If passed, SB 1254 would allow for an interstate compact to help Texas secure its borders. Hall says the bill “will give the governor a tool to deal with the crisis at our southern border.”
Demonstrating the need for his proposal, Hall cited a recent statement by the Texas Department of Public Safety calling the southern border Texas’ greatest public security threat, due to transnational cartels and criminal activity. He concluded by saying that the creation of such a compact would make Texas, and the rest of America, safer.
When questioned by fellow committee members, Hall elaborated, saying that compact associates would not need to be border states, but any state that feels affected by the current crisis could join if they desire. He added there would need to be equitable agreements regarding national guardsmen a state would send.
Hall stated there would be no fiscal impact on the state from the bill, and all that is necessary is congressional approval.
Texas Public Policy Foundation Vice President Chuck DeVore testified in favor of the bill. After discussing his background of 24 years in the National Guard, he mentioned his service in a border state in 2005 and 2006. DeVore disclosed his simulation of a border crisis using his experience with war games and the aid of 24 experts, including Border Patrol, congressmen, and Mexico City analysts.
The simulation predicted the current border crisis, complete with the flood of people from the “Northern Triangle” (Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador) and the breakdown of border security that required Texas to use all available assets. DeVore stated that an interstate compact could mitigate the potential for lawsuits concerning whatever steps Texas would need to take regarding the “restoration of order” on the border.
When discussing the federal government’s incompetence at the border, DeVore mentioned two Yemeni nationals on the terror watchlist were found according to a Border Patrol news release. Shortly afterward, the release was ordered to be taken down by a Biden appointee. DeVore also mentioned the gag orders placed on Border Patrol and the congressmen who were threatened with arrest and barred from going in certain places, showing the current administration’s desire to control the narrative.
DeVore underwent a series of questions from committee Democrats, particularly Sen. Cesar Blanco (D–El Paso), who asked about how many on terror watchlists were caught at ports of entry, to which DeVore pointed out that due to security, biometrics, and the illegality of them being on planes to begin with, those on watchlists are unlikely to enter via legal means.
The bill was left pending in committee.