During Joe's time as Speaker, the Legislature has made a historic and unprecedented investment in securing the Texas-Mexico border. Joe has taken action to send additional manpower, technology, and vehicles to the border region in order to reduce criminal activity.
Joe knows that border crime isn't just a border problem, which is why he and other legislators have addressed border security by:
Voting to end sanctuary cities. Under the leadership of Joe Straus, the Texas House has passed legislation to ban sanctuary cities. That legislation did not pass the Texas Senate. Speaker Straus has assigned a House committee to work on this issue leading up to the 2017 legislative session. Joe Straus does not support sanctuary cities.
Putting hundreds of new state troopers in the border region. During the 2015 legislative session, the Texas House approved the border-security package championed by Governor Greg Abbott, providing funding for the hiring of an additional 250 state troopers to patrol near the Texas-Mexico border. The presence of these full-time troopers near the border reduces the need for occasional "surges" that draw law enforcement away from other areas of the state. Through House Bill 11, the Legislature also gave the Department of Public Safety the authority to expedite the hiring of military veterans who have been honorably discharged and want to become state troopers.
Deploying thousands of cameras to support law enforcement. Using funding authorized by Joe and other state leaders, the Department of Public Safety has deployed thousands of cameras to monitor border crossings. This technology provides significant assistance to state troopers and other law enforcement on the ground.
Strengthening the state's Border Prosecution Unit. House Bill 12, which the Legislature approved and Governor Abbott signed into law in 2015, provided additional funding and new resources for the state's Border Prosecution Unit. The unit helps border-area authorities prosecute crimes such as human smuggling, money laundering and drug trafficking.
Combatting human trafficking. Under Joe's leadership, the House has passed numerous bills that strengthen penalties for those who take part in the horrible crime of human trafficking. This crime is a major concern in the border area, which is why the House has given law enforcement and prosecutors new and strengthened tools to combat and prosecute it. The major anti-human-trafficking bill from the 2015 legislative session, House Bill 10, was the first bill that the House approved that session. That legislation made prosecuting the crimes of human trafficking and forced prostitution easier and provided additional resources for children who are the victims of human trafficking.
Requiring the use of E-verify technology. The Legislature acted in 2015 to require state agencies and public universities to use the E-verify system to ensure that the people they hire are in the country legally.