FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Texas Border Coalition Suggests
Hybrid Border Security, DACA Bill
LAREDO, Texas (Jan. 30, 2018) – As Congress re-engages with the immigration-border security debate, the Texas Border Coalition (TBC) has been evaluating a number of proposals that are currently under consideration in Washington.
“TBC is grateful to U.S. Sen. John Cornyn for his leadership on behalf of border communities to help secure the border by eliminating Carrizo cane, hiring more Customs inspectors, upgrading the land ports of entry and hiring more immigration judges,” said Laredo Mayor and TBC Chairman Pete Saenz.
Saenz noted that TBC has long supported a permanent solution for “Dreamers” in the United States under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The coalition strongly supports efforts by the Texas border delegation and others to pass the DREAM Act and, more recently, the Uniting and Securing America Act (USA Act) sponsored by U.S. Reps. Will Hurd, R-San Antonio, and Henry Cuellar, R-Laredo.
Some have suggested that a permanent solution for Dreamers can only be achieved at the price of building a border wall. For more than a decade, TBC has opposed a border wall, because it is a waste of money, destroys the environment and disregards private property rights. TBC suggests any security strategy needs to prove it will solve the problem. As border residents, they believe the drug cartels are the most significant threat to security and should be battled where they smuggle their drugs, cash and weapons – at the international bridges and other official Ports of Entry. The USA Act requires a mile-by-mile test to prove whether a wall or other tactics would be the most effective security solution, including technology.
Even though no city or county on the Texas-Mexico border is a sanctuary, TBC also opposes any unnecessary federal intrusion on local governments and the creation of barriers between law enforcement and the community they serve. The coalition does not support the inclusion of a sanctuary city law into border security legislation.
Further, TBC is concerned about proposals to implement mandatory biometric exit systems at the international bridges and other land ports of entry. Currently, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is severely understaffed to handle incoming traffic and has been unable to hire sufficient officers to replace retirees, much less meet current workload requirements. At the international bridges in Texas, the infrastructure was not designed for departure inspections. Port infrastructure is not capable of tracking an outgoing flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic with biometric systems, causing needless backups on local and state roadways. None of these proposals address the need for land acquisition at the many ports, which have little space to expand. We oppose a mandatory biometric exit system until the Congress has provided the necessary personnel, infrastructure and technology to handle CBP’s current workload.
“TBC understands these are thorny, difficult issues,” Saenz said. “We appreciate the leadership of Senator John Cornyn, Representatives Hurd and Cuellar and the rest of the Texas border delegation. TBC will continue to work with Congress and the Trump Administration to achieve immigration and border security outcomes worthy of a great nation.”
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About the Texas Border Coalition
The Texas Border Coalition (TBC) is a collective voice of border mayors, county judges, economic development commissions focused on issues that affect 2.5 million people along the Texas-Mexico border region and economically disadvantaged counties from El Paso to Brownsville. TBC is working closely with the state and federal government to educate, advocate, and secure funding for transportation, immigration and border security, workforce development, economic development and health care. For more information, visit the coalition website at www.texasbordercoalition.org. Follow TBC on Facebook and Twitter [#TXBorderCoalition] to keep up to date on all of the latest news about the coalition and its activities.