INTERVIEW: Texas Speaker Joe Straus talks border security

Updated: Thursday, June 19 2014, 03:57 PM CDT
INTERVIEW: Texas Speaker Joe Straus talks border security story image

SAN ANTONIO: The state's Republican leadership has announced it has authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety to spend about $1.3 million per week to fund what is called "law enforcement surge operations" to fight a surge of illegal immigration along the Texas-Mexico border.

In this extended interview, Speaker of the Texas House Joe Straus, talks border security and funding with Jaie Avila.

Thousands of unaccompanied minors mostly from Central America - estimated at more than 47,000 so far this budget year - have been entering the United States in recent months and overwhelmed the federal government.

In a joint statement Wednesday evening, Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus said the spending comes in what they call "the absence of adequate resources to secure the border." The surge would continue until year's end.

The statement offers no specifics on where the money would come from or for what it would be used.

Texas Department of Public Safety spokesman Tom Vinger said Thursday that details of ramped-up patrols along the Texas-Mexico border for the rest of the year are being withheld because of "operational security and law enforcement safety."

Vinger said the additional funding will target violent crime and human trafficking.

Last week, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott asked the U.S. Homeland Security Department for $30 million so Texas could send more state troopers to the border.

INTERVIEW: Texas Speaker Joe Straus talks border security