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Texas Lawmakers Approve $86 Million For Border Surge

Dec 1, 2014
Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

The state-funded buildup of law enforcement at the Texas border will continue into next year, as officials Monday approved another $86 million to keep the operation afloat.

Texas Army National Guard

This week, KERA, The Dallas Morning News and KXAS-TV (NBC 5) are producing a series of coordinated reports we’re calling Five Days in October. Each day we’re looking at where the leading candidates for governor stand on a specific issue. Today, we look at border security and how Republican Greg Abbott and Democrat Wendy Davis differ on deploying National Guard troops along the border.

Jennifer Whitney/Bob Daemmrich / Texas Tribune

Sen. Leticia Van de Putte says her Republican opponent for lieutenant governor is fear-mongering with his first fall television ad released this week.

The ad links the threat of an ISIS invasion to the candidates' dueling policies over immigration.

Shelley Kofler / KERA News

Tonight, the eyes of the Texas will be on the Rio Grande Valley when gubernatorial candidates Wendy Davis and Greg Abbott meet in Edinburg for their first televised debate. 

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

In Austin, Governor Rick Perry announced his plan to send a thousand members of the Texas National Guard to the border.   

“I will not stand idly by while our citizens are under assault, and little children from Central America are detained in squalor.”

Perry said the troops would help take the pressure off the Border Patrol.

“These additional resources will help combat the brutal Mexican drug cartels that are preying upon our communities and also will help to tear others, before they have a chance to harm our citizens and become criminal aliens within our borders.”

Ivan Pierre Aguirre / The Texas Tribune

Five stories that have North Texas talking: Gov. Rick Perry is expected to make an announcement about border security this afternoon,  a Texan was one of two Americans killed in Gaza fighting over the weekend, it’s been 45 years since the first sighting of the “Lake Worth Monster,” and more.

stateimpact.npr.org

The candidates for lieutenant governor have, not surprisingly, staked out opposing positions on a proposal that would speed the return of migrant children to their Central American countries.

ABC News

Gov. Rick Perry has accepted President Barack Obama's offer to discuss the immigration crisis with faith leaders and local officials in Dallas.

Bill Zeeble / KERA News

Dallas County Commissioners will meet Tuesday morning as controversy builds over County Judge Clay Jenkins' recent announcement that the county would help the federal government set up centers for 2,000 immigrant children. The lone Republican county commissioner, Mike Cantrell, doesn’t think Jenkins’ idea is a good one.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Dallas County plans to soon welcome 2,000 of the 52,000 children who’ve entered the country illegally in recent months. They’re coming from Central America and crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. Many are trying to escape violence and drug cartels.

Wikipedia

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins is headed to the Rio Grande Valley Wednesday to visit a detention center where hundreds of children from Central America have been living. On Tuesday, Jenkins met with charity groups and emergency managers to talk about how to bring 2,000 or more of the immigrant kids to North Texas later this month. KERA's Doualy Xaykaothao is in McAllen, and she found out how residents see the situation. 

Kainaz Amaria / NPR

Talk about a road trip! NPR’s Steve Inskeep and a team of producers just finished a 2,400-mile journey along the U.S.-Mexico border — from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean – to explore how the two countries are linked and how they’re separated. The NPR series, Borderland, paints a picture of a region separated in places by a river, walls, and barbed wire, but united in many unexpected ways. In this week’s Friday Conversation, Inskeep speaks with KERA’s vice president of news Rick Holter.

My colleagues and I drove 2,428 miles and remained in the same place.

We gathered a team, rented a car, checked the batteries in our recorders and cameras. We moved from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. We crossed deserts, plains and mountains. But all the while, we were living in Borderland — zigzagging across the frontier between Mexico and the United States.

The battle over the border is escalating between Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Greg Abbott and the likely Democratic nominee Wendy Davis. It began last week when Abbott likened public corruption in South Texas to “third-world country practices” while unveiling his border security plan while in Dallas. Davis calls Abbott's comment "divisive" and says it's harmful to economic development along the border. Abbott may say more on the subject when he makes a campaign appearance in El Paso today.

Doualy Xaykaothao / KERA News

Greg Abbott, the Republican attorney general and candidate for governor, stopped in Dallas Tuesday to unveil a $300 million border security plan that would also target domestic violence and sex crimes.

Speaking to a Dallas nonprofit that helps victims of child sex trafficking, Abbott argued that the federal government has failed to secure the Texas border.

“Powerful and ruthless international cartels and violent transnational gangs are operating within our state,” Abbott said. “Even within our prison system. And narco-related cross-border crime is on the rise.” 

As the U.S. government has militarized the California and Arizona segment of the Southwest border over the last two decades, illegal crossers have moved to another area. South Texas has become the new border hot spot.

The Rio Grande Valley is also the closest route to Central America. Two-thirds of those caught crossing are from that troubled region.

The Border Patrol and local authorities are straining to keep up.

Fleeing Poverty And Murder

The new FX series The Bridge begins with the discovery of a body on a bridge that connects El Paso, Texas, and Juarez, Mexico. In it, a Mexican detective, played by Mexican actor Demian Bichir, has to work with an El Paso homicide cop to solve what turns out to be a serial murder case.

The U.S.-Mexico border plays a starring role in the new FX series The Bridge.

Characters in the television crime drama, which premieres Wednesday night, regularly cross back and forth through the border between El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez, Mexico. The show's dialogue also frequently switches between English and Spanish, setting a new standard for bilingual drama on American television.

The Department of Homeland Security is examining its policy on deadly force along the U.S.-Mexico border. In less than two years, U.S. Border Patrol agents have killed 18 Mexican citizens there — including eight people who were throwing rocks.

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