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    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Aug 2006

    Valley lawmakers critical of border security plan

    Ty Johnson

    July 5, 2015

    SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — A border security standoff between the houses of the Texas Legislature loomed large over much of the session last year, and it showed at a recent conference of border leaders.

    Although the Texas Senate won the fight for its $800 million border security package — the biggest in the country — representatives in the House are still critical of the legislation.

    State Rep. Eddie Lucio III said only time will tell how the state’s border experiment would turn out, but it figures to at least factor into hiring practices at law enforcement agencies throughout the Rio Grande Valley.

    The legislation calls for the hiring of 250 Department of Public Safety officers to patrol the Mexican border when Cameron County officials have said they’re already having difficulty keeping the sheriff and constable deputy ranks full with so many officers leaving to work for U.S. Customs and Border protection.

    “I think the Senate got what it wanted,” Lucio, D-Brownsville, said.

    When the Texas Border Coalition met for its summer retreat on South Padre Island this past month, the topic was still hot.

    Rio Grande Guardian editor Steve Taylor moderated a panel discussion of legislators during the retreat, but he said afterward that border security came up so often that it likely deserved its own panel to itself.

    State Rep. Rene Oliveira pointed out issues with southbound checkpoints, which could back up traffic and impact local businesses.

    “It’s easy to say we need to implement the southbound checkpoints, but it’s going to be very hard,” Oliveira, D-Brownsville, said.

    Secretary of State Carlos H. Cascos, the former Cameron County judge, said Mexican officials had not contacted him about the legislation and couldn’t comment on how it was received south of the border.

    But he noted the Legislature operated separately from his office, which is charged with maintaining the state’s foreign affairs, including border issues.

    Last edited by GeorgiaPeach; 07-06-2015 at 01:19 AM.
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