Gov. Perry Urges Legislature to Continue Funding Border Security
Gov. Rick Perry today reiterated his request that the Texas Legislature appropriate $135 million for continued border security funding to combat transnational gangs. The governor met with Gen. Barry McCaffrey, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, local leaders and law enforcement to discuss border security issues and the escalating, drug-related violence in Mexico.
“We cannot compromise efforts to achieve Texans’ safety and security while ensuring a free-flow of commerce with our valued neighbor,” Gov. Perry said. “I am confident that we are ready to handle the ongoing challenge of securing our border, which will increase peace, protect our citizens, and help both Texas and Mexico emerge from these dark times stronger and more viable than ever.”
Texas has recently developed a contingency plan to respond to potential spillover violence from northern Mexico by working with local, state and federal law enforcement. More than 5,700 homicides occurred in Mexico in 2008, with roughly 1,600 in Juárez alone, which borders El Paso on the southern side of the Rio Grande. Already in 2009, Juárez has seen over 230 brutal homicides. The U.S. State Department estimates that more than 200 Americans have been killed in Mexico since 2004.
“Mexico is not only our long-time neighbor whose history and culture is interwoven with ours, they’re our number one trade partner,” Gov. Perry said. “That is why we need to direct our energies into partnering with Mexico on security issues, not pointing fingers.”
Last year, Mexico was Texas’ top trade partner, with more than $62 billion in Texas products exported and more than $143 billion in Mexican goods imported.
A porous border allows international terrorists, organized crime cartels and transnational gangs to put Texas and the nation at risk. Until the federal government fulfils its responsibility to this effort, Texas needs continued leadership and funding from the Legislature to support the state’s current border security strategy, which involves putting more boots on the ground and providing increased law enforcement resources along the border.
Additionally, transnational gangs such as the Mexican Mafia, Texas Syndicate, Barrio Azteca and MS-13 have begun to operate in every region of the state and are involved in extortion, retail drug distribution, vehicle theft, child prostitution, money laundering and drive-by shootings. These organizations recruit members from high schools and prisons and have become highly adaptive, increasingly using technology to thwart law enforcement efforts.
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