Kolkhorst Tours the Texas-Mexico Border

Sep 3, 2014

AUSTIN — AUSTIN — State Rep. Lois Kolkhorst has traveled to the border to meet with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) to survey the state’s effort to patrol the Texas-Mexico border. She recently returned from spending a day touring the state’s border operations, being conducted by DPS and the United States Border Patrol.

Kolkhorst met with DPS Director Steve McCraw and officers from DPS Region 3, receiving confidential briefings regarding the current border operations.

In June, DPS was authorized by the Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the House to surge the border with additional troopers to combat the crisis in illegal crossings from Central America along with increased human and drug smuggling. Governor Perry and the Texas Legislature responded by authorizing state funds for a border security surge operation, launching Operation Strong Safety II. The operation is being led by the DPS, and involves multiple law enforcement agencies conducting constant river, air, and road patrols.

According to DPS statistics, before the state implemented Operation Strong Safety, illegal crossings were over 6,600 per week. Those numbers dropped significantly to approximately 2,100 per week after the state sent recent reinforcements.

“While this is still a crisis, our increased presence on the border has stemmed the tide of human and drug smuggling,” said Kolkhorst.

Kolkhorst was provided with first-hand accounts on the state’s battle with Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers, and learned how Texas’ additional state funds are being put to work. She spent the day at the state’s Operation Strong Safety Command Post, where she took part in armed patrols with DPS air patrol as well as on a DPS river patrol gun boat.

“When Washington D.C. fails us, then Texas must lead on border security operations,” Kolkhorst said. “I’m proud of the combined efforts of DPS, Border Patrol, Texas Military Forces, and local law enforcement. Our state takes the idea of sovereignty very seriously, which is why we’ve picked up the slack left by the federal government to protect our border.”

“Since 2005, Texas has spent more than $630 million on border surges,” said Kolkhorst. “On this most recent surge, we are spending $1.3 million per week to protect our border. I saw DPS troopers and the National Guard at posts all along the river, hard at work.”

“I have also personally talked to Congressman McCaul, to thank him for his work on federal legislation to reimburse Texas for all the money we are spending to carry out a constitutional, federal duty,” she added.

“We’ve got to take the fight to the criminals on the border, or else the criminals will bring the fight to us at home,” Kolkhorst said. “This trip has proven to me that Texas needs to keep building on previous surge operations until the federal government finally decides to enforce the law and protect our border.”

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