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Texas Senate Republican Caucus Supports Senate Resolution 535 Declaring the Humanitarian and Security Crisis at the Border an Emergency

April 2, 2019

Chairman of the Caucus Paul Bettencourt Puts Forth Senate Resolution 535, co-authored by all 18 other Republican Senators

AUSTIN – Chairman of the Texas Senate Republican Caucus, Paul Bettencourt, put forth Senate Resolution 535, co-authored by all the Republican Senators, this afternoon that declares the crisis at the US-Mexico border an emergency. Chairman Bettencourt, echoing President Trump’s emergency declaration, began by saying, “There is a serious crisis at the border, and we must recognize this obvious fact.” DPS has reported that over 100,000 migrants have attempted to cross the border in March alone, a massive increase that has caused the Customs and Border Patrol to use 40% of its man-power to perform tasks unrelated to securing the border. Instead of protecting the border, performing anti-smuggling operations, and combatting narco-traffickers, the CBP has had to expend almost half of its energy and manpower processing migrants, transporting illegal aliens to detention facilities, and staffing these overworked and over capacity facilities.

At the moment the CBP has reported that they have over 120,000 migrants in custody and on March 28th, Secretary of Homeland Security, Kirstjen Nielsen, sent a letter to Congress describing the border as a, “Humanitarian and Security catastrophe that is worsening by the day.” CBP reports that facilities are at or over capacity and Secretary Nielsen implored Congress that another month of this amount of migrant traffic is “unsustainable” for the system.

In addition, crime is pouring across our border. Since 2011, over 194,000 criminal aliens have been booked into Texas jails with over 299,000 criminal offenses committed by illegal aliens. There have been news reports of sex trafficking and of migrant women who were beaten, held hostage and prostituted by the drug cartels who control our border. Senator Huffman noted that this “Resolution is crying out to Congress to, for god sakes, do something to solve this crisis.

The Congress of the United States has consistently delayed significant action on the border, forcing Texas to shoulder the burden. Thus, it falls to the Texas Senate to issue this resolution and call on Congress to adopt a budget to secure the border. As Chairman Bettencourt said, “There is no reason not to declare the crisis at the border an emergency, a crisis that is accelerating.” Senator Hughes chimed in by highlighting the fact that Jeh Johnson, former Secretary for Homeland Security under President Obama, three days ago declared, “We are truly in a crisis,” when describing the situation at the US-Mexico border.

Texas Senate Democrats, showing no interest in addressing the crisis at the border, attacked Chairman Bettencourt personally on the floor, insinuating that he was not acting in good faith, and attempted to slow down the process by putting forth a motion that would send the resolution to committee, but every Republican Senator stood strong and voted down the motion. Senate Resolution 535 ended up passing the Senate, 19-12, along partisan lines, illustrating that the Republican Senators in Texas are the ones willing to face this crisis head on.

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