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Texas touts 'surge' at Mexican border to confront illegal immigration

By CNN Staff
updated 7:51 AM EDT, Thu June 19, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Gov. Rick Perry: "Texas can't afford to wait for Washington"
  • The state calls the operation a "surge" that will last until the end of the year
  • Tough action in the past has reduced crime rates, officials say

(CNN) -- Texas authorities toughened their security to thwart illegal immigration along the Mexican border, an operation they call a "surge."

"Texas can't afford to wait for Washington to act on this crisis, and we will not sit idly by while the safety and security of our citizens are threatened," Gov. Rick Perry said in a statement.

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The announcement was made in a statement by Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state House Speaker Joe Straus. The state Department of Public Safety has been authorized to fund operations at about $1.3 million a week.

"Until the federal government recognizes the danger it's putting our citizens in by its inaction to secure the border, Texas law enforcement must do everything they can to keep our citizens and communities safe," Perry said.

The so-called surge will continue at least through the end of the calendar year to combat a "flood" of illegal immigrants, the statement said.

"The federal government has abdicated its responsibility to secure the border and protect this country from the consequences of illegal immigration, but as Texans we know how to lead in areas where Washington has failed," Dewhurst said.

"Last year DPS conducted Operation Strong Safety and achieved astounding results. Crime rates related to drugs, cartels, transnational gangs, and illegal border activity plummeted because of the resources we allocated to stop illegal entry at the border. It's time to make this type of presence on the border permanent."

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