Is protecting the southern border the best use of Texas’ tax dollars?

08/17/2014 12:00 AM

08/15/2014 7:39 PM

The New York Times says Gov. Rick Perry’s deployment of National Guard troops is “only the latest step in a decade-long strategy … to patch together Texas’ own version of the Border Patrol on its 1,200-mile border with Mexico.” The state has spent more than $500 million on border security since 2005, an amount that outpaces all other border states and includes high-tech equipment, heavily armed boats and a $7.4 million high-altitude surveillance airplane. Is this a proper use of Texas taxpayers’ money, or should that money go to meet other state needs?

To the extent the state has slowed illegal immigration, legal Texans have benefited from lower crime, fewer competitors for jobs (thus higher wages), less overcrowding of schools, lower costs of healthcare, fewer degraded communities, less chance of voter fraud and all the other costly detriments visited on us by the presence of those who come illegally.

Any economic benefits they bring accrue to the businesses who get cheap labor. The costs of their presence accrues to taxpayers, parents and ordinary citizens.

Any funds Texas spends on keeping out those who would come illegally will be offset by savings in not having to spend money on the problems they cause.

— Daniel O’Connor, Euless

Since the action is to deter an “illegal act,” should we be asking if the cost to fight any crime is worth the effort, i.e. should we be paying police to be stopping folks for traffic violations, or arresting vandals, etc.? Is it worth what we pay?

Since the federal government is not doing it, who else should?

What does it cost the taxpayers of the state to house, feed and provide medical costs to those who enter the state illegally?

Could that money be better spent on legal citizens?

Are our schools capable of handling all the children and still delivering the quality of education we desire?

— Mike Holt, Fort Worth

I am so glad I’m not in charge of making that decision.

I know we all came over as immigrants (excepting our American Indians).

I agree we need to do something. I just want it done with as much dignity and compassion as possible.

— Jodie Wright-Tepfer, Bedford

The cost entailed since 2005 on border security (or lack thereof) has exceeded $500 million.

However, keep in mind Texas has 1,200 miles of connecting border with Mexico.

Compared to the 200-300 connecting miles that Arizona, New Mexico and California have with Mexico, our cost is not prohibitively expensive. And if the federal government had committed itself to border security, we could and would allocate these dollars for other state needs.

— Darlene Rogers, Fort Worth

I certainly don’t like spending millions of dollars to send Texas National Guard troops to secure the Texas border.

I also don’t like the 20 million people who are here in violation of our laws.

If the feds did their job and enforced the existing laws, this would not be necessary.

Until the current laws are enforced, what choice do we have?

In addition to the feds, I also blame business owners who want cheap employees they can pay off the books.

At some point this madness has to stop. I just don’t think amnesty is the answer.

— Troy Worthy, Hurst

Some will say that it is God’s intent for those humans who can build the most lethal weapons to lay claims of ownership to the earth’s most precious natural resources.

How else can one explain the success of the white man at almost total annihilation of America’s native population?

Now that Texas has spent more than $500 million to protect our resources from invaders, is God still on our side? Or is it possible that we have built a $500 million golden calf?

— Larry Mason, Azle

I’m sure border security critics would rather spend our money on “Welcome to Texas” signs, a dozen roses and a Democrat voter registration form for every illegal entry.

Could we just be honest here and admit if the liberals really cared about the conditions of those south of the border, they would volunteer their money and time lifting up the countries they come from?

— Kenneth Harrison, Weatherford

The deployment of the National Guard to the border is Rick Perry at his finest. He gets great press; super photo ops and throws red meat to his base. He fails to mention one other thing: It is a waste of money.

There are two facts that always get ignored when it comes to immigration: 1) illegal immigration is at a 10-year low; and 2) immigrants are unbelievable sources of revenue for the state. Don’t believe me, ask our state budget office.

The budget office for the state of Texas estimates that these immigrants bring in $970 million of revenue to the state every day.

The children at our border is so not an immigration issue — it is a humanitarian crisis that we will get under control without the National Guard.

— Frank Matthews, Fort Worth

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