According to the paper, "While the report gave more detail than has been publicly released about the claim often made by [Lt. Gov. Dan] Patrick and other state leaders that the deployment has reduced crime, it focused on illegal crossings and cartel activity in the operation zone, providing less detail about local crimes and leaving open the possibility that criminals have simply shifted their efforts elsewhere." The story noted dryly that "some experts have attributed [the reduction in illegal crossings] to other factors," which is a pretty dramatic understatement. The border was already the safest region in the state before DPS began any "surge" operations, which is probably why the agency didn't even attempt to claim it reduced crime in the area - any such claim would inevitably run afoul of contradictory Uniform Crime Report data in the medium to long term. We've been around this block many times.
The Texas Senate has proposed spending an astonishing $815 million over the next biennium on border security above and beyond regular DPS patrols in the area. That's an insanely large amount of money being funneled down a black hole. Grits has suggested the state could abolish the Driver Responsibility surcharge with a portion of that money and still spend well more than double what was budgeted last biennium on border security.
There's no public safety justification for spending that much at the border. Thumbing the state's collective nose at a president who will never again run for re-election just isn't worth that much scratch, and at root that's the only reason this is happening.
MORE: From Lisa Falkenberg at the Houston Chronicle:
Even the Legislative Budget Board, which is charged with making recommendations to lawmakers on spending, has acknowledged there's no way for it to measure progress toward the border security goal
A "law enforcement sensitive" report issued to lawmakers and obtained by the Chronicle on Tuesday offers little clarity, just page after page of anecdotes and unsubstantiated or ill-defined numbers. In it, DPS gives Operation Strong Safety II, as it is called, full credit for the dramatic reduction in last summer's border apprehensions, even though federal efforts to stem the tide of unaccompanied minors were well underway.
The one thing the report is clear about: The operation "does not secure the border." I think we knew that.