The dumbest part of Texas' border "surge": There are no, none, zilch, zero viable metrics for measuring success. It's a truism in public policy of any sort that one cannot solve a problem one cannot measure. A Dec. 4 Austin Statesman story said DPS claimed this week that the surge worked because of increased illegal-immigrant apprehensions. but Rep. Donna Howard called them on this particular line of bullshit, pointing out “that officials also have claimed success when the number of apprehensions is down, which she said has been described as a sign of deterrence. That makes it difficult for lawmakers to figure out 'how much money to appropriate for this activity,'” she said. That's an understatement!
It's not that data-driven policy isn't possible. The McAllen Monitor recently offered thoughtful, incredibly detailed suggestions for fixing federal immigration courts
that made loads of sense. (Read them, a summary won't do them justice.) Problem is, at the federal level neither party is advocating an
approach that actually processes cases faster. These are good ideas, though,
showing the problems are not insoluble if politicians actually
wanted to resolve them.
Instead, the state plans to add 4,000 cameras along the border, another initiative that Grits considers a complete waste. There's little evidence cameras work even in crime-ridden inner-city hotspots, much less out in the boondocks along hundreds of miles of border. Then you have to pay people to watch them as well as waste manpower on responding to lots of false positives.
Finally, in a rare moment of (post-election) candor, DPS Col. Steve McCraw affirmed to the committee what anyone with access to Google already knew: That "there is 'no credible information that a terrorist has crossed or will cross' the Texas-Mexico border." I'd add one caveat: There's no evidence that terrorists are coming from Mexico to the United States to do harm. There's evidence that Texas prison gangs crossed the border south to work as soldiers in the Juarez cartel wars and may be responsible for hundreds or even thousands of murders there. Whether one considers them "terrorists" is a political and semantic question.
Otherwise, Greg Abbott, Dan Patrick and other state officials should adjust their rhetoric to reflect acknowledged reality from the state's top law enforcement official. Perhaps it would help to stand before a mirror each morning and recite McCraw's words aloud three times before the day begins - there is no credible information that a terrorist has crossed or will cross the Texas-Mexico border. (In particular, perhaps Breitbart Texas editors would benefit from such an exercise.) Barring that, I don't know what it will take to get Texas politicians to stop telling lies about border security threats.