September 12, 2015
Tod Robberson -- Dallas Morning News -- September 11, 2015
Texas border-security surge might be doing more harm than good
To hear former Gov. Rick Perry tell it, while all the other GOP presidential hopefuls talk about border security, he's the only one who's actually done something about it. He's made it worse, if a recent Houston Chronicle story from the border is any indication.
Chronicle reporter Brian M. Rosenthal's lengthy Disorder at the Border report is admittedly just a glimpse at the interplay between U.S. Border Patrol agents and the Texas Department of Public Safety troopers and Texas National Guard soldiers who have been dispatched by the state to get tough on illegal border crossers. Rosenthal went on patrol with federal agents along a sector in Starr County, about 50 miles east of McAllen, known for heavy traffic, both among migrants and drug smugglers.
We've been led to believe, mainly by Perry, Gov. Greg Abbott and DPS chief Steve McCraw, that the $800 million surge of Texas border forces has been a resounding success. Drug seizures allegedly are up. Border crossings allegedly are down. The force multiplier provided by DPS troopers swarming the border has bolstered the Border Patrol's mission in a cohesive and well-coordinated way, they would have you believe.
On the ground, however, the picture appears to be quite different. Some DPS troopers seem not to have been well briefed about their duties and exactly where their limitations are. It's not even clear whether they're communicating on the same radio frequency with their Border Patrol counterparts.