AUSTIN (KXAN) – A KXAN investigation found the state’s war on drugs at the border is doing little to slow the flow of drugs into central Texas. State lawmakers have spent more than $1.6 billion to add DPS Troopers along the border with the goal of stopping human smuggling and drug smuggling. On this week’s State of Texas: In-Depth, we look closer at why your tax dollars may not be helping the state reach that goal.
“Lawmakers have said this is a top priority and we are going to put down a big check on it,” KXAN Investigator Brian Collister said. “But yet we don’t know how to judge its effectiveness.” Collister’s investigation found that in the past two years, just six percent of arrests made by DPS troopers along the border have been for felony drug possession. Less than one percent of arrests have been for human smuggling.
Despite questions about its effectiveness, lawmakers are likely to spend more money on the border surge. “More than half of Republicans consistently say either immigration or border security are the most important problems facing Texas,” said Texas Politics Project director Jim Henson. Sherri Greenberg from the LBJ School of Public Affairs says other demands could lead to battles over just how much funding goes to the border. “The funding pot is not going to be as robust as they once thought it would with what we saw in the economy in particularly with oil and gas, as of recent times.”
You can watch State of Texas: In-Depth Sunday morning 8:30 on KXAN.