Van Taylor for Texas Senate

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Fighting to Secure our Border

As I travel the district, everywhere I go people tell me they are concerned about the security of our border and the escalating problem of illegal immigration. As a United States Marine, I served on the U.S. / Mexico border as part of Joint Task Force 6. It was not secure then, and it is worse now. Just last year I visited the border to be briefed on our state operations and it is clear Texas must act to secure our border.

In the face of Washington inaction, I have been fighting at the state level on a two-step approach. First, we must use any and all resources at our disposal to secure our border and second, Texas must turn off the magnets that further attract illegal immigration. With less than three weeks left in the Regular Session, below is an update of my Border Security Legislative package:

PASSED SENATE: SB 850 – National Guard Personal Protection Act: Grants Texas military personnel, including the Texas National Guard securing our border, legal safeguards to protect themselves while being called upon to serve our state.

PASSED SENATE: SB 3* –  Stronger Border, Safer Texas Act: Omnibus border security package that includes additional DPS Troopers assigned to the Southern Border, cutting cartels supply-lines with new southbound checkpoints, tougher penalties for smuggling, classifying human trafficking as organized crime, and creates uniformity of crime data and intelligence across all agencies and law enforcement entities.

PASSED SENATE: SB 1252* – Border Security Interstate Compact: Gives the Governor the authority to develop and enter into a Border Security Interstate Compact with other states to coordinate border security operations.

PASSED SENATE: SB 374* – E-Verify for State Agencies: Requires all state agencies use the E-Verify program, which is an online system used to determine the eligibility of employees to work in the United States.

PASSED SENATE: SB 62* – Studying the Cost of Illegal Immigration: To better understand the full financial impact of illegal immigration, this bill instructs the Comptroller to estimate the financial cost the State of Texas bears as a result of illegal immigration. Requires that the costs be broken down by categories, including education, health care, incarceration, law enforcement, and border security.

PASSED OUT OF COMMITTEE: SB 1819* – Repeal Instate Tuition for Illegal Immigrants: Repeals the 2001 Texas law that allows undocumented students to pay in-state tuition at public colleges and universities.
Stuck In Committee: SB 117 Texas Grants for Texans Act: Changes eligibility requirements for Texas Grant college scholarships so that only legal citizens are qualified to receive Texas Grants.
*Denotes Co-Authorship

Additionally, the budget passed by the Senate increases border security funding to $811 million. This includes $408.2 million for a continued presence on the border, $8.8 million for a new Ranger Company at the Texas Department of Public Safety, and increased grants to local law enforcement.

The misguided policies of President Obama have enticed tens of thousands of young children to leave their family and engender risks no child should endure, while at the same time leaving our state vulnerable to drug cartels, human traffickers, and potential terrorist threats. We cannot afford to continue to wait on Washington. I have made border security a top priority and will continue urging my colleagues, and other Texas leaders, to commit to securing our border and not yielding one inch of Texas land to the drug cartels.

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