Friday, September 08, 2006

Gravy train continues for Operation Linebacker at the border

The pay grade for linebackers is high even outside the NFL.

Coupled with $9 million in state funds so far, a new $4.9 million grant from the feds brings the total for "Operation Linebacker" to nearly $14 million, split more or less equally among 16 counties in the Texas Border Sheriffs Coalition.

AP reported yesterday that border Sheriffs have stopped the practice Grits criticized earlier of making arrests at roadblocks based on immigration status:
Critics, including the American Civil Liberties Union in Texas and state Sen. Juan Hinojosa, D-McAllen, had raised concerns, saying the coalition was overstepping its authority by setting up roadblocks and detaining people who might be illegal immigrants.

But the coalition has stopped those practices, Hinojosa said. It is focused on targeting crime and supporting the U.S. Border Patrol.

See more about Hinojosa's concerns with Operation Linebacker and prior Grits posts on the topic. El Senador welcomed any new money for law enforcement, and I understand why, but for reasons explained in Border Economics 101, I think the focus on patroling the river between the checkpoints misses the big picture.

Most of the money so far has gone to pay for overtime and SUVs, while I've argued previously that new grant money for border law enforcement should be prioritized to bolster Internal Affairs divisions to reduce corruption.

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