“Border security and immigration enforcement are primarily—but not exclusively—the responsibility of the United States federal government,” says TPPF.
However, regardless of what the federal government chooses to do at the border, states and local communities should take every lawful step possible to keep their citizens safe and uphold their respective constitutional obligations. As Texans know all too well, public safety, health, education, and related costs that accompany a poorly controlled border have immediate negative impacts on state and local governments.
Nevertheless, despite the Texas Legislature’s allotments, TPPF highlighted that “Texas should never have had to pay for the crisis created by the federal government in the first place.”
Indeed, Texas is spending nearly $3 billion this biennium (2022-2023) for the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Military Department, Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and even the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to attempt to fulfill the role of the federal government in deterring illegal border crossers and interdicting drug and human smuggling operations.
As of April, Operation Lone Star—Texas’ border security action—has resulted in more than 13,600 criminal arrests, with more than 11,000 being felony arrests, and 233,000 apprehensions of illegal border crossers. DPS also seized nearly 300 million lethal doses of fentanyl, $30 million in currency, and more than 3,700 weapons.
However, TPPF says that even with the successes of OLS, the challenges are significant and “Operation Lone Star is unable to cover all the gaps created by the federal government.”
As long as Texas has an unsecure border, every state is a border state.
Additionally, “long term, the requirements for executing Operation Lone Star are difficult to sustain, both financially and in terms of manpower.”
The Texas Military Department has already mentioned the need to reduce deployments to the border.
Meanwhile, with more than 2.1 million encounters with illegal aliens by U.S. Border Patrol this federal fiscal year, Texans are sounding the alarm regarding the devastation to property, livelihoods, and human life.
Counties across the state are now asking for Gov. Greg Abbott to utilize his constitutional powers as governor to declare an invasion on the Texas-Mexico border and begin the process of repelling illegal aliens rather than simply attempting to deter them.
Abbott will also need the concerted effort of Texas lawmakers next session in order to halt illegal immigration into Texas.
“This is probably the most important [legislative] session that y’all are going to have in your entire life,” said border county attorney Brent Smith. “Texas, I think, will fall or rise determinably on what y’all do this session. Everything’s at stake.”
The Texas Legislature will convene January 10, 2023, for the 88th session.