A Republican state senator has proposed a measure that is “a necessary first step in the process of weeding out foreign corruption in Texas and would contribute directly to the safety and security of Texas communities,” said Melissa Ford Maldonado, policy director for Texas Public Policy Foundation.
Senate Bill 1884 by State Sen. Pete Flores (R–Pleasanton) would “create its own version of the Engel list, one that is focused on tracking and monitoring corrupt and dangerous actors doing business in Texas.”
The Engel list contains the names of corrupt Central American public officials from the Northern Triangle countries (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) for the U.S. government to target with anti-corruption measures.
“This report is used to hold corrupt actors accountable using targeted economic and trade sanctions such as asset freezing and denying visas due to the foreign corruption spilling over into Texas, especially from our southern border,” explained Flores.
SB 1884 would establish a similar list to be maintained by the Texas secretary of state “identifying foreign nationals who have engaged in actions that undermine the security and sovereignty of the state or in significant corruption in their home country,” said Flores.
Sanctions can then be imposed on an individual or affiliated entity by denying an application for or revoking any business registration obtained to do business in this state, prohibiting contracts with state agencies, [and] prohibiting attendance in public institutes of higher education.
“Our southern neighbor ranks among the top five most corrupt countries in the world, and its industrial scale level of cartel-driven corruption is a direct threat to the U.S., especially Texas since we share such a large stretch of border with them,” said Ford Maldonado.
She explained that “the common thread between these individuals—governors, cabinet secretaries, and presidential candidates—is that they not only wrongfully filled their pockets with dirty money, but used it to directly harm Texas families and communities.”
“SB 1884 allows Texas to bring accountability to corrupt individuals like them, a class of people who have long escaped the accountability and justice that they deserve,” said Ford Maldonado.
“Texas must not turn a blind eye,” she concluded. “It is imperative that we take action to combat corruption and safeguard our communities from its destructive effects.”
The Texas Senate Committee on State Affairs left SB 1884 pending in committee on Monday.
Both the Texas Senate and House are considering various legislative measures to assist in securing the state. However, activists say the best plan is for states to declare invasions and defend the border using Article I, Section 10, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution.