The Lone Star state suffers from too much illegal alien crime. Authorities say the number of crimes committed by illegal aliens is rising. In addition, the problem of unlawful entry is multiplied by having the longest border — 1,254 miles.
Because this is a local story, there are some interesting facts specific to Texas, such as the crossing of 1600 illegal alien Indians last year. Who knew?
Other news is that Rep. Mike McCaul believes the number of ICE agents should be doubled from its current staffing. In contrast, the Kyl/McCain Border Security Enforcement Act called for an additional 5000 Border Patrol agents, plus 6000 National Guard troops. McCaul is a former prosecutor and the Chair of the Homeland Security Oversight, Investigations & Management Subcommittee, so he is a serious guy.
(In a recent hearing, Texas Department of Public Safety director Steve McCraw said there have been 22 murders, 24 assaults, 15 shootings and five kidnappings in Texas linked to Mexican cartels since 2010.)
The high cost of criminal immigrants in Texas, KVUE-TV, May 11, 2011
AUSTIN, Texas — As Washington refuses to agree on a federal immigration policy, violent illegal immigrants from around the world are committing crimes in Texas. They are putting a strain on both the criminal justice system and the state budget.
“It is the result of poor policies allowing violent illegal immigrants to come into this country,” said Williamson County Prosecutor John Bradley.
Over the past year, Bradley has prosecuted two murders in Cedar Park involving illegal Hondurans. In one case, a man raped and murdered a nine-year-old girl. The second killed his wife.
“We caught these two individuals and punished them,” Bradley said. “But that should never happen again.”
But it is happening. In some cases, Bradley has seen the same offenders returning to Texas to re-offend.
Unlike legal citizens who offend, lawmakers and others believe that crimes committed by illegal immigrants may be more preventable through tougher policies at the border.
The topic recently came to light during Governor Perry’s re-election campaign. In a television ad the wife of a Houston policeman killed by an illegal immigrant implied that her husband’s murder could have been prevented, had Perry’s opponent been tougher on criminal immigrants.
Some lawmakers say the problem would not be so bad if ICE had more staffing. ICE is the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency of the federal government.
U.S. Representative Michael McCaul believes the size of ICE should be doubled.
Last year, more than 1,600 illegal immigrants from India crossed into Texas and overwhelmed the courts and jails in the Rio Grande Valley. Waves of immigrants have also come from Brazil and China.
Rep. McCaul is concerned that ICE can no longer deport all offenders.
“And they will tell me that we don’t have the resources to deport everyone in this country who is here illegally,” McCaul said. “Being in a border state, it is starting, I think, to pose a greater risk to our security.”
Then, there is question of cost and what taxpayers must spend.
According to ICE, nearly 10,000 inmates in Texas prisons have a detainer, which means their legal status is in question. They account for nearly 15 percent of the total prison population, and each cost about $18,000 a year to feed, house, care for, and even educate.
By comparison, the state spends about $8,000 a year educating a public school student.
Criminal justice advocates are quick to point out the solution may not be as easy as simply deporting offenders because they cost too much.
“I don’t think anyone is proposing that they just be permitted to go back on the streets,” said attorney Rebecca Bernhardt, an advocate for immigrants.
Bernhardt believes that one cost-cutting alternative could be to deport all non-violent illegal immigrants who are eligible for parole. The savings could add up to more than $100 million a year.
“It is not the same thing as the violent, very serious offenders,” Bernhardt said. “That may be a very reasonable, economic choice right now.”
It is a time of unreasonable violence in both Central Texas and at the border when solutions are proving difficult to come by.