Texas Republican Lawmakers Unveil Border Security Plan At Capitol Press Conference
Today, most of the Texas Republican Congressional delegation, including incoming members, unveiled their collective border security agenda for the 118th Congress at a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol. Billed as “a framework by Texans for Texas,” the agenda tackles four overarching priorities: physical border infrastructure, border enforcement policies, interior enforcement, and targeting drug cartels and criminal organizations. Lawmakers say the framework fulfills the border-security goals of the Commitment to America, a broader Republican policy platform rolled out in September.
Congressman Jodey Arrington (R-TX) opened the press conference by honoring the memory of Border Patrol agent Raul Gonzalez, who died in an ATV crash yesterday while chasing a group of illegal aliens near Mission, Texas. Outgoing Congresswoman Mayra Flores (R-TX), whose husband is a Border Patrol agent and who lost re-election in a South Texas district redrawn to favor the Democrat, provided a stirring emotional appeal that left some of her colleagues wiping their eyes. “I have never been afraid [for] my husband’s life. He could be next. I have thought about it: what am I going to do? I have four kids. I can’t do this alone. I need my husband. We need our husbands. We need our spouses, and we need the Biden administration to care for them,” she intoned, before calling on Biden to resign.
Congressman Chip Roy (R-TX), an immigration hawk whom Arrington introduced as “the Thomas Jefferson of [the] Texas border plan,” explained, “We know the solutions as Texans. We know what to do….We need to have physical infrastructure, but we need to enforce the policies of the United States…and we’ve articulated those policies.”
The framework contains 41 specific bills, 34 of which were sponsored by members of the Texas delegation. The bills aim to do everything from building the wall to reimbursing states for border security expenses to nullifying harmful federal regulations to reinstating Trump’s “Remain in Mexico” policy to designating drug cartels as terrorists to defunding harmful United Nations programs to ending abuse of the asylum process, and more.
One of the bills in the framework is H.R. 8143, the Lone Star Reimbursement Act, which reallocates Department of Defense funding to reimburse the State of Texas for Operation Lone Star, a state-level border security effort. Its lead sponsor, Congressman Pat Fallon (R-TX), gave FAIR an exclusive interview after the press conference and explained his bill: “This is a federal government issue, and they won’t allow us to secure the border on a state level. This takes the billions of dollars that Texas taxpayers have spent and the federal government reimburses us because it’s their job to do it.”
FAIR is supportive of the Texas border security plan, but Republicans should not fall into the trap of feeling they have done enough to address the Biden border crisis if they pass just a handful of its prescribed bills. It has taken us a long time to dig ourselves into the present crisis, and it will take a lot of effort to get out. Republicans next Congress must go big or else go back to the minority.