Op-Ed: State troopers getting results on border

Re: “An empty photo op at the border,” Editorial, Tuesday:

Your editorial concerning my latest trip to the Texas border was short on facts and long on cheap shots. Your editorial writer apparently didn’t even read the news reports on my trip by your own reporter, Mike Ward.

Here are the facts your recent editorial omitted: Over the last year, 63,000 people have been apprehended trying to enter Texas illegally, including nearly 14,000 people described as criminals, and more than $1.2 billion in drugs has been confiscated at the border over the last few years. The photograph that accompanied your editorial was taken at a recent trail where more than 100 pounds of illegal drugs were seized.

While these operations were conducted jointly by the Texas Department of Public Safety, local law enforcement and the U.S. Border Patrol, Texas has taken the lead that is making the difference with our state’s increase in funding, technology, manpower, and air and water assets.

The state of Texas has added more than 2,000 cameras along the Texas-Mexico border in the last year. Those were paid for by the state and installed by the Border Patrol. These cameras are proving to be highly effective in stopping drug smuggling and human smugglers trying to enter Texas.

Your editorial also ignored published reports of my 90- minute meeting with local law enforcement in which chiefs of police from all parts of the Rio Grande Valley reported crime was down. One chief reported that crime had dropped in his city by 15 percent, and another said car thefts had dropped from a high of more than 2,000 in one year to just 111 in the last year. State Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa joined me at that meeting to hear how these efforts were being implemented after supporting the state budget. Border security is not a partisan issue.

Your reporter Mike Ward and I also met with longtime South Texas border land owner Richard Guerra, who is also a board member of the South Texas Property Rights Association. He told us landowners
are seeing a major difference on their property since Texas stepped up its efforts and increased funding to help secure the Texas-Mexico border.

Your editorial writer either didn’t know these facts or didn’t bother to inquire about what we learned on our trip. This is a disservice to your readers who expect facts, not cheap shots, when the truth contradicts your political agenda.

One final point — my name is Dan, not Daniel as your editorial wrongly stated. This telling error is a minor detail, but it speaks volumes about your inability to report even the most basic information on this issue. There is a great deal more to report about our efforts at strengthening our border. In the future, I hope your editorial writers will show more interest in learning the facts.