Border security

Texas urges Homeland Security to avoid cutting Border Patrol resources

Group suing federal government for failure to provide legal representation


Texas is pressing the Department of Homeland Security to provide a reason why the agency is going to reduce aerial surveillance on the Texas-Mexico border, a letter revealed Monday.

Gov. Greg Abbot and Democrat Rep. Henry Cuellar wrote in a joint letter to DHS chief Jeh Johnson that the projected cut to 3,850 hours of surveillance along the border in 2016 is going to amount to 50 percent less coverage than in previous years, according to the Texas Tribune.

The letter also reminded Johnson that Abbot had requested more resources for border agents but was ignored.

“Given the recent surge of migrants from Central American and Cuba along the southern border, we believe DHS should request more surveillance and security resources not fewer,” the pair wrote in the letter.

A spokesman for Homeland Security told the Texas Tribune the agency will respond directly to both Abbot and Cuellar.

The recent immigration surge has increased concerns along with border. U.S. Border Patrol agents reported from October to December of last year, 10,560 unaccompanied minors entered the state illegally through the Rio Grande Valley – an 115 percent increase over the same time in 2014, according to the paper.

The El Paso region also saw 1,030 unaccompanied minors cross over – an increase of about 300 percent.

For the first time, Abbot’s letter mentioned the increase into Cuban immigrants that have crossed into the U.S. illegally. The Texas Tribune reported that over the 2015 fiscal year, nearly 30,000 Cubans entered Texas through Border Patrol’s Laredo Field Office.

The recent warming of ties between the White House and Cuba has left Cubans fearing they will lose a special title that allows them to apply for a green card in the U.S. after living in the country for a year.

Cuellar and Republican Texas Sen. John Cornyn want to repeal that designation.

Click for more from The Texas Tribune.