Monday, March 22, 2010

Border pols to Governor: Tone down rhetoric, keep us in loop

Brandi Grissom and Juan Aguilar at the Texas Tribune report that:
Leaders from one end of the Texas-Mexico border to the other said Friday they want Gov. Rick Perry to tone down the scary rhetoric and to get real about solving problems in their hometowns. And, by the way, they would also like to be consulted about security plans that affect the communities where they live.
All I can say is, "It's about time." The Governor has been hyping "scary rhetoric" on the border for years - in 2006 it was his principal campaign theme. Parallel to this political positioning has been a series of bad security choices, from massive grants frittered away on patrol overtime to spending millions on the TDEX database and financing do-nothing "fusion centers." In all, the state wasted upwards of nine figures on the Governor's politically aimed border security programs - an investment for which the state has very little to show.

This was not done for the benefit of folks on the border, but to scare white voters elsewhere in the state with nativist rhetoric and symbolism, playing on culture-war themes as pretense for security and immigration policy. It also bought the Governor law enforcement allies from the border (Sheriffs receiving the grants) who were willing to say nice things about him in the media. But most folks from the region didn't benefit - especially in the urban areas where most people live.

Not only was Governor Perry's border-security money basically shoveled down a hole, the wasted dollars and years represent an even more significant opportunity cost, fiddling away time and resources on pork-barrel politics while a crisis mounted in Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, and Reynosa (sister cities across the river from El Paso, Laredo and McAllen). Given that record, the Governor must hope that voters confuse activity with achievement. To be fair, though: They probably will.


Anonymous said...

We all support the massive influx of illegal immigrants into Texas. We have no right to a border.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

10:31 - if you think Perry made the border safer, great. Many folks who live there disagree and think his rhetoric hasn't matched reality.

Anonymous said...

He may have made it safer than the feds whose responsibility it is to do. Course that's not going to happen either.

You're right 10:31. We have no right to a border and if we did, that it be secure. Comprehensive immigration reform up next.

Anonymous said... "fusion centers."

Now THAT'S an understatement!

Anonymous said...

Build a wall, build a fence, hell, build a mountain if you've got the time and money. If you were on the other side of the fence with unemployment over 30% and no real legal way to enter into the US, you would figure out a way to get here too. Building walls and sending troops wouldn't stop you. People even got through the Berlin wall and that one had machine guns. Until real immigration reform happens this problem will never go away. Perry is just pandering to the white bread to keep himself in office. If you can't convince them, confuse them!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, but where is all the money going to come from to pay for all of this? Looks like to me the US is headed to the same place Mexico is. BANKRUPT !!

Anonymous said...

Most "law and order" types -- and Governor Good Hair is in that crowd are more concerned with the symbolism than substance. Sort of like his claims of cost efficient government with surpluses during the primary -- only to learn that the state expects substantial deficits.

Maybe we will finally rid of this guy in the next election. If that happens, maybe we cn begin dealing with the problems this state faces based on evidence, research and substance. Ideologically driven symbolic policy designed to look good to a particular group of voters are cynical, manipulative, and counterproductive.