State lawmakers set to tour border security operations - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

State lawmakers set to tour border security operations

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - State lawmakers are set to tour the border security operations in place by state agencies during a recent increase in immigrants crossing the Texas-Mexico border.

State Representative Bryan Hughes (R-Mineola) and others will head to the border Saturday to see how the Department of Public Safety is providing security on land, on the water and in the air.

"While the border patrol agents are tied up processing these thousands of children, the agents are not then on the border doing their job and that's allowing other things to come through," Rep. Hughes said.

The lawmakers will be heading to the region to see how the $1.3 million per week Governor Rick Perry allocated to DPS will be used to help secure the border.

"The thing about these border counties is their infrastructure," Hughes said. "There's not a place to put all these folks and especially the children, unaccompanied minors, there's no place to put them that's part of the reason folks are having to be shipped so far away."

Most of the immigrants are coming from Central America where either violence or economic conditions are forcing some to search for a better life.

Immigration attorney Tonda Curry said most of them are not criminals, but are simply searching for a better life than the one in their home country. She said the flood of immigrants that exists on the border is because there is not a legal way to enter this country like there was decades ago.

"There is no way to come legally," Curry said. "Unless you happen to have a very high level of education or if you already have a close family member here who can sponsor you."

And once a person is in the country, it could be a long legal process before they find out if they can stay in the United States or be sent back to the country they chose to leave.

"It's a lengthy process," Curry said. "In the meantime, the child is in limbo and probably in custody."

Curry said in Texas juvenile immigrants could be shipped several states away because the state does not have a federal juvenile immigrant facility.

Both Curry and Hughes agree the current situations on the border can be fixed temporarily, but legislation on the national level is the only option in seeing a permanent solution to border security and the immigration process.

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