State Rep. Veronica Gonzales, D-McAllen, has announced the date for a planned hearing that will take into account public input before appropriating additional funds for border security before the 82nd Legislative Session begins in 2011.
Gonzales and Rep. Aaron Peña, D-Edinburg, will hold an upcoming Border Security Hearing at the McAllen Convention Center on April 29. Local police and sheriff’s departments, Customs and Border Patrol officials, and witnesses to the daily violence occurring along the border are slated to be in attendance.
“We want to hear from law enforcement as to what’s working for them, and what is not working for them,” said Gonzales, who chairs the House Border and Intergovernmental Affairs Committee. “We want to hear how the money from the state has assisted them, and how it should be better spent. That can include equipment or manpower.”
The daylong event will start at 10 a.m., and is open to the public. Gonzales said a public open forum is also planned at the hearing.
“The way we want to line it up is that we will pose questions to the public, and then have them tell us their personal views and experiences so that we can take that into account in appropriating money when crafting legislation,” Gonzales said.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced the deployment of Texas Military Forces as part of the first phase of the state’s spillover violence contingency plan on March 16. The sending of an OH-58 Kiowa and UH-72 Lakota helicopter to the border will help local law enforcement deter and detect crime along the border, Perry said in a statement. The helicopters will operate between Brownsville and El Paso, however the number and exact location will not be disclosed for operational security purposes.
Additional measures being taken during the first phase of the state’s spillover violence contingency plan include increased surveillance of border activity by state and local law enforcement, the Texas Border Security Operations Center, and the Joint Operational and Intelligence Centers to ensure the timely sharing of intelligence information, Perry announced.
Increased ground, air and maritime patrol presence; and increased intensity of day and night DPS helicopter patrol operations along the Rio Grande River. Additional resources ready for rapid deployment have been placed on standby, including DPS SWAT Teams and Trooper Strike Teams, as well as Ranger Recon Teams prepared to reposition based on threat.