I have previously discussed the state’s robust investment in border security over the last six years. We have directed historic amounts of resources toward the border region, often in the form of so-called surge operations at times when heavy migration has put a burden on local and federal officials.
What has been missing is a more consistent and permanent strategy to not only protect public safety in the border region, but to ensure that other areas of the state are not left vulnerable as additional state troopers are dispatched to South Texas.
Last week, the House overwhelmingly passed legislation that will provide the more consistent approach that Texas has needed.
That legislation, House Bill 11, would increase public safety in the border region and in communities across Texas. It would bolster the presence of law enforcement near the border, create a reserve corps of retired state troopers and establish a new crime intelligence center in South Texas. House Bill 11 would also strengthen efforts to combat drug trafficking and human smuggling.
Issues related to border security are often emotional and contentious, and the House had a healthy debate over this proposal. But in the end, an overwhelming and bipartisan majority of House Members voted for it, which is a testament to the collaborative and constructive approach taken by the author of House Bill 11, Rep. Dennis Bonnen.
The House also came together this week to support another measure related to public safety. With a unanimous vote, we passed House Bill 10, which aims to eradicate the horrible crime of human trafficking. The legislation would provide law enforcement and prosecutors with additional tools to address the perpetrators of this crime. It also would establish a Child Sex Trafficking Prevention Unit in the Governor’s office.
The House has passed a number of bills in recent years to combat human trafficking, and House Bill 10 builds on those measures. Rep. Senfronia Thompson has been a leader on this issue and did an outstanding job of bringing the House together to support this legislation.
Both of these bills would make all areas of Texas safer, and we look forward to working with the Senate to see that they become law.