"He makes peace in your borders,
And fills you with the finest wheat."
Texas State Capitol -- Earlier this afternoon, the Texas House committee on Homeland Security heard testimony regarding current border security operations. The hearing was called before Governor Perry announced the 'surge', so it didn't consider questions about appropriating new money beyond the current activity. Texas DPS director Steve McCraw was the primary witness and spoke first.
The following is transcribed from our notes from the hearing:
- Over 47,000 unaccompanied minors have been picked up in 2014.
- Mexican cartels "did not cause this" but "they are exploiting and leveraging it."
- "We don't enforce immigration;" refer to border patrol instead.
- Center of gravity is Rio Grande Valley.
- Purpose of Operations: "There's a point in cartel business model where they won't take on new risk."
- The purpose is to "increase the risk" on cartels "to the point where they shut down the operation."
- "Decease the motive to move product."
- "Saturation patrols will deter smuggling activities."
- "Create a hostile environment" for the cartels.
- Question from Rep Joe Pickett: Can we send "our own propaganda" to get them not to come?!?
- DPS shouldn't but "it needs to be done."
- Migrant perception -- "Border is porous and they'll get in" and "they'll be allowed to stay and be reunited with family members."
- Texas is the center of the United States...in human trafficking.
- DPS has "better quality assets" than Border Patrol.
- "There's no question we're [DPS] doing less" in other areas of the state because of border operations.
- Syria, Pakistan, Iran, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan among the home countries.
- "Well over 75% are OTM's [Other than Mexicans];" couldn't guess % from terror-friendly countries.
- "About 2000" Border Patrol agents on duty in Texas at any given time.
- Israeli style fence -- Might be worthwhile in certain sectors, but would require lots of support.
An official with the Department of State Health Services spoke about some of the infectious diseases migrants are bringing with them. While this is certainly cause for concern, most of his testimony gave detailed answers to hypothetical questions that have yet to occur.
Finally, the Mayor and Police Chief of McAllen, TX testified:
- 1000 migrants per week coming through McAllen alone.
- After illegals are released for an immigration hearing, they're 'legal' until the hearing.
- Of course, they never show up for the hearing.
- In McAllen, they get 3 days worth of supplies, then released into the interior of the U.S.
Update: The other major story out of the hearing was the presence of Scott Turner, who was working the members before the hearing and asked questions from the dais: