Border Crisis

Speaker Dade Phelan Tasks Texas House Committees With Border Disaster Issues

Less than 24 hours before Gov. Greg Abbott is scheduled to appear with former President Trump in a border security briefing and border wall tour, Speaker Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont) has published border-related interim charges for a dozen Texas House committees.

Phelan has ordered them to “monitor,” “examine,” “consider,” and “review” the impact that illegal immigration is having on the state as well as the state’s efforts to clamp down on illegal crossings.

Among other duties, Phelan has tasked the committees with taking a closer look at the fiscal impact of illegal immigration, studying the logistics of incarcerating additional prisoners in Texas jails and detention facilities, and carefully watching the homeland security aspect.

Committees will also be responsible for examining and monitoring the impact on the criminal justice system. For instance, the House Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee will “evaluate the preparedness of the court system” to handle an onslaught of cases arising from enforcement actions by state authorities.

Phelan tasked the House Defense and Veterans’ Affairs Committee with monitoring the Texas State Guard and the Texas National Guard.

On a financial note, the House Appropriations Committee will be responsible for researching whether federal COVID-19 relief dollars can be used to pay for the state’s response to the border crisis.

The 87th Texas legislature is currently not in session, but will convene in Austin for a special session on July 8. Gov. Greg Abbott has called the session, but the agenda for the session is still to be announced.

Abbott launched a statewide anti-illegal immigration effort in March called Operation Lone Star. Earlier this month, he started a state border wall project and created a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for it.

The following committees were given interim charges: Appropriations, Corrections, County Affairs, Defense & Veterans’ Affairs, Homeland Security & Public Safety, Human Services, International Relations & Economic Development, Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence, Juvenile Justice & Family Issues, Public Education, Public Health, and Transportation.

A copy of Phelan’s interim charges can be found below.

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