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Houston Matters

Should The Feds Pay For The State’s Border Security Measures?

Some Texas lawmakers want Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to sue the federal government over the state’s border security expenditures.

In this Aug. 11, 2017, photo, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol vehicle passes along a section of border levee wall in Hidalgo, Texas.


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Suing the federal government is often a tactic of Republic leaders in Texas. When Gov. Greg Abbott was the state's attorney general, he once bragged about it being his daily routine.

"I go into the office, I sue the federal government and I go home," he said.

The statement was a reference to the dozens of lawsuits the state filed against the federal government after Barack Obama was elected president.

But now, two Democratic state lawmakers want to borrow that tactic.

Separately this month, State Sen. Jose Menéndez (D-San Antonio) and State Rep. Richard Peña Raymond (D-Laredo) have called on current Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to sue the federal government over the state's border security expenditures. They say the federal government should foot the bill — not the state.

Paxton has not indicated any desire to file such a suit.

So, who should pay for the state's border security expenditures? And, would the state even have a case in such a lawsuit?

In the audio above, Houston Matters talks it over with University of Houston political science professor Jeronimo Cortina.

Michael Hagerty

Michael Hagerty

Senior Producer, Houston Matters

Michael Hagerty is the senior producer for Houston Matters. He's spent more than 20 years in public radio and television and dabbled in minor league baseball, spending four seasons as the public address announcer for the Reno Aces, the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks.

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