Border Coalition Wants Billions More To Secure Border Against Drug Cartels

Leaders of cities along the Texas border says for all the money the U.S. has spent on border protection, the results have been mixed, at best. Border town mayors are calling on Congress to spend billions more, and hire thousands of additional officers, to help stop the flow of illegal immigrants, weapons, and drugs.

The Texas Border Coalition is a group of mayors advocating for better border security and better economic growth.  The coalition says the federal government doesn't have a comprehensive strategy to fight drug cartels, after spending $90 billion dollars on border security in the last ten years.

The coalition says its conclusion is backed up by findings from the Government Accountability Office and Customs and Border Protection

Monica Wiseberg-Stewart is a committee chair with the border coalition. She says old equipment and understaffing allow criminals toting guns, drugs, and money to easily move back and forth.

"Only 28 percent of major violators attempted to enter the United States at the official border crossings are detected and apprehended."

Wiseberg-Stewart says when people attempt to cross out in the middle of nowhere, they're more than three times as likely to be caught.  She says it would take a substantial investment in official border crossings to make it harder for criminals to slip through.

"Customs and Border Protection needs 6,000 additional personnel and $6 billion in funding for infrastructure and technology."

Budget forecasts for the Department of Homeland Security show that DHS has no plans right now to increase funding for border crossing infrastructure or staffing.

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David Pitman

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