprehensive solution with provisions intended to clamp down on border security. These provisions were never enforced, and the subsequent explosion in illegal crossings has resulted in some 11 million illegal aliens living in the United States today an estimated 1.8 million illegal immigrants are currently residing in Texas, compared with 1.1 million in 2000. In ten years, that represents an increase of 54 percent or 70,000 persons each year coming to our state illegally. Today, the Pew Hispanic Center estimates than about one in ten people born in Mexico live in the United States. And all of this has occurred outside the system and to the disadvantage of others who have been waiting in line for many years. There are literally millions of people waiting to get into the country legally. pp.118-119
These levels of unchecked illegal immigration are unsustainable. We expend vast resources on illegal immigrants and our own security. State and local governments, which provide essential services like schooling and emergency health care to illegal immigrants, often under a mandate from the federal courts, bear the brunt of the immense fiscal burden. A 2007 study by the Congressional Budget Office reached several concussions relevant to this issue. Among them, the CBO pointed out that while most of the welfare or public assistance programs operated by the federal government, like Social Security, food stamps. And Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, are not available to illegal immigrants, the same federal government requires states to provide certain benefits to illegal immigrants in order for states to participate in programs receiving federal funds. Education is a good example. Emergency medical care is another; any health care facility receiving federal funds must provide certain care even for individuals who cannot pay for it, including many illegal immigrants.
A 2006 report by the Texas Comptroller’s office estimated the budgetary impacts of illegal immigration in Texas. The report found that approximately 135,000 undocumented students in Texas public schools cost the state $957million in just the 2004-2005 school year. Other studies using different population estimates and including federal spending have point to even higher costs of $1.2 billion (for the 2004-2005 school year) and $1.7 billion for the 2003 -2004 school year). The comptroller’s report cited incarceration and uncompensated healthcare as the two largest costs associated with illegal immigrants to local government entities in Texas These two items cost local governments $1. 4 Billion over a one year period.
Of course those living in Texas illegally also provide income to the state because of increased economic activity, sales taxes, and property taxes (either directly or through rent subsidizing the property owner). But adding the estimated revenues and costs to both the state and local governments, Texas taxpayers were out $928 million in 2005. (p. 120 )
The State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP) is a case study in the refusal of the federal government to do its job at our borders. SCAAP was created in 1994 to reimburse states for part of the cost of incarcerating illegal immigrants who commit crimes.
Naturally, however, SCAAP is more window dressing than real policy, as it is woefully underfunded. A study commission by the United States/Mexico Border Counties Coalition found that in 2006, border counties in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas on the Mexican border received a total of only $4.7 million in SCAAP reimbursements, representing 9 percent of the costs of handling illegal immigrants who committed state crimes. Among just those border counties in Texas, the reimbursement rate was a mere 3 percent. The reimbursement rate is so low that some counties do not even apply for funding because it is not worth the cost of paperwork.
This is a joke. Arizona governor Jan Brewer has calculated that her state alone is owed &700 million in SCAAP funds since2003. Former Arizona governor Janet Napolitano wrote in 2008 that “as governor, I must enforce the law and pay to incarcerate these individuals. The federal government just shrugs its shoulders and walks away from its statutory obligation” Now serving as President Obama’s Secretary of Homeland Security, she has not persuaded the federal government to step up to the plate.
The bottom line is that while our federal officials jealously claim exclusive authority over immigration and border policy, they avoid actually securing the border. While they mandate that state taxpayers provide services, they rarely confront any of the associated costs. In so doing, the federal Government refuses to fulfill its most basic constitutional responsibilities. (pp. 121-122)
A grand, bipartisan compromise on immigration similar to the failed 1986 law was attempted in both 2006 and 2007. In the end, the bill died, largely because the American people had been to this rodeo before. According to an ABC News poll taken in the heat of the debate in 2007, two-thirds of Americans did not believe Congress was serious about controlling illegal immigration.
Now, the current administration willfully refuses to enforce the laws on the books. While President Bush didn’t do as much as I had hoped, his administration did step up workplace enforcement, reducing the enticement for illegal immigration. President Obama on the other hand, has reversed course. He also has intentionally undermined one of the few successful measures the federal government has implemented. Section 287 (g) of the Immigration and Nationality Act allows the deputization” of local law enforcement after training from federal authorities so that they may process illegal immigrants detained in the course of law enforcement activities for removal. This program simply allows local officials to aid Immigration and Customs Enforcement in the application of our laws.
Bowing to pressure from interest groups in favor of unchecked illegal immigration , the Obama administration has instead issued new requirements intended to curtail the program by making it more expensive, among other things. So the Federal government is now manipulating successful programs to stop willing local jurisdictions from doing the federal government’s job themselves. (pp. 122-123)
(footnotes on this part refer to the explanation about Section 287 (g) at http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2010/03/time-to-stop-the-rush-for-amnesty-immigration-reform
Perry, Rick (2010-11-15). Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington . Little, Brown and Company. Kindle Edition.
The typos are all mine. I’ll fix what I can, when I can.
From Todd Staples, Texas’ Agricultural Commissioner, via the Austin American Statesman:
Despite empty assurances from Washington, communities along the Texas-Mexico border continue to face threats and violence from Mexican drug cartels. With the release of our commissioned report, “Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment,” the Texas Department of Agriculture offers a powerful perspective into this national security breach. If President Barack Obama and his administration won’t hear the concerned voices of Texans, perhaps he will listen to high-ranking retired military generals who know a thing or two about facing foreign enemies.
Retired Gen. Barry R. McCaffrey, the former U.S. drug czar under President Bill Clinton and SouthCom commander of all U.S. troops in Latin America, and retired Maj. Gen. Robert H. Scales, former commandant of the United States Army War College, were commissioned by the Agriculture Department and the Texas Department of Public Safety to utilize their vast military expertise to incorporate strategic, operational and tactical elements of securing borders and hostile territories and make recommendations to apply these elements along the Rio Grande.
First and foremost, the generals argue that Washington must shed the cloak of denial and admit there is a problem. Additionally, they say, there must be a highly organized, integrated, pro-active approach in which local, state and federal officials work together to create synergies to stop terrorists’ incursions. None of this is possible, they continue, without sufficient federal resources, support and additional boots on the ground.
The generals agree that our farmers, ranchers and rural residents — along with our urban areas — are under attack by cartels that rely daily on tactics such as killing, kidnapping, human smuggling, transnational arms shipments and blackmail to carry out their illegal trade to distributor gangs in hundreds of U.S. cities. Those same gangs help facilitate illegal commerce that pushes drugs into America while sending illegal weapons and cash into Mexico. The report says between $19 billion and $39 billion in illicit proceeds move through southwestern border “bulk smuggling” operations to Mexico each year.
The generals also conclude that Mexican cartels are seeking to create a “sanitary zone” — their own turf — inside the United States, specifically inside the southwest border, which they consider to be “vulnerable.” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw has testified that over a period of 18 months, six of seven cartels have established sophisticated command and control facilities in Texas cities. The report goes on to say at least 70 residential lots in Hidalgo County have been purchased with millions of dollars in drug proceeds.
This lack of security and disregard for Americans’ safety cannot be what our Founding Fathers had in mind when they penned the Constitution and specifically outlined the federal government’s responsibility to protect American soil and citizens from foreign invaders.
It’s important for the American people and the federal government to fully understand that besides being a gateway for criminal activity, the 1,200-mile Texas-Mexico border plays a critical role in the safe transportation of goods and services through our nation. Allowing this area to be under siege is not only inexcusable for the sake of our citizens’ safety, but also is detrimental to American trade, agriculture and our overall economy. The proof will be seen in your neighborhood grocery stores, as food prices increase to compensate for added security. Keep in mind, Mexico is the No. 1 trading partner for Texas and No. 2 for U.S. exports. It is this legal trade we are trying to preserve.
As the generals’ report concludes, it is imperative the federal government admits to the problem of cartel violence along the Texas-Mexico border and fulfills its duty to defend and protect Americans.
Denying the problem fails our Founding Fathers, our citizens and our nation. Are you listening, Washington? Texans want action.