The Rio Grande Valley has always been home to many immigrants, but in recent weeks the region has seen a massive influx of immigrants, primarily from Central America. Up to 35,000 immigrants are arriving at the border per month, and the situation has gotten so bad that the Obama administration has called the situation as humanitarian crisis.
This week, Rick Perry, David Dewhurst, and Joe Straus jointly announced that they were directing DPS to start a “law enforcement surge along the Texas-Mexico border,” that would last until the end of the year.
According to the McAllen Monitor, the program “will cost about $1.3 million per week and will last until the end of the year.”
Local lawmakers have been doing their part to address the influx. Last week, Rep. Henry Cuellar met with families and Border Patrol agents to hear their concerns. In addition, Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa of SD-20, which represents much of the Rio Grande Valley, released a statement this week praising the general increase in DPS funding as ultimately beneficial to residents of the Rio Grande Valley.
Read what Sen. Hinojosa had to say after the jump.In his statement, Senator Hinojosa lauded the effort as helpful in addressing the concerns of the Rio Grande Valley. He also clarified parts of the program to assuage any concerns.
In the past few weeks the Rio Grande Valley has experienced an humanitarian crisis as a surge of children and families from Central America have overwhelmed our communities. The thousands of immigrants being detained in border patrol facilities and makeshift shelters in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions has incited concerns and a critical sense of urgency to respond to this unfortunate situation.
Although ultimately a federal responsibility, this is a humanitarian issue and one that our residents along the border have to manage. We need to ensure the safety of our citizens, support the strained resources of our local law enforcement, and protect the public health. Our local public officials are coordinating efforts to respond to the basic humanitarian needs of the influx of immigrant children and families.
Late yesterday, Governor Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus directed DPS to begin a law enforcement surge along the border area. The purpose of this operation and the millions in funding is to have more DPS troopers where their focus will be on security gaps that are left open by federal agents who are overwhelmed dealing with a large number of immigrants. This will ensure drug smugglers and human traffickers do not take advantage of this situation.
DPS will not be conducting traffic checkpoints and will not be involved in immigration enforcement. Ultimately, the safety and security of our families in the Valley is of the utmost importance and these DPS funds are helping to address our concerns.