AUSTIN, Texas – State Rep. César Blanco, chair of the Border Caucus in the Texas House of Representatives, will speak the Winter Meeting of the Texas Border Coalition.

TBC, which comprises mayors and county judges from Brownsville to El Paso, meets for two days in Austin this week. 

On Tuesday, the group will hold its Winter Meeting at the IBC Bank Community Suite on East Cesar Chavez Street in Austin. Lunchtime speakers include Rep. Blanco, D-El Paso, and Chandra Villanueva of the Center for Public Policy Priorities. The lunch event starts at 11:30 a.m. The lunch is open to the media.

On Wednesday, TBC will celebrate Texas Border Coalition Day at the state Capitol. The group’s leadership will be recognized with resolutions on the floor of the House and the Senate. 

As a member of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, Rep. Blanco said he is strongly opposed to President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency.

“Trump’s national emergency declaration for his border wall is dangerous and radical. There’s no national security crisis on the border. The only crisis that we do have is a humanitarian crisis. This declaration is a dangerous step into dark territory for a president that acts on his worst political impulses,” Blanco said. 

In his lunchtime speech to TBC, Blanco is expected to focus on legislation border communities are likely face during the 86th Legislature. 

In her appearance before TBC, CPPP’s Villanueva is expected to provide a public school finance briefing, covering how Texas currently funds our schools, the challenges of the current system, where the discussion is now at the Legislature, and recommendations for improving the system.

The chairman of TBC is Laredo Mayor Pete Saenz. Saenz said representatives from dozens of communities along the Texas-Mexico border are expected to attend the two-day events in Austin and engage in frank discussions about the myriad economic development, education, health care, security, transportation and workforce challenges facing border communities.

Saenz said TBC members will also attend small-group office visits with border delegation lawmakers and other allies to educate them about TBC’s policy priorities and the needs of border communities.

Rep. Blanco was not the only member of MALC to criticize President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. 

“There’s no emergency. At a time when we have our lowest levels of illegal border crossings on record and a sharp decline over the last decade, the President is cravenly declaring a fake emergency,” said state Rep. Rafael Anchía, chairman of the Mexican American Legislative Caucus.

“President Trump’s effort to militarize the border does substantial damage to the trade and goods and services that are so important to the Texas economy. The Perryman Group did a study that showed that when there is a militarization of the border, it costs the Texas economy $650 million and 8,680 jobs.” 

Another MALC member, state Rep. Poncho Nevarez, D-Eagle Pass, chair the Texas House Committee on Homeland Security & Public Safety.

“You can’t have it both ways in this state. We can’t have been successful over the last six years in combating crime in our state and securing our border, and now having a national emergency,” Nevarez said.

“Most folks come here needing our help, so does this require military force – no. Is it causing a situation where we need to divert money from emergencies – no.”

Editor’s Note: Texas Border Coalition Pete Saenz penned a guest column last week about the House-Senate Conference Committee Report on Border Security Funding. Click here to read the column.