Abbott says Texas border safer than before

Attorney General Greg Abbott at a border security briefing. (U.S. Border Patrol)

WESLACO, Texas (AP) — A week after Gov. Rick Perry directed $1.3 million per week toward bolstering border security, Attorney General Greg Abbott said Friday he sees “measurable and meaningful results.”

Abbott, who’s the Republican nominee for governor, said after being briefed by Border Patrol and the Department of Public Safety in Weslaco that there has been no increase in crime and may have actually been a decrease in illegal activity. He credited the amount of law enforcement at all levels working at the border in the face of a surge of illegal immigration.

“Because of this border related effort, the border area in Texas is more safe from crime than it has been before,” Abbott said. “And so as far as crime on the streets is concerned things are more safe and more secure because of the greater presence on the ground.” He offered no details on the measurable results and said the Border Patrol told him that two days earlier they made 1,500 arrests in the sector.

On June 18, Perry announced that the state would send $1.3 million per week to DPS to help secure the border while federal agents were busy with immigrants. “We will not sit idly by while the safety and security of our citizens are threatened,” Perry said at the time.

State officials have refused to provide any detail on how that additional money will be spent other than to say it will be divided among DPS and its local law enforcement partners presumably for overtime.

The Border Patrol’s Rio Grande Valley sector has made more than 194,000 arrests since October, many of them women with young children and unaccompanied minors.

Abbott said he expects the federal government to reimburse Texas for its assistance in securing the border and is prepared to take legal action to get paid.

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