Over the past year the Texas Department of Public Safety has conducted a surge along the Texas-Mexico border, entitled Operation Strong Safety. This was in response to an influx of unaccompanied minors and rampant smuggling activity in the Rio Grande Valley and elsewhere.
The United States Border Patrol is and has been an integral part of these operations, which have been very successful, belying the Obama administration’s claim that the border is more secure than it’s ever been. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Gil Kerlikowske recently told United States Congressional officials that the Border Patrol, “declined participation in the operation.” He even went as far to say that the Texas Department of Public Safety falsely claimed Border Patrol stats as their own. This is not true. CBP is aware of and has condoned Border Patrol’s participation in these operations. Texas DPS has not manipulated numbers and they have not claimed the Border Patrol’s stats as their own. The operations have been conducted jointly and have proven to be very effective.
Unfortunately the situation in the Rio Grande Valley and throughout the southwest border has become tainted by partisan politics. Commissioner Kerlikowske and other high ranking political appointees will do whatever it takes to further the administration’s claims that the border is secure, including misdirection, ignoring statistics, and lying. This is not how it should be. Reality does not cease to exist simply because officials choose to ignore it.
The southwest border is still a very dangerous and unsecured place. Border Patrol agents, in cooperation with state and local law enforcement partners, must be given the ability to do their jobs. The political will, however, needs to be there if we are ever to really secure the border. This political will is non-existent, but is replaced by hollow words and partisan rhetoric.