Amid an ongoing humanitarian crisis at the border, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick announced the formation of the Senate Committee on Border Security while at the Houston Business Coalition breakfast on Thursday morning.
The committee will focus on creating policy that strengthens security at the southern border and prevents illegal border crossings. In a press release sent out after the announcement, Patrick criticized the Biden administration for its lax immigration policies and pointed to the harm caused by illegal crossings as his main reason for creating the committee.
“Public safety is government’s first responsibility and there is no greater threat to public safety in Texas right now than the failed, open-border policies of the Biden Administration,” said Patrick. “The cost to Texans of unchecked human trafficking and drug smuggling is staggering. The ancillary cost of rampant crime in our communities is enormous. It is unacceptable that our citizens and our brave Texas Peace Officers are being killed.”
Patrick appointed State Sen. Brian Birdwell to lead the committee, and he included Senators Bob Hall and Juan Hinojosa as members. Each of the three men has a military background, which Patrick said will guarantee that they have “the experience and knowledge of operations, strategy, and tactics to best serve.”
Although border security has consistently been a priority issue for Texas conservatives, current GOP leaders like Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Patrick have come under fire for failing to make any meaningful progress on the issue in the years they’ve been in office.
Last March, after a record spike in human trafficking, illegal crossings, and drug smuggling on the southern border, Abbott created Operation Lone Star to deploy Texas National Guard troops to the area. However, Abbott’s program has been plagued with problems, such as its failure to decrease illegal activity at the southern border, troop pay issues, and poor living conditions for soldiers—all of which Texas Scorecard has extensively detailed.
Lt. Gov. Patrick’s new Senate committee will focus on the same issues Operation Lone Star attempted to alleviate, and Patrick announced that the three senators will work closely with Abbott’s office, the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas National Guard, and other state agencies.
With early voting for the primary elections beginning in less than a month, Patrick, who is up for re-election this year, has limited time to persuade voters that he can effectively prioritize and strengthen Texas’s border security with another term as lieutenant governor.
“Running for Lt. Governor in 2014 and again in 2018, I pledged to fund border security at historic levels. I kept my promise. This year, I approved funding to build the wall,” said Patrick. “Texas must secure the border because the Biden Administration will not. The creation of the Senate Committee on Border Security will ensure that this remains a top priority of the Texas Senate.”