EL PASO, Texas - County Judge Veronica Escobar submitted the following resolution to be considered at County Commissioners Monday.
"Approve and adopt a resolution opposing Governor Rick Perry's militarization of the Texas and Mexico border."
WHEREAS, El Paso County and other counties and cities along the U.S./Mexico Border are among the safest – if not the safest communities in the United States; and
WHEREAS, to date about 2,500 Central American refugees have come through El Paso and within 36 hours the majority of these refugees are reunified with family members through the United States; and
WHEREAS, Border communities, like El Paso have established coordinated efforts to ensure that, once processed by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Central American refugees who are trying to escape the rising violence in their home country's receive the shelter and care they need; and
WHEREAS, the incredible generosity of El Pasoans along with the outstanding coordination by Annunciation House and other local and federal agencies has meant that the women and children coming through El Paso have been cared for in the most compassionate way; and
WHEREAS, in response to the influx of Central American women and children, Texas Governor Rick Perry has initiated "Operation Strong Safety," which will send up to 1,000 National Guard Troops, at a cost of $12 million per month, to militarize safe communities on the Texas-Mexico border. This expense is on top of a selfdescribed "surge" in state police operations by the Department of Public Safety, estimated at $5 million a
month. These two recent operations come at a total cost of $17 million per month, which will be paid for by Texas taxpayers; and
WHEREAS, the National Guard is not trained to enforce civil immigration law, make arrests, or deal with vulnerable populations such as unaccompanied children; and,
WHEREAS, apprehensions by Border Patrol at the Southern border are at historic lows despite the rise in arrests of children from Central America; and,
WHEREAS, Governor Perry has yet to indicate how this militarization would either stop the flow of refugees or be accepted by federal law enforcement, the sole jurisdiction that has authority in this situation; and
WHEREAS, Governor Perry called upon President Barack Obama and Congress to hire an additional 3,000 Border Patrol Agents and send them to the Texas border to increase security measures despite the fact that immigration law enforcement levels are at an all-time high, receiving more taxpayer funding than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined; and
WHEREAS, Governor Perry claims his efforts are meant to "combat crime," despite the fact that Texas border communities and local law enforcement agencies are affirming that there has been no increase in crime since the refugee influx increased, and that we continue to remain safer than other large U.S. cities in Texas that are not on the Texas-Mexico border; and
WHEREAS, the $17 million increase allocated by Governor Perry could be far better spent on neglected fundamental state needs like education, healthcare, mental healthcare, transportation, or other under-funded state responsibilities.'
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE EL PASO COUNTY JUDGE AND COMMISSIONERS COURT, that the County of El Paso:
1). Does not support Governor Rick Perry's impractical and wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars to militarize the Texas/Mexico border; and
2). Calls on the federal government to once again resume bi-partisan conversations to fix our Country's flawed immigration system in a humane and thoughtful way where rights aren't being eroded; and
3). Supports the 1998 Trafficking Victims Protection and Reauthorization Act which provides legal and humanitarian protections to unaccompanied migrant children from countries other than Mexico and Canada.
SIGNED, this 28th day of July 2014
Commissioner Carlos Leon, Pct. 1 Commissioner Sergio Lewis, Pct. 2
Commissioner Vincent M. Perez, Pct. 3 Commissioner Patrick Abeln, Pct. 4