Tuesday, February 7, 2017

In opposition to further funding of Operation Strong Safety

It is a long ways from the Valley to Austin; it is so very much work to get our voices heard in the Senate Chambers, even when they are considering bills that affect us in tremendous ways.

MALDEF and Equal Voice are developing a process to change that reality. If we (in the Valley--or elsewhere!) create testimony, MALDEF will find volunteers who live in Austin and who are willing to stand in line and then read the testimony into the record (for one example, you can go here: https://youtu.be/fOu5xycwZNE

MALDEF has asked for testimony on another important issue this week.
On Wednesday, the Senate finance committee will review the budget for the department of public safety. You might remember that the State of Texas gave the DPS more than $800 million in 2015 to "secure" the border (this after the Central American families were coming in such numbers). Now the DPS wants more than $1 billion to continue that work. They have made the lives of people in the region miserable, have not shown one shred of evidence that their presence made a difference, and are taking monies that could be invested in ways that actually could make life "safer" for the border--education, jobs, housing and access to health care. 

If you write a letter, it will be read. Below is a brief outline of such testimony. The talking points are not exhaustive, but I am sure you are familiar with the situation. If you would like to help out, please create something similar and then email it to Jaime Puente jrpuente@utexas.edu

Please send this along to other allies.

My name is  ---------------. 

I live in ------------ County. 

I wish to express my concern over the enormous funding that is being considered for the Department of Public Safety’s work in the Rio Grande Valley.

I am a (mother) and I am the (executive director of, a citizen, a student ) 

(reasons to oppose):

The State of Texas gave DPS $800 million in 2015. DPS has been unable to show how these funds have made any difference whatsoever in border security. 

There is no emergency immigration situation that requires state troopers. The federal government has invested billions to secure the border. 

It is quite clear that the new administration in Washington will invest heavily in further militarizing the border, so there is even less reason to invest Texas state funds in what is, in the end, a federal responsibility.

For many reasons, there is now negative immigration from Mexico. Those who are coming are families and refugees who are not criminals and pose no threat at all. 

The presence of so many state troopers has made life difficult for regular RGV citizens. There are many reports of racial profiling, and of harassment.

Taking state troopers from one region of the state and reassigning them to another one leaves other parts of the state unsafe.

Use these funds in a way that actually improves the quality of life for all Texans (an example--access to health care, funding for education)


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