LUPE condemns six new border security bills signed into law by Gov. Abbott

AUSTIN, Texas – La Unión del Pueblo Entero has given its interpretation of six new border security bills Gov. Greg Abbott has just signed into law.

The community group says all six are “dangerous.” Instead of spending money on much-needed infrastructure, the group says, the various bills “waste” resources on measures that increase the militarization of the Texas-Mexico border region.

Here are the six bills with LUPE’s interpretation:

* SB 423: This bill authorizes the Texas Military Department to utilize drones as part of their mission to secure the southern border. (This bill was authored by Sen. Angela Paxton of Allen. The House sponsor was Rep. Terry M. Wilson of Georgetown).

* SB 602: Under current law, federal border patrol agents are only allowed to detain certain individuals at established border checkpoints and points of entry pending transfer to a peace officer. This does not include the power to arrest or search and seizure. (This bill was authored by Sen. Brian Birdwell of Waco. The House sponsor was Rep. Sam Harless of Spring.) 

* SB 1133: Related to property damages for border landowners. (This bill was co-authored by Sen. Cesar Blanco of El Paso, Pete Flores of San Antonio, Juan Hinojosa of McAllen, Lois Kolkhorst of Brenham, Charles Perry of Lubbock, and Judith Zaffirini of Laredo. The House sponsor was Rep. Tracy King of Batesville.)

* SB 1403: This bill gives permissive authority to the Governor to coordinate and execute interstate compact for border security among interested states that does not require congressional approval. (This bill was authored by Sen. Tan Parker of Flower Mound. The House sponsor was Rep. David Spiller of Jacksboro.)

* SB 1484: This bill allows DPS to train local Texans law enforcement officers to deal with cartel activity and related crimes. (This bill was authored by Sen. Brandon Creighton of Beaumont. The House sponsor was Rep. Justin Holland of Rockwell)

* SB 1900: Senate Bill 1900 will designate “drug cartels” and other similar groups as “foreign terrorist organizations” under state law.” (This bill was authored by Sen. Brian Birdwell of Waco. The House sponsor was Rep. Ryan Guillen of Rio Grande City).

“Today, Gov. Greg Abbott sent a clear message to border residents: the state will continue to divest from urgent infrastructure needs that will keep Texans safe and instead fund wasteful military operations and policing of immigrant families at the border,” said Dani Marrero Hi, deputy director of movement building for LUPE.

“At LUPE, we strongly condemn the failure of state leadership to prioritize the well being of families and individuals at the border over political games and ‘made for TV’ tactics. Border residents deserve leadership that defends our values and protects working families, not elected officials who cater to political theater and extremist groups.”

Marrero Hi points out that in the past weeks, the Rio Grande Valley has seen a series of moderate to severe storms that have wrecked homes, businesses, schools, and streets. She said low-income neighborhoods were especially affected. 

“We have growing concern of the damage that storms will cause during this hurricane season, which our current infrastructure is painfully inadequate to handle,” Marrero Hi said. “A majority of Texans agree that our state is big and strong enough to meet the needs of all of its residents and welcome people seeking safety. Unfortunately, Gov. Abbott time and time again chooses to throw border residents and immigrants under the bus for the sake of his own political gain.”

Abbott sees things differently to LUPE. He said the package of six bills will expand Texas’ efforts to protect Texans from undocumented immigrants, weapons, and drugs coming into Texas from Mexico.

“Thanks to the leadership and hard work of Director McCraw, General Suelzer, and their teams, Texas has pushed back against the swell of migrants and held the line to keep people out of Texas—but there’s more that needs to be done,” Abbott said. 

“The Texas Legislature has stepped up to make sure we continue to robustly respond to President Biden’s growing border crisis, including allocating $5.1 billion for border security. Today, I am signing six bills from this year’s regular session to ensure that Texas can continue to do even more to stop illegal immigration at our southern border and provide new tools to the brave men and women along the southern border to protect Texans and Americans from the chaos and crisis of the border.”

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