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Texas

Border Security Bill Divides Texas Senators Along Party Lines

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flickr.com/xomiele
The Texas Senate passed a bill on May 6, 2015 that would create an inter-state southern border compact to secure the border.

On Wednesday, Texas Senators passed a bill (SB 1252) that would create an inter-state southern border compact — a group of states that would share resources to secure the U.S.-Mexico border, according to the bill.

It didn't pass, however, before Democrats and Republicans brought up their differences on the need for border security. 

State Sen. Bob Hall (R-Edgewood) says the bill’s about making Texas and other states safer.

"As state officials it is our oath-bound duty to protect the life, liberty and property of Texas citizens," he said. "We must act."

Hall says both political parties in Washington have failed Texas when it comes to securing the border, so he says Texas should form a compact with at least one other state, which would need approval from the U.S. Congress, and then the compact could enforce federal laws. Exactly which laws, though, remained unclear during Wednesday’s debate.

"This is not about enforcing immigration laws," Hall said. "This is about enforcing any federal law or any law that the state needs to enforce in order to address the criminal problem."

State Sen. Jose Rodriguez (D-El Paso) took issue with the ambiguities in the bill, especially how much it would cost Texas.

"You’re saying whatever needs to be done will be done, whatever amount of money will have to be spent," he said, bringing up expenses like the training of local law enforcement and potential lawsuits.

Hall, however, said the bill just gives the governor another tool to secure the border. It still needs final approval before it goes to the House. 

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