On Thursday, Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) voted against the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019, stating bluntly that the bill had some positive aspects, but still didn’t give U.S. border agents the resources they need.
I reluctantly voted against this bill. There are many things to like in this bill and many examples of good-faith compromises. But this vote was about the border security debate, an issue which shouldn’t be debatable in the first place. There are approximately 400,000 illegal immigrants apprehended while crossing our border each year, and this bill does not take the necessary steps to fix this problem. This issue is not about who wins arbitrary political battles; it’s about the security and sovereignty of our nation. When will we start taking it seriously and finally give our border agents the resources they’ve requested?
The bill was passed in the House by a vote of 300-128; the Senate had already passed the bill with a vote of 83-16. The bill stipulates $1.38 billion for physical barriers along the border, which will be targeted for a 55-mile barrier in theRio Grande Valley of Texas. UPI reports that there is no funding for additional Border Patrol agents.
The bill does state:
For necessary expenses of U.S. Customs and Border Protection for procurement, construction, and improvements, including procurements to buy marine vessels, aircraft, and unmanned aerial systems, $2,515,878,000, of which $870,656,000 shall remain available until September 30, 2021, and of which $1,645,222,000 shall remain available until September 30, 2023. For necessary expenses of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement for operations and support, including the purchase and lease of up to 3,790 (2,350 for replacement only) police-type vehicles; overseas vetted units; and maintenance, minor construction, and minor leasehold improvements at owned and leased facilities; $7,542,153,000.
But as Crenshaw noted in a video he made of visiting the very areas in the Rio Grande Valley that are plagued by illegal immigration, the shortage of manpower to deal with the number of illegal immigrants is crucial. While riding along with a deputy chief in the area, Crenshaw asked how many of the 1,000 illegal immigrants that came the day before were not seen by sensors or cameras and went unapprehended. The deputy chief answered, “We had 170 people get away from us that we didn’t know of … we were tied up dealing with the unaccompanied children and family units that we were also encountering … It becomes a resource issue; we don’t have enough agents; we don’t have enough infrastructure, and we certainly don’t have enough technology out here.”
Crenshaw commented, “I was always under the impression, because Democrats keep saying that all you need are drones and censors, it’s the magical solution: it just solves itself. But I guess that’s not true.” The deputy chief resonded succinctly: “No, sir.”
The video concluded by stating, “It’s time for Americans to hear the truth about the border debate. Secure fencing works. It’s a part of the solution, but not the whole solution. No one is asking for a 2,000 mile wall. Border security is a mix of fencing, technology, and personnel. And it is time that we fully fund the Border Patrol’s request for fencing where they need it.”