McALLEN, Texas (Border Report) — The Texas Legislature is adding a new Border Security Committee, and Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, a Democrat from the Rio Grande Valley border, is among the first lawmakers assigned to this new post.
Hinojosa confirmed with Border Report that he has been given this assignment. He said he spoke with Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Thursday morning and Hinojosa will begin studying all that this new committee entails.
Patrick announced the new committee during a Thursday morning breakfast event in Houston.
“With the influx of illegal immigrants and drugs across our border and our significant increase in funding and personnel to the border, today, I am announcing the creation of the Senate Committee on Border Security,” Patrick said in a statement.
“I have selected members with military experience for the committee since they have the experience and knowledge of operations, strategy, and tactics to best serve,” he said.
Hinojosa is a lawyer and retired Marine who served during the Vietnam War.
“Sen. Hinojosa volunteered for the U.S. Marines and is a Vietnam combat veteran. He is a Marine’s Marine and represents a large portion of our southern border,” Patrick said.
The new Border Security Committee will be chaired by Sen. Brian Birdwell, a Republican from Fort Worth. Sen. Bob Hall, a Republican from Rockwall, also has been assigned to the committee, Patrick announced.
Birdwell is a U.S. Army veteran who retired as a lieutenant colonel after 20 years service. Hall graduated from The Citadel and was a captain in the U.S. Air Force.
Border security issues previously fell under the purview of the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs and Border Security, which now will be renamed simply the Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs, he said.
“Public safety is government’s first responsibility and there is no greater threat to public safety in Texas right now than the failed, open-border policies of the Biden Administration,” Patrick said.
The new committee is tasked with overseeing funding and policies regarding border security “and ensure we are maximizing that effort,” Paxton said. The leaders will work with the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas National Guard and other state agencies.
The announcement comes on the same day that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is to host the attorneys general from 12 states, in addition to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, at a border security meeting Thursday in Weslaco, Texas.
The National Border Patrol Council this week endorsed Patrick, who has long taken a hard line against illegal immigration.
Billions of dollars were appropriated this last legislative session for border security, and millions have gone toward a state-funded border wall in rural Starr County outside the small town of La Grulla.
“Since the 84th Legislative Session, we have increased spending by several billion dollars to provide additional assets to secure our border including manpower, equipment, and even funding to build our own border wall,” he said.
Sandra Sanchez can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.