Texas-Mexico Border Security

In recent months, the topic of illegal immigration has been a highly controversial theme on both sides of the aisle. Specifically, as Texas citizens, this issue truly hits close to home due to our border with Mexico. In this analysis, I will evaluate Texas-Mexico border security expenditure as allocated by the Texas Legislature, and examine how these funds have affected not only the safety of our border, but of our entire state. Since the 2008–09 biennium alone, the Texas Legislature has increased the border security budget from $110.3M to a whopping $839.6M. My hypothesis is that this increase in spending will lead to a decrease in illegal aliens entering the state, and a decrease in the crime rate of the state overall. I also plan on examining the crime rate statistics in three major point-of-entry cities — El Paso, Laredo and Brownsville — in an effort to make a comparison to the state as a whole.

One of the main arguments for stronger border security is that of the safety of our citizens. As seen in Figure 1, crime committed by illegal aliens is a major issue in the state of Texas. According to records, there have been over 572,000 total illegal alien arrests made since June 2011 alone.

Figure 1

Source: https://www.dps.texas.gov/administration/crime_records/pages/txCriminalAlienStatistics.htm

Because of these startling numbers, it is evident that something had to be done to help mitigate the illegal alien presence in the state. This dramatic increase can be directly attributed to the need for a stronger, safer, more secure border in order to better ensure the safety of Texan residents.

As stated above, the Texas Legislature has continuously increased the border security budget over the past few years. Figure 2 depicts the exact budget amounts each biennium.

Figure 2

Source: http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/Presentation/3248_Update_State_Funding_Border_Security.pdf

When observing this data, it is clear that border security spending has dramatically increased since 2008. However, looking only at aggregate funding neglects important details regarding where the money is spent. To better illustrate what this money is actually funding, Figure 3 depicts the exact allocations within the entire border security budget itself.

Figure 3

Source: http://www.lbb.state.tx.us/Documents/Publications/Presentation/3248_Update_State_Funding_B order_Security.pdf

Since 2008, the vast majority of the border security budget is allocated for the Department of Public Safety. For this reason, it is expected that illegal alien arrest rates by the DPS would go up, and in turn, overall crime rates would go down.

Through researching DPS records as well as other research databases, I discovered that this hypothesis was indeed accurate. Records show that crime rates in the border cities and in the overall state have declined since 2007. Specifically, I compiled the crime index values of three major port-of-entry cities, El Paso, Laredo, and Brownsville. Figure 4 depicts these values:

Figure 4

Sources: http://www.city-data.com/city/Brownsville-Texas.html

http://www.city-data.com/city/Laredo-Texas.html

http://www.city-data.com/city/El-Paso-Texas.html

This is a substantial decline in the crime index for these cities. I believe these figures are directly correlated with the increase in the legislative border security budget through increased police presence and more efficient security measures. Further, it can be predicted that these numbers for these main entry cities can be projected onto the state as a whole. Figure 5 depicts the crime rate of the state overall since 2007:

Figure 5

Source: http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/txcrime.htm

I believe this data is the most compelling for this argument. Not only have border cities become increasingly more secure, the state as a whole has as well.

This final piece of data is a representation of the illegal alien apprehensions at the Texas-Mexico border made since 2011 — when the more dramatic increases in border security expenditure began to occur. This data is the actual depiction of exactly how this border security budget increase is truly making a difference in illegal alien presence in our state. As you can see from referring back to Figure 2, the border security budget increased by about 5 times between 2011 and 2014, going from $120.1M to $556.3M. As seen in Figure 6, during this same time frame, the total amount of illegal alien apprehensions made in the state have tripled:

Figure 6

Source: http://www.dps.texas.gov/PublicInformation/documents/borderSecDshbrd20150107.pdf

All of the data presented in this analysis serve a purpose in portraying just how serious of an issue border security truly is. Figure 1 reveals that 1,164 homicide arrests in the State of Texas were of illegal aliens — that’s over a thousand people killed at the hands of an illegal, and over a thousand families directly affected. Not to mention the 68,151 assaults, 6,098 sexual assaults, or even the 687 kidnapping cases. These numbers truly put into perspective the kind of damage that criminal illegal aliens have on the state. Figures 2 and 3 reveal the Texas Legislature’s recognition that border security is an issue, and the following data reveals just how their recognition and increased allocation in funds have made a difference.

Imagine a state where illegal immigration wasn’t an issue. Imagine a state with a border so secure, that no criminals could enter illegally. These crimes are committed against Texas residents. These funds are coming from taxpayer dollars. This issue hits close to home for all of us, no matter your partisan ideals. This data shows that the issue is pressing, however, it is getting better over time. I truly believe, and the data shows, that a better-funded border leads to a more secure border, and ultimately, a more secure border leads to a safer state as a whole. Who wouldn’t want that for Texas?

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