Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, Gov. Rick Perry and Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst have signed off on a plan pledging $1.3 million per week for the Texas Department of Public Safety to provide border security. But some are criticizing the state for not using the money strictly for humanitarian efforts.
The recent surge of immigrants coming into Texas, among them tens of thousands of unaccompanied children, has the U.S. Border Patrol in a crisis mode.
“We do have a humanitarian and a security crisis that’s very serious along the border," Straus said. "And again I think all of this can go back to the federal government's advocating for border security and a lack of a sane and rational immigration policy coming out of Washington. And Texas is bearing the brunt of this."
The $1.3 million per week allocation has no definite end date but is expected to run until the end of 2014.
"The Texas government is not an ATM machine; we do not have an open checkbook," Straus said. "There’s only so much that we can afford and I think this an extraordinary commitment for taxpayer funds to a very difficult situation that is calling out for some federal help.”
Strauss also said the money will have close legislative oversight. But Jim Harrington with the Texas Civil Rights Project doesn’t think the money will have any effect.
"We’re going to spend all this money and it’s not going to get us anywhere," Harrington said. "I mean, we’ve got to deal with the problem: What is the economic necessity that drives people to the United States? People don’t just get up and leave their houses because they want to, it’s because they have too."
Harrington said the money Texas is spending on border security would be better spent on humanitarian efforts regarding the large number of unaccompanied children from Central America.