The state's Republican leadership has authorized the Texas Department of Public Safety to spend about $1.3 million per week to fund operations to fight what they describe as a surge of illegal immigration along the Texas-Mexico border, the GOP leaders announced Wednesday evening.
Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and House Speaker Joe Straus said in a joint statement that spending on the "law enforcement surge operations" comes as the result of "the absence of adequate resources to secure the border." The surge would continue until year's end.
Last week, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott asked the U.S. Homeland Security Department for $30 million so Texas could send more state troopers to the border.
"Texas can't afford to wait for Washington to act on this crisis, and we will not sit idly by while the safety and security of our citizens are threatened," Perry said in the statement.
The statement offered no specifics on where the money would come from or what it would cover. Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed referred inquiries to the DPS, which did not immediately return messages left by The Associated Press.
However, in a letter to DPS Director Steven McCraw, the Republican leaders directed McCraw's department to devise and execute the planned surge. Perry, Dewhurst and Straus promised to do what they could, as co-chairs of the Legislative Budget Board, to find the money needed.
"The cost for this operation will need to be addressed by the next Legislature in the supplemental appropriations bill," their letter said. The next regular session of the Legislature opens in January.
Thousands of unaccompanied minors from Central America -- estimated at more than 47,000 so far this budget year -- have been entering the United States in recent months. In their statement, Perry, Dewhurst and Straus again blamed the surge in illegal immigration on a failure by the federal government to seal the border.
Abbott, the Republican nominee to succeed Perry as governor, said in a separate statement that "Texas is stepping up and doing what the federal government has failed to do -- secure the porous border."