Legislators to Washington: Pick Up the Tab for Border Security Costs
More Than Two Dozen Lawmakers Press Washington for Reimbursement for Education, Incarceration, Security Costs
Austin – More than two dozen Texas lawmakers called on Washington to reimburse the state for costs related to the federal government’s failure to secure the border.
“As state representatives, we take a solemn oath to uphold the constitution. So does Congress. It is time they live up to their sacred vow and their obligation to secure our borders,” said State Rep. John Otto (R - Dayton). “They have a moral obligation to pay the price for failure on this front.”
Lawmakers noted several costs that have put Texas on the hook for $559 million in expenditures since January, 2013 on populations illegally in the country. Costs include:
- $104,277,316 spent by the Department of Public Safety (DPS) on border surge operations to detect, deter and apprehend criminal activities by drug cartels and trans-national gangs;
- $3,405,241 spent by Texas Parks and Wildlife to assist with patrolling hot spots along the border;
- $37,211,923 spent by the Texas Military Forces in response to the governor’s order to deploy up to 1,000 members of the Texas National Guard;
- $137,100,757 spent by county jails to incarcerate criminals aliens;
- $205,092,350 spent by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to incarcerate criminal aliens in state prisons;
- $72,108,476 to be spent by the Texas Education Agency on the education of unaccompanied minors from Central America who now reside in Texas. This figure does not include the education of children who came to Texas illegally with their family unit.
Lawmakers also noted they are seeking reimbursement for a conservative amount, noting that health care costs are not tracked by the federal government for these populations, nor are costs for educating children who entered illegally with their family unit.
“Texas is educating thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America at our own expense,” said Speaker Pro Tem Dennis Bonnen (R- Angleton). “Virtually all of these children arrive in our schools years behind, speak English as a second language and qualify for free-and-reduced lunch. It costs more to educate these children, and Washington should do its part to meet these costs.”
Lawmakers also expressed concern that the president’s recent executive order will lead to a new wave of illegal immigrants once word travels throughout the Western Hemisphere.
“The problem will only get worse, and the cost will only go up from here,” said Representative Greg Bonnen. “Absent a forceful response by leaders of both parties in Washington, we are expecting greater chaos at the border that the drug cartels and trans-national gangs will exploit. Washington must meet its obligation to secure the border, protect our country and communities, and pay the tab for their recent failures on this front.”