Law enforcement surge coming to Valley


POSTED: Thursday, June 19, 2014 - 4:07pm

UPDATED: Friday, June 20, 2014 - 7:26am

State officials are bringing more law enforcement to the Rio Grande Valley.

Specifically, troopers from the Department of Public Safety. It's meant to help out the Border Patrol, whose agents have their hands full processing a record number of immigrants crossing the Rio Grande.

"The focus of the DPS Troopers is meant to be on public safety and border security. And fill in those gaps," State Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said. "The focus will not be on immigration and enforcing immigration laws."

State officials had made a similar effort last fall. DPS set up driver checkpoints around the Valley in hopes of cracking down on crime and uninsured drivers.

The previous surge lasted less than a month. It proved unpopular with many in the Valley, who worried about immigration checks.

Officials said then as they say now, immigration laws will not be enforced by anybody except Border Patrol.

"We're the eyes, we contact our federal partners, and we advise them, and they'll send a strike team and round them up," Hidalgo County interim Sheriff Eddie Guerra said.

The Sheriff's Office and other local agencies will be part of the effort. The plan is for the new surge will go on until the end of the year. It will cost the state $1.3 million per week and will come out of the DPS budget.

Although if the immigration spike slows down, the surge could be over relatively quickly; just as the previous surge was.

"To keep this type of surge 24/7, indefinitely, it's not sustainable," Hinojosa said.

The plan calls for monthly progress reports on the surge. And officials say there will be no checkpoints.

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