From the Office of State Senator Dan Patrick

For Immediate Release
January 22, 2007

Contact: Court Koenning (512) 463-0107 / (713) 876-4444


Looks forward to working with Valley members to craft "historic legislation"

AUSTIN -- Senator Dan Patrick (R-Houston) spent the last four days on a fact finding tour of the Texas Border as a guest of the Rio Grande Valley Chamber of Commerce, Senators Eddie Lucio and Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa along with Texas House members representing the Valley. During the trip, Patrick visited with members of the Border Patrol, several area Mayors, business leaders, school superintendents and concerned citizens.

"I'm coming away from this trip with great optimism we can find a solution to the issue of illegal immigration in a bi-partisan manner," said Patrick. "I believe there is a perception by conservatives in our big cities and suburbs that the people on the border are not as concerned about border security. I also think there is a perception by Texans on the border, where almost 90% of the population is Hispanic, that border control advocates are anti-Hispanic and want to kick out 12 million people or build a wall from Brownsville to El Paso," said Patrick. "I found Valley residents want a secure border as much as any Texan. The crime rate is up in the Valley and schools and hospitals are having to service non-citizens at great costs to local governments. They are also concerned about the negative economic impact if cross border commerce is disturbed," said Patrick.

"I explained to our friends on the border that most Texans understand we cannot bus millions back across the border but at the same time we cannot have millions more coming to our state and country. I believe we need fencing (walls) around our major entry points as well as a major boost in manpower to protect our border. We should begin to put into place a guest worker program that identifies who is coming to our country so we can stop drugs and criminals at the border and at the same time bring the workers to Texas that our economy needs. Everyone I talked to in law enforcement in the Valley told me they need more manpower and better equipment to protect our border," added Patrick.

To that end, today Senator Dan Patrick filed SB 268, which would place a fee on money wired out of Texas to any foreign country. The fee, 10% of the amount wired under $5,000, would be collected to provide funds for border security. While the bill was filed to just provide funds for border security, Senator Patrick looks forward to working with Senators Lucio and Hinojosa to expand the application of the funds to cover the costs associated with illegal immigration such as indigent health care and the strains on our education system.