The Texas Department of Public Safety began a law enforcement surge along the border on Thursday.
This comes one day after three top state officials directed DPS to help overwhelmed federal and local agencies in South Texas.
The letter from Governor Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, and House Speaker Joe Strauss directs the DPS to spend upwards of $1.5 million a week through the end of 2014. But the exact mission of the DPS along the border isn’t yet clear. That’s because the department still has to create a plan, figure out how much it will cost, and set standards for effectiveness.
One local political analyst says this surge appears to put the cart before the horse.
“You cannot implement the policy, then design the metrics, and then see if those metrics took you wherever you wanted to go,” said Jeronimo Cortina, an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Houston.
Cortina says with state and mid-term federal elections coming up in the fall, he’s not surprised by the timing of the request for the DPS to help out along the border
“Is it only a political issue? Is it only something that could bring politicians together in terms of rallying the troops in order for election bait? Maybe. Is this just a stand to say that you’re tough on immigration, that you’re tough on the border, I’m not so sure,” Cortina said.
In the letter to DPS asking for help, leaders referred to a spike in the number of children crossing the border with no adults. But a DPS spokesman says this latest enforcement surge is not related to that increase. The department will have to report monthly on the results of the enforcement operation.