Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Thimesch: Border visit reveals national security issues

The first six weeks in the HD-65 office at the Texas state Capitol have been busy to say the least! Our office has filed nine bills and joint-authored two, with several more still under review by the drafting attorneys at the Texas Legislative Council.

In addition, I’m honored to have been appointed to the Agriculture & Livestock Committee, Appropriations Committee and Subcommittee on Article III, and Resolutions Calendars Committee. Hearings are underway for Appropriations and Agriculture committees, and these make for long days — but it is so important that we are thoughtfully considering all the needs of the state, especially with a $33 billion surplus that needs to be addressed.

I got to take a trip to the Rio Grande Valley last month, with several other legislators and our staff, to see some of the opportunities and challenges that face our border. We met with Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez of the U.S. Border Patrol, and learned that they had had 95,000 encounters with illegal immigrants just through the time of our visit; updated numbers for January 2023 revealed it got up to 156,000+ encounters. They are projecting another 500,000 encounters this year. Further, Chief Agent Chavez relayed concern about the 24,000+ unauthorized drones they have identified flying over the border region.

Dangerous illegal activity is flooding our southern border, which is the gateway to all of the United States. Not only are national security issues at play, but we also must be protecting our local communities from the dangerous scourge of smuggled drugs and human trafficking allowed by these porous borders and lack of regulation and control in the area. Enough fentanyl has been seized at the U.S. border so far to kill every man, woman and child in America. This is a staggering number and I’m glad that Governor Abbott has declared the fentanyl crisis one of his emergency priorities for the 88th Legislature.

To help support these goals, my office has filed two bills that will help municipalities protect our residents. HB 1581 will make the delivery of a controlled substance causing serious bodily injury a second degree felony, and the delivery of a controlled substance causing death a first degree felony. This would create a clearer path for prosecutors to press charges successfully when fentanyl is a factor in an injury or death.

HB2134 will help arm cities and counties with more options to help stop human trafficking, by providing more ways to regulate the massage parlors that are often a front for prostitution rings and sex trafficking operations. I’m pleased that Rep. Ben Bumgarner (HD-63) is joining me to author this bill to fight such a horrific criminal activity.

Please remember that my office in the Capitol is really your office. Along with my staff, I stand committed to help you in whatever way I can, and I encourage you to get in touch. You can find many resources at my website, krondafortexas.com, including contact information.

CTG Staff
CTG Staff
The Cross Timbers Gazette News Department

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