You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Texas GOP leaders submit $2.8 billion tab to feds for border security


Highlights

The ‘invoice’ includes costs for the state’s unprecented border security operation.

If Barack Obama doesn’t pay, lawmakers will ask Donald Trump for the money after he takes office next week.

State Rep. Dennis Bonnen on Wednesday led a group of Texas Republican lawmakers in unveiling a $2.8 billion “invoice” they are submitting to the federal government to reimburse the state for costs related to illegal immigration.

“I would like nothing more than to put dollars currently devoted to border security and criminal alien incarceration toward our state’s top priorities of public safety and education of our children,” said Bonnen, an Angleton Republican who authored the centerpiece of an $800 million border security package the Legislature approved in 2015. “This would be possible if the Obama administration rightfully reimburses Texas and if the Trump administration follows on their promises to secure the border.”

Bonnen said that if Obama does not pay, the lawmakers will be asking the federal government for the reimbursement after Trump takes office next week.

LIKE US ON FACEBOOK: Our Lone Star Politics page brings Capitol news to your Facebook feed

In 2014, after a surge of immigrant families and unaccompanied children from Central America began arriving in the Rio Grande Valley, he and other Texas Republicans asked the federal government for $669 million in reimbursement for costs incurred since January 2013. Federal officials did not pay.

Bonnen’s new $2.8 billion total includes: $1.4 billion spent by the Texas Department of Public Safety to monitor the border, largely under the 2015 package; $729 million spent by Texas state and county jails that have housed unauthorized immigrants; and $417 million spent on health care for unauthorized immigrants at Texas medical facilities.

The largely symbolic announcement comes as lawmakers prepare to decide to what extent they want to continue spending state money on border security, which is typically a federal task.

TEXAS POLITICS DELIVERED EVERY DAY: Sign up for our Texas Politics email

The Texas Department of Public Safety has asked for more than $1 billion over the next two years to continue the campaign, which is the nation’s only state-level border security program of its kind.

The state budget, however, is tighter than it was in the 2015 session, thanks to low oil and gas prices and fiscal decisions the Legislature made in recent sessions.

Bonnen had previously indicated the election of Trump and his hard-line stance on immigration may allow Texas to pull back from immigration enforcement.

On Wednesday, Bonnen said the Legislature, which meets every two years, should approve funding a significant border security operation if the federal government has not done its part by the time state lawmakers adjourn at the end of May. He declined to say how much it may cost.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Texas News & Politics

Texas official: Video justified Planned Parenthood ouster
Texas official: Video justified Planned Parenthood ouster

Two state health officials, both involved in the decision to remove Planned Parenthood from Texas Medicaid, took the stand Wednesday, focusing attention on a central point of this week’s federal court hearing — whether the organization’s ouster was justified. Stuart Bowen Jr., inspector general for the Texas Health and Human Services...
Rep. Dawnna Dukes indicted on 15 charges, booked at county courthouse
Rep. Dawnna Dukes indicted on 15 charges, booked at county courthouse

State Rep. Dawnna Dukes turned herself in at the Travis County courthouse on Wednesday afternoon after a grand jury on Tuesday indicted her on 13 felony corruption charges and two misdemeanors. Speaking outside the Blackwell-Thurman Criminal Justice Center before going in to stand for a mug shot and give her fingerprints, Dukes, D-Austin, said she...
World’s primates in crisis, on track for extinction, new study warns
World’s primates in crisis, on track for extinction, new study warns

Half of the world’s primates, including gorillas, apes, monkeys, lemurs, and others are in crisis and on track for extinction, mainly due to a growing human population and habitat loss. Some “60 percent of primate species are now threatened with extinction and 75 percent have declining populations,” according to a new study published...
Rainy week to give way to sunshine, then blustery weekend
Rainy week to give way to sunshine, then blustery weekend

Well, that was wet. Almost 4 inches of rain fell on Austin’s Camp Mabry from the first raindrops that fell on Friday the 13th to the final downpour Wednesday morning. The six-day stretch brought nearly double the normal January total monthly rainfall of 2.2 inches, yet managed to be merely soggy — albeit with a few tornado scares &mdash...
Police: Man who drove Ferrari off Westlake bridge charged with DWI
Police: Man who drove Ferrari off Westlake bridge charged with DWI

A man accused of drunken driving drove a $385,000 Ferrari off a bridge in Westlake, went airborne for 50 feet and crashed into the woods while speeding Friday night, officials said. James Allen, 28, is facing a charge of driving while intoxicated, authorities said. According to police, a witness at a boat ramp near Redbud Trail saw the vehicle drive...
More Stories