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October 28, 2008 (512) 463-0300

BORDER SECURITY SPENDING WORKING, SAYS OFFICIAL

(AUSTIN) -- More money for more personnel and equipment along the Texas-Mexico border is reducing illegal immigration and crime, according to Steve McCraw, the Texas Director for Homeland Security. McCraw testified Tuesday before a Senate Finance Committee meeting held to evaluate the effectiveness of budget expenditures aimed at border security.

The Legislature dedicated $110 million for border security issues last session, split between the Department of Public Safety, the Governor's Department of Emergency Management and local jurisdictions. The money goes for equipment, including two new helicopters, reimbursements for overtime pay for officers, and more employees for related agencies.

McCraw said this money has had a measurable effect on efforts to control crime and immigration along the border. State and local officials have seized tons of drugs and seized $55 million in cash illegally crossing the border. McCraw testified that illegal immigration into Texas is down 52.5 percent and serious crimes, like murder, robbery and rape, are down 65 percent in border regions.

The Senate Finance Committee is chaired by Senator Steve Ogden of Bryan and vice-chaired by Senator Judith Zaffirini of Laredo. It consists of Senators Tommy Williams, Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa, Bob Deuell, Eddie Lucio, Jr, Royce West, Troy Fraser, Kip Averitt, John Whitmire, Florence Shapiro, Jane Nelson, Kevin Eltife, Chris Harris and Robert Duncan.

Session video and all other webcast recordings can be accessed from the Senate website's audio and video archive pages.

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