In a recent blog, we talked about Texas and Immigration ‘Harboring Law’ which was a border security bill passed last year in 2016. Earlier this year, MALDEF, a latino civil rights group, had chosen to sue the state of Texas over the bill. So what happened?
Originally immigration and border security bills were primarily focused on criminals and other illegal immigrants that place the safety of American citizens in jeopardy. MALDEF claims that with the bill passed by Texas, the state was overstepping its authority by taking such strict action. The bill was passed to gain more control over human smuggling, strengthening the security of the United States border in Texas due to it’s proximity to Mexico.
The border security’s top priority is to combat the high amount of gangs and dangerous illegal immigrants importing in the United States. The lawmakers confirmed their intent was to target criminals and anyone involved in illegal smuggling.
MALDEF raised the concern that it puts well-meaning Texans at risk for criminal charges as well. Their suit focused on two landlords that don’t require legal documentation of citizenship to rent or work, stating that the landlords did not have criminal intent but simply had the well-being of their tenants in mind.
Texas is pouring millions of dollars into border security, yet human smuggling is still happening at a vast rate. The Department of Public Safety wants to increase that spending to $300 million. So where will the budget come from? According to DPS they want to freeze hiring, cut education funds and reduce funds for health care as well. In this event, the state will basically be bankrupt with all spending going into border security.
Texans question if this extra funding can actually make a difference. The state has already spent over $800 million in security, with the $300 million (if passed) increasing spending to over a billion dollars.
The state has over 115 cameras on the board for security precautions. The cameras can detect over 120,000 people, but the apprehension rate of who is detected is at 45%. Boats along the Rio Grande River are also ready with engines for the possible chase down of illegal immigrants attempting to cross through the water. In the last year, the state hired more manpower of over 250 troopers and plans to hire another 250 more within the next two years.
The state is clearly doing everything they can to catch illegal immigrants. Thus the question remains: with the high precautions and regulations passed to decrease the number of illegal immigrants in the United States, is Texas throwing money away in those efforts?