(SM Chavey, Liberty Headlines) Texas will receive $2.3 million from the feds to help fund border security, Governor Greg Abbott announced Monday.
The money will benefit Operation Secure Texas, the state’s border-security mission. It combined the efforts of the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas National Guard, and federal law enforcement to secure Texas’ border with Mexico.
“The taxpayers of Texas have funded border security, a federal responsibility, for far too long,” Abbott said in a statement.
The Texas National Guard running the operation will begin taking federal orders in late July, but the transition will have little effect on what the guard is doing, Lt. Col. Travis Walters said.
“The transition from a state to federal status, in terms of funding, will not impact the mission of the Texas National Guard or its role in protecting and serving the citizens of Texas,” he said.
The $2.3 million is just a dent in the $800 million border legislation for security approved for 2018 and 2019.
It also doesn’t cover any of the $2.8 billion Texas requested as an “invoice” from the federal government in January to cover illegal immigration costs.
“I would like nothing more than to put dollars currently devoted to border security and criminal alien incarceration toward our state’s top priorities of public safety and education of our children,” State Rep. Dennis Bonnen said at the time. “This would be possible if the Obama administration rightfully reimburses Texas and if the Trump administration follows on their promises to secure the border.”
The $2.8 billion total included $1.4 billion spent by the Department of Public Safety monitoring the border, $729 million spent by Texas state and county jails that housed unauthorized immigrants, and $417 million spent on health care for unauthorized immigrants.
The operation was created in 2014 and has largely played a surveillance role in border security. The federal money will fund about 100 service members through September.
Texas’s military presence has primarily focused on the Rio Grande Valley since 2014, when a surge of undocumented immigrants from Central America created what some called “the worst immigration crisis in 30 years.”
The U.S. Border Patrol was swamped, and former Gov. Rick Perry ordered the 2014 deployment at an estimated $12 million per month. The military presence has remained strong in the Rio Grande Valley ever since.
Texas’s overall border security operation is unprecedented.
“I am grateful that the federal government and Congressional appropriators are stepping up and dedicating additional resources to provide for the safety and security of all Texans,” Abbott said Monday.