Senator Lucio's Letterhead

CAPITOL UPDATE FROM SEN. EDDIE LUCIO, JR.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 15, 2008
CONTACT: Doris Sanchez , Press Secretary
Phone: (512) 463-0385

Sen. Lucio Announces IRT Hearing on Top Border Issues

Border Senators and Their Local Officials to Participate

AUSTIN, TX -- Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr. today announced he is holding a hearing of the Senate International Relations and Trade Committee (IRT) he chairs on Thursday, Sept. 18, and has invited the border Senators to participate.

At the hearing, which will be held in Austin, Room E1.016 of the Capitol Extension at 9 a.m., IRT will take testimony from state and locally elected officials invited by each of the border Senators from their districts.

The Committee will be taking testimony on the fifth Interim Charge that Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst provided, which directs the members to research and develop proposals that will help the border region fight the criminal element threatening the safety of its communities. Specifically, the Committee has been charged to "study and make recommendations to stem the tide of illegal immigration, drug trafficking and human smuggling, and to reduce the criminal activities within the border region."

Sen. Lucio, D-Brownsville, noted, "In order to comprehensively address this charge, I wholeheartedly believe that we need meaningful representation from law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and local elected officials from the immediate border. Their wealth of experience, expertise and knowledge of the needs of their communities is of utmost importance as we research this critical charge and develop substantive recommendations."

"Focusing on the safety of our border region is important not only for our families and visitors, but also for our state and nation," Sen. Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, said. "I urge anyone with expertise and/or interest in border security to join us at the Senate International Relations and Trade Committee hearing, either to listen and learn or to submit oral or written testimony.

"The five senators from the border are collaborating in this effort with Sen. Lucio, IRT chair, and invite our respective constituents to contact us for additional information," she added. "We unanimously oppose the federal government's fence along the border and will do anything within the power of the state to oppose it."

"I am fortunate to be working with Chairman Lucio on creating a forum for our Committee to hear first-hand from local leaders who respond each day to the challenges addressed in this charge," stated Sen. Carlos Uresti, D-San Antonio. "Three-fourths of the Texas-Mexico border is comprised of my senatorial district and these issues affect all of the 14 border counties. I am hopeful that the Legislature will afford these communities the attention and resources they deserve."

Sen. Eliot Shapleigh, D-El Paso, said, "Right now, our great state trades more with Mexico than all the European Union combined. Texas has most to gain from a comprehensive, fair immigration solution that addresses security, labor and prosperity, and most to lose from mean-spirited rhetoric tied to border walls and racism."

The following is contact information for the border Senators:

Senator Juan Hinojosa(512) 463-0120 - Juan.Hinojosa@senate.state.tx.us
Senator Eddie Lucio(512) 463-0385 - Eddie.Lucio@senate.state.tx.us
Senator Eliot Shapleigh(512) 463-0129 - Eliot.Shapleigh@senate.state.tx.us
Senator Carlos Uresti(512) 463-0119 - Carlos.Uresti@senate.state.tx.us
Senator Judith Zaffirini(512) 463-0121 - Judith.Zaffirini@senate.state.tx.us

Note: Staffer handling media for Sen. Hinojosa is Arturo Ballesteros - Arturo.Ballesteros@senate.state.tx.us.

In addition to Chairman Lucio and Sen. Uresti, the other appointed Committee members include Vice-Chairman Dan Patrick, R-Houston, and Senators Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, Troy Fraser, R-Horseshoe Bay, Mario Gallegos Jr., D-Houston, and Kel Seliger, R-Amarillo.

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