Texas grassroots scored a big policy win last night for Texas’ border security. After stalling for more than two months, House Speaker Joe Straus finally relented and added his name to a letter authorizing the Department of Public Safety to commence a border security “surge” operation.
While the Obama Administration has allowed a humanitarian crisis to build on the border, Texas is going to begin doing something.
But this wouldn’t have happened without the “noise” conservative activists and legislators were making around the state. Straus, who owes his speakership to the liberal wing of the Democrat Party, had refused to address the issue until the people spoke out.
Two months ago, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst penned an authorization letter to allow to DPS to move resources to border security. Under the law, Straus’ signature was required but he instead sat on it.
Without the authorization letter, the DPS was unable to begin improving the security of the border with Mexico. Yes, that’s supposed to be the federal government’s job. Since they aren’t doing it, the men and women of Texas’ chief law enforcement agency are going to.
They could have started two months ago if Straus hadn’t stood in the way.
Straus’ crony coalition of weak-kneed Republicans and liberal Democrats had been working to delay or derail the surge for political purposes. The establishment GOP approach has been to cower at the Democrat line that border security efforts are unpopular with Hispanic voters.
That’s not what a McLaughlin Poll found last year, when National Review reported “60 Percent of Hispanics Back ‘Enforcement First’ Approach to Immigration Reform.”
There are many who suggest this “surge” won’t be enough. They may well be right, but at least the security surge will finally buy time for state policymakers to effectively plan the next steps.
While many issues surrounding immigration are outside the purview of our work, there is an overarching governance problem – and very real costs – that come when the cartels and foreign governments encourage, even facilitate, illegal border crossings.
As the DPS now shifts to the dangerous work of securing our border, let’s keep these men and women in our thoughts and prayers.