EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – Saying immigration has become the top security concern in Texas, state Land Commissioner George P. Bush kicked off his “Secure the Border” tour Tuesday in El Paso.
“We’re covering roughly 1,277 miles from El Paso to Brownsville highlighting the efforts of law enforcement and exposing the weakness, unwillingness of the federal government to do its job and support these individuals who keep watch every day and make sure we remain a country of laws,” Bush said.
The land commissioner, who is running for state attorney general, met with Border Patrol union leaders and pledged continued support for Operation Lone Star, efforts to prosecute on state trespassing charges migrants coming across the border without authorization and construction of additional border wall.
“The numbers speak for themselves. This administration needs to have a sense of urgency and listen to law enforcement and follow their recommendations and that way we can stem this tide of illegal immigration,” Bush said.
The land commissioner said he would deploy state prosecutors to parts of the state overwhelmed by unauthorized migration, so more people answer to trespassing charges faster.
The grandson of former president George H.W. Bush, nephew of former president George W. Bush and son of former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush toured the border wall near the Paso del Norte Bridge in Downtown El Paso and across the state line in Sunland Park, New Mexico.
Border Patrol union officials described to him how the 18- to 30-foot wall slows groups of migrants and allows law enforcement to respond in time to apprehend most of them. Having a wall also allows the agency to deploy its agents farther apart and thus optimize its use of limited manpower.
Bush came to the border a day after the Biden administration restarted the Trump-era Migrant Protection Protocols program in El Paso and migrants here and in southwestern Arizona began to come across Mexico to surrender and apply for asylum.
“Every time I meet with Border Patrol, they tell me the ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy has to be reinstalled and also to construct (more) border wall,” he said.
Bush is the son of a legal immigrant – the former Columba Garnica Gallo of Guanajuato, Mexico – and says that inspires him to support those who come into the United States by lawful means.
“Every single day I encounter legal immigrants that have waited upwards of 10 years, yet we see a record surge of illegal immigration,” he said. “We believe in the Constitution where you are entitled to certain rights, but there’s a process that we should respect.”
As state attorney general, Bush said he will prosecute hate crimes and push the Legislature to further enhance sentences for perpetrators.
“I was the first statewide official to condemn the manifesto” of accused El Paso Walmart mass shooter Patrick Crusius, Bush said. “I would work with federal partners to sustain stronger sentencing guidelines, to build up case files, bring better criminal investigative capabilities through the state of Texas Attorney General’s Office and be able to hand a robust file to our U.S. attorneys so they can prosecute federal hate crimes.”