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  1. #1
    Administrator Jean's Avatar
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    Texas DPS wants $1 billion to beef up border security

    By Tom Benning
    Published: 26 August 2016 09:17 AM
    Updated: 26 August 2016 11:22 AM

    AUSTIN — Texas' unprecedented investment in security along its border with Mexico could become a billion-dollar proposition if the state agency spearheading that effort gets its way.

    The Department of Public Safety is asking lawmakers for an additional $320 million in the next two-year budget to expand its law enforcement push at the border. That would come on top of a base border security budget of $750 million over the biennium that begins in 2018.

    The new funds would help cover the salaries for the full allotment of 250 troopers OK'd last year; the cost of hiring another 250 troopers at the border; and new technology and equipment.

    It's no lock that lawmakers will OK the hefty sum next year, especially with worries about a tight budget cycle. The wish-list items were made as "exceptional items" in the appropriations requests that DPS — and all state agencies — send to the Legislative Budget Board.

    And some Democrats, already skeptical of the effort, said they need better proof of the return on investment.

    "If DPS wants $1 billion — after getting almost a billion last session — taxpayers need to know what they are paying for," said Rep. Rafael Anchia, D-Dallas.

    But border security remains a top issue for many Texas voters, looming large in races for both the White House and the state House. Republicans, who dominate the Legislature, often tout the strengthened presence along the Texas-Mexico line.

    And DPS officials on Thursday told the Texas Public Safety Commission that some impetus came from the top, pointing to Gov. Greg Abbott's stated goal last year of hiring 500 new troopers.

    "That means we have 250 and now we're talking about 500, is that correct?" asked Cynthia Leon, who chairs the governor-appointed public safety panel.

    "That's correct," said Suzy Whittenton, DPS' chief financial officer. "That was one of the governor's initiatives — to get 500 troopers on the border."

    A spokesman for Abbott, who's championed the "toughest border security plan of any state in the history of our nation," confirmed the support for a total of 500 new troopers at the border. The spokesman, John Wittman, declined to comment on DPS' appropriations request.

    Abbott would be central to any balancing act of boosting border assets amid inauspicious economic indicators.

    Texas' Republican leaders —Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and House Speaker Joe Straus — this summer pushed state agencies for austerity. Likely fueled by the impact of low oil prices, they asked agencies for a 4 percent cut from proposed spending for the next two-year budget cycle.

    Those trims would potentially affect DPS' overall ranks, as the agency estimated that they would have to lose some 100 commissioned peace officers. But notable is the fact that state leaders spared border security from the chopping block.

    That exemption would leave intact the $800 million that lawmakers last year approved for border security. The package aimed to solidify the state's border surge, launched in 2014 in response to increased illegal crossings in the Rio Grande Valley.

    The signature piece was the ability of DPS to hire 250 additional troopers at the border, which aimed to decrease the reliance on rotating in troopers from other parts of the state.

    The new money would seemingly address Abbott's desire last year for 500 new troopers at the border. In his State of the State address last year, the governor said Texas "will not sit idly by while the president ignores the law and fails to secure the border."

    Other components of the boost would include 5,000 additional border cameras, the purchase of two helicopters and four planes, and the replacement of hundreds of high-mileage vehicles.

    Even with high-profile backing of the border push, DPS Director Steve McCraw will probably have to get some lawmakers past the sticker shock. Border security is primarily the federal government's responsibility, and the state spent only $120 million on it as recently as 2010-11.

    DPS also will probably need to provide additional metrics to show the impact of the border operations.

    Democrats, in particular, have bemoaned shifting definitions of success. And McCraw — pointing to some inherent challenges of border security — has admitted that it can be hard to produce a comprehensive set of metrics that make the case.

    "It's very difficult for us to go back to the Legislature and to the governor and say, 'You've provided this amount of money — this is what we've done with your money. And this is the level of security that we've achieved,' " he said Thursday.

    But DPS has responded by developing a new plan to measure effectiveness at the border — a proposal that's won praise from some vocal critics. And McCraw has always maintained that the border push has made a difference in stopping illegal crossings and disrupting cartel activity.

    "Clearly, it had an impact," he said. "Almost an immediate impact."

    http://www.dallasnews.com/news/polit...r-security.ece
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  2. #2
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    After 2 years and $800 million, Texas' border boost has one solid outcome: more traffic tickets ...

    www.dallasnews.com › News › Texas Legislature

    7 hours ago - After 2 years and $800M, Texas' border boost has one solid outcome: more traffic tickets ... But that increased border presence produces broader impacts, ... More than 6,500 tickets were written there in May — the highest ...

    (I can't get the whole story because you have to subscribe to the paper to see it.)
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  3. #3
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Border Security Push Yields Bumper Crop of Traffic Tickets


    • By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    DALLAS — Nov 27, 2016, 2:20 PM ET


    A new border security approach promoted by the Texas Department of Public Safety has yielded at least one result — a bumper crop of traffic tickets.

    An analysis by The Dallas Morning News ( http://bit.ly/2fTBBZQ ) found that traffic stops in Starr and Hidalgo counties on the Texas-Mexico border accounted for nearly 8 percent of all traffic tickets issued in Texas in September.


    That result comes as the state Department of Public Safety is preparing to ask the Texas Legislature for an unprecedented $1.1 billion in border security funding for the next two years.


    Agency Director Steve McCraw has no regrets. He says troopers who see traffic violations will respond. He also says drug cartel scouts engage with officers and troopers on border highways as decoys.

    ———
    Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/b...ckets-43806893

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  4. #4
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    I hope Texas approves the expenditure and that DPS is the right agency to handle this. Texas Rangers are probably better suited for the job of border security.
    A Nation Without Borders Is Not A Nation - Ronald Reagan
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  5. #5
    Moderator Beezer's Avatar
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    We already pay our troops paychecks. Get them down there ASAP..."Operation Return to Sender".

    Do not detain...deport. They came through Mexico and they can go right back through Mexico. Reverse dump, then maybe the Mexican President will stop this human trafficking.

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