Along with the recent cooler weather we are experiencing, we welcomed the official arrival of the Fall season this past week. From Friday night football games to filling corn feeders, this is one of my favorite times of the year. Fall also means that many communities across East Texas will be hosting annual festivals and organized outdoor activities. Whatever the reason, I hope you’ll be able to enjoy this beautiful weather and some time outdoors with friends and family in the coming weeks.
With that, here’s an update from your State Capitol…
The start of our third Special Session is officially underway and the pace at the Capitol has surely picked up. Committee hearings have once again commenced, and I welcome you to participate, whether it’s by submitting a public comment online or testifying in person.
This past week, as you may know, the humanitarian crisis happening at our southern border escalated further. More than 16,000 migrants have made their way to the Del Rio International Bridge in an attempt to seek refuge, and with little support from the federal government, the State of Texas has been forced to take matters into our own hands. As a member of the House Appropriations Committee, and after listening to hours of thoughtful testimony from our border sheriffs and affected communities, I felt obligated to visit Del Rio and witness this situation firsthand. I had the opportunity to survey the scene from the air and meet with our dedicated federal, state, and local law enforcement officers about conditions on the ground. Currently, Haitian migrants are awaiting removal proceedings to be put on flights back to Haiti under a public health law known as Title 42. In the past few days, we have been able to repatriate almost half of these migrants back to their home country.
In March, the Governor launched Operation Lonestar to combat illegal entry into our state, as well as address the illegal drug trafficking and human smuggling that has become all too commonplace along our border with Mexico. This week he announced an additional $100 million to enhance the ongoing operation. Additionally, House Bill 9 from our last Special Session allocated nearly $2 billion to provide supplemental resources and manpower at the border over the next two years. As for news on the construction of a border wall, a project manager was selected to begin the initial phase with an emphasis on hot spot entry points. While the current plan and increased funding will not completely eliminate the problem, I am confident it will lead to significant and measurable progress as we seek to protect Texans and our communities from the largest surge we’ve seen at the border in nearly 20 years.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if we can help you in any way. My district office may be reached at (936) 634-2762. Additionally, I welcome you to follow along on my Official Facebook Page, where I will be posting regular updates on what’s happening in your State Capitol and sharing information that could be useful to you and your family: https://www.facebook.com/RepTrentAshby/.