Politics

Cornyn: Trump’s Border Plan Could Take Financial Pressure Off Texas

State leaders have pledged to keep Texas’ spending on border security at current levels over the next two years, even as other government services face steep cuts due to a budget shortfall.

Picture of John Cornyn at a press conference
U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas.

Texas’ senior senator says President-elect Donald Trump’s plan to tighten security along the Mexican border, including the construction of a wall, could take some of the financial pressure off the state government.

Senator John Cornyn blames the outgoing Obama Administration for not doing enough to crack down on illegal immigration and drug trafficking. He says that’s left much of the work, and the cost, to Texas.

“The state has had to step up and provide support for DPS and other law enforcement officials in order to – National Guard – to make sure that we do what we can to help secure the border in the absence of a committed administration to do exactly that,” Cornyn says.

Texas is on track to spend about $800 million on border security over the two-year budget cycle that ends in August. That’s roughly a third of the state’s spending on law enforcement. The state is currently facing a $5 billion shortfall in revenues just to maintain spending at current levels over the 2018-2019 cycle.

Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, and House Speaker Joe Straus have said they’ll protect state spending on border security from any cuts. Senator Cornyn says he’s met with all three leaders to discuss the chances of getting Congress to pick up some of those costs.

“My hope is that as part of President Trump’s effort to secure the border, which I wholeheartedly support, we’ll see more of that financial burden falling on the federal government, as opposed to state taxpayers,” Cornyn says.

The federal government currently spends about $19 billion a year on border security. That’s up more than 300 percent since 2002.

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Andrew Schneider

Andrew Schneider

Politics and Government Reporter

Andrew heads Houston Public Media’s coverage of national, state, and local elections. He also reports on major policy issues before the Texas delegations in the U.S. House and Senate, as well as the Texas governorship, the state legislature, and county and city governments. Before taking up his current post, Andrew...

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