Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Texas Securing Our Nation's Border

By Governor Rick Perry
Friday, January 11, 2008  •  Austin, Texas  •  Editorial

During election seasons Washington politicians give us a lot of rhetoric on border security, but -- as they continue to demonstrate -- no real solutions. Yet while the Washington DC politicians continue to wags their tongue about ways to secure our border, Texas has been and will continue to partner with local and federal officials to protect its citizens from terrorism, border crime and violence. For us, securing the nation’s border is not just a subject of intense debate, it directly impacts how we live. Two-thirds of the U.S.-Mexico border lies in Texas. We need Washington to be a part of the solution, but until it acts, Texas will continue to take care of Texans.

And some of the warriors that best take care of the Texas border region are our local law enforcement leaders and officers. While local officers may not stand at the border checking passports, every Texas police officer daily fights the crime, violence and illegal trafficking that seeps in though our porous border.

The U.S.-Mexico border stretching over 1,200 mile of Texas makes our state the nation’s foremost drug and human smuggling transshipment center and directly increases crime in the State. Powerful Mexican crime cartels use transnational gangs, like Mara Salvatrucha (MS-13), to support their operations by torturing, kidnapping and murdering citizens on both sides of the border. However, border-related crime is not isolated to the border region. For example, every major gang in the State of Texas is connected to Mexican smuggling organizations. 

A porous border also provides terrorists and their supporters a way to enter the United States undetected. Since March 2006, we have arrested 434 illegal aliens crossing the Texas-Mexico border from countries with terrorist ties like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Jordan.

And while the task of stopping criminals from entering our nation and reducing crime in the border region is massive, we are meeting that challenge today because law enforcement agencies inside Texas started working together in 2005.

It was their idea.

No one knows better how to develop and execute strong border security than local experts on the ground and in the region. In 2005, local law enforcement came to me with the idea of Operation Linebacker as a way to unite law enforcement agencies and resources along the border to increase both public safety and national security between Points of Entry. Since then, federal, state and local law enforcement have united to protect the border. And the results speak for themselves.

In our current operation, Operation Border Star, we have a full fighting team of local police officers, sheriffs, state troopers, Texas Rangers and game wardens working with U.S. Border Patrol to secure the Southern Border.  
Together we have reduced all crime along the border.

Following the local tips from police officers from towns along the border, the new law enforcement team assisted the Border Patrol in inspecting vehicles for weapons, stolen vehicles and bulk cash. Between 2006 and the summer of 2007, we seized over $30 million in cash, and almost 750,000 pounds of illegal drugs. Just since launching Operation Border star in September, we already confiscated almost 140,000 pounds of illegal drugs and detained over 2,000 people, including notorious MS-13 members.

I want to thank our local law enforcement officers near the border who have increased the security of our state by teaming up with other law enforcement agencies to add more boots on the ground in border operations. Together we have quickly multiplied our force to fill security gaps in the border.

No matter what color uniform, or what rank of officer fills in the gaps along our border, we have learned that increasing law enforcement presence will always decrease crime.

The border security issue may mystify the federal government, but Texas has incubated the ideas of local leaders, made border security a team effort and secured our state and citizens.

Governor's Initiatives:
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