Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Gov. Perry: Border Sheriffs are Our First Line of Defense

*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Tuesday, August 10, 2010  •  Austin, Texas  •  Speech

I just wrapped up a meeting with a strong group of border sheriffsthat I initiated to get their direct feedback on border security issues that they face every day.

I can say with conviction that we are blessed to have such quality law enforcement leaders protecting our citizens.

When it comes to border security, there are a few things that people need to understand.

First, it's a federal responsibility, and, second, Washington has been an abject failure.

As a result, our unsecured border is a legitimate threat to national security and to the health and safety of our citizens.

That's why Texas has been standing in the gap left by Washington's inattentiveness dedicating more than $230 million to border security efforts over the past several years.

The linchpin of our border security strategy is represented here today by these sheriffs who bravely stand between Texas citizens and the drug cartels, transnational gangs and special interest aliens that continually probe and test our border.

With all the resources we can put at their disposal, these folks constitute our first line of defense against the growing drug-related violence that is tearing apart northern Mexico.

According to press reports, more than 28,000 people have died in suspected drug violence in Mexico since 2006 and symptoms of that brutality are creeping into Texas.

When I greeted President Obama yesterday, I passed along a letter detailing my concerns about the growing threat on the border.

I hope he'll take the time to read it and consider my invitation to join me on a visit to the border and spend time with our border sheriffs.
These sheriffs and the other local law enforcement are the first line of defense for Texas and will be a key support element for the federal government if and when it finally decides to take border security seriously.

Until that happens, Texas will continue to do everything in our power to protect our citizens.

That's the Texas way.

Now, we'd be happy to take any questions you might have about border security and my conversation with our sheriffs.

Gov. Perry: Border Sheriffs are Our First Line of Defense
Governor's Initiatives:
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