Office of the Governor Rick Perry

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Border Security

Summary of Achievement

Governor Perry, recognizing that one of the greatest criminal and terrorist threats to the state is a porous Texas-Mexico border, has taken action to place law enforcement resources in the border region to curb the exploitation of unsecured areas by Mexican crime cartels, transnational gangs and would-be terrorists.  These efforts have resulted in a significant decrease in crime in the border region and an increased sense of security by residents of border communities.

The Challenge

Securing the border is a federal responsibility, but for too long the brave men and women of the U.S. Border Patrol have been denied the resources they need to secure the U.S.-Mexico border from all threats.  Until Governor Perry took action, decades of underinvestment by the federal government in technology and sufficient personnel left the 1,254-mile border riddled with smuggling corridors exploited by Mexican crime cartels and the transnational gangs they hire as enforcers, as well as an opportunity for would-be terrorists to enter the U.S. undetected.

Action / Initiative

Border security is vital to the safety of every region in Texas and the nation, which is why in November 2005, Governor Perry began increasing law enforcement “boots on the ground” in border counties. 

In February 2006, Governor Perry continued efforts to implement his strategy by launching a series of border security operations that increased the law enforcement presence along the border; centralized border-related intelligence; unified local, state and federal land, air and water patrol resources; and committed Texas Military Forces assets and leveraged new technologies along the border.

During the 80th Texas Legislative Session, Governor Perry worked with the Texas Legislature to secure $110 million for continued border security efforts and to enhance the quality of life along the border.

The governor also has incorporated technology into his border security strategy.  This technology includes:

  • License plate readers
  • A Virtual Border Watch capability to deter criminal activity
  • The latest electronic fingerprint technology at all booking stations
  • Portable electronic fingerprint readers
  • Radio Interoperability in the border region and key corridors
  • The Texas Data Exchange to enable border wide crime mapping and statewide link analysis capabilities

The Outcome

The efficacy of Governor Perry’s strategy is undeniable and should serve as a template for the nation.  The border can be secured from all threats if the will exists to commit substantial resources, coordinate efforts, centralize intelligence and information, and leverage technology.

Since operations began in Texas, serious crime along the smuggling corridors of the state has been significantly reduced.

However, the effort to secure our border is never complete.  It requires constant intelligence, coordination and efforts by law enforcement to prevent and deter criminal activity. Our adversaries are ruthless, highly adaptive, well-funded and committed to penetrating our border. Success is dependent on our ability to sustain operations and quickly adapt to thwart new tactics employed by the Mexican organized crime cartels, including their use of gangs and truck drivers in drug and human smuggling operations.  Texas will continue to seek new and innovative solutions to increase our law enforcement capabilities to protect all Texans and our nation.

Supporting Content

Texas Border Security Council Report to Governor Rick Perry - September 2008.