Lawmaker responds to questions about DPS border arrests

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AUSTIN (KXAN) — State lawmakers are taking a harder look at how to stop the flow of drugs and human trafficking from Mexico. On the second day of the 2017 legislative session, legislators are already talking about how to pay for the Texas Department of Public Safety’s “border surge,” which critics say isn’t working.

KXAN recently told you how those state leaders have already given DPS about $1.6 billion over the past decade. Now, DPS is asking for another billion to pay for the surge over the next few years. In a hearing Wednesday at the Capitol, the chief architect of the state’s funding for the border surge finally responds to KXAN’s investigation that uncovered that most of what DPS Troopers are doing along the border has nothing to do with their stated mission.

We first tried last October to get State Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angelton, author of the bill that funded the surge, to respond to the fact that DPS records show less than 6 percent of arrests being made by troopers along the border are for felony drug and human smuggling. Our investigation found arrests being made by DPS troopers along the border are mostly of drunk drivers and drug users.

When asked if lawmakers are spending your tax dollars effectively, Bonnen responded with a resounding: “Absolutely.”

“Because what we’ve done is fill the gap of the federal government’s failure,” continued Bonnen. “And the bottom line is you are not always able to measure that.”

Rep. Bonnen and other lawmakers again said they want the federal government to reimburse Texas for what it has spent on border security. We asked Bonnen if he supports DPS’ request for an additional $1 billion that would add another 250 troopers to the border. He said he has not reviewed the agency’s request.

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