Home News El Paso state Democrats want more oversight on border-security … – Texas Public Radio

El Paso state Democrats want more oversight on border-security … – Texas Public Radio

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El Paso Democrats prepare to give the gavel to the upcoming Texas legislature but are outnumbered, knowing that the Republican majority will prioritize immigration and border security spending again in Austin. They also know they are short of numbers to govern some of the Republican priorities.

But border Democrats want some Republicans to join them and demand more oversight of how money for border security is spent.

Since its March 2021 launch, Operation Lone Star, a state-led border security effort initiated by Gov. of the National Guard surged. to the border.

State Senator Cesar Blanco of D-El Paso said the operation had not produced the desired results and instead turned into a waste of Abbott and other Republicans. But he said the focus has been on El Paso lately. numbered migratory birds Thousands of dollars per day for the last month — can be used as a catalyst to justify spending more.

“As long as I’ve been in Congress, what we’ve been doing with border security spending hasn’t worked,” he said. “So I think we need to rethink our strategy.

Despite state efforts to arrest illegal immigrants for trespassing charges, install razor wire and empty cargo trailers at the border, and build part of the so-called border wall in parts of southern Texas , unauthorized crossings continue at record levels.

To further this effort, Abbott has raised nearly $500 million in state funding. Several institutions in April 2022 Moved them to Operation Lone Star. This included funding from the Texas Department of Criminal Justice ($53.6 million). Texas Department of Public Safety ($159.2 million). Texas Board of Health and Human Services ($210.6 million). Texas Department of Health Services ($36 million). Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission TABC ($4.3 million). Texas Department of Juvenile Justice ($31 million).

“This additional funding will ensure that the Lone Star State is fully equipped to deliver the border security strategy Texans demand and deserve,” Abbott said. Press release At the time.

Rep. Claudia Ordaz Perez, a Democrat from El Paso who is serving her second term in the Texas House of Representatives this year, said this kind of budget move needs scrutiny.

“The problem I have with that is that there really is no sense of accountability when it comes to the allocation process,” she said. We have allocated most of our funds towards

Blanco said he has spoken to Republicans about the issue, and they say they want states to be more transparent about how billions of dollars are being spent and whether the effort is worth the cost. I agreed that it was necessary to

“If they’re really fiscal conservatives, they need to ask these questions. What do we get for our money?” So it seems to me that there is a shift that those questions are starting to be asked.”

But Blanco also acknowledged that Republicans are likely to look at the state’s current surplus as funds that could be used to increase spending on border security.

“We’re going into this session with a huge $27 billion surplus,” he said. “I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the Republican Party wants to spend more of the state budget on border security. It’s my responsibility.”

Aside from stepping up scrutiny, the delegation will urge lawmakers to look beyond immigration when discussing border policy, Odaz said.

“This has become a very political issue. We are sometimes used as political football in El Paso, which is really unfortunate,” she said. You hear about border security, but borders are so much more, so for me, I always try to insert other aspects of what borders can do in terms of labor, economic development, job creation. ”

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