A group of Republicans from Texas is pushing for the federal government to reimburse states and border communities that are spending billions of dollars to secure the southwest U.S. border that they say President Biden has ignored for the last two years.
These lawmakers introduced two bills this week that would let border states and border towns recoup some of the local funding they’ve spent on border security – a step they say is increasingly necessary in light of Biden’s “failures” to increase border security.
The first bill, from Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, would require the federal government to pay back any state that has spent more than $2.5 billion on border security over the last decade. Crenshaw’s bill says that Texas qualifies, as it has spent more than $3.2 billion on the border since the 2008-2009 state budget was passed.
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“Citizens of border States are being taxed twice for the same purpose,” Crenshaw’s bill says. “States using their taxpayer dollars and allocating State budgets to meet public safety obligations, which fall under Federal responsibilities, imposes an undue burden on the State.”
The bill said that reimbursement is needed due to the “failures of the federal government.”
A second bill from Rep. Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, would create a grant program that the Department of Homeland Security could use to pay back communities that are overspending, to make up for the federal government’s failure to secure the border.
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“For the past two years, the Biden administration’s failed border policies have left our border communities on their own to deal with the influx of illegal immigrants crossing our southern border,” Jackson said. “Drug dealers, human traffickers, and cartel members are marching through these communities and devastating everything in their path, yet Biden is still silent.”
“Our border communities should not be paying for Biden’s America-last agenda,” he added.
Jackson’s bill would create a total grant pool of $25 million per year for the next decade and would let DHS distribute that money to border communities as needed. No community could receive more than $500,000 per year.
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Under Jackson’s bill, grants would have to go to communities that are within 200 miles of the U.S.-Mexico land border, and sanctuary jurisdictions that protect illegal aliens from prosecution would be ineligible for the funding.
Both lawmakers sponsored both bills, and several Texas Republicans are cosponsors of the two measures.
The legislation was introduced in the wake of several moves by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott to pressure Biden to pay attention to the growing border crisis. Abbott announced a state-wide border czar this week and has said that he supports efforts in Congress to impeach Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas for ignoring his duty to secure the border.