State police are making fewer arrests and traffic stops throughout Texas while they carry out a surge on the Texas-Mexico border, The Dallas Morning News reports.
Enhanced security along the border has also diminished the state police’s efforts in investigations started in areas beyond the border.
Lawmakers have acknowledged the lack of security outside of the “border surge” but argues that the department needs more funding to increase manpower.
Since the border surge, citations given in Texas have dropped by 14 percent, Department of Public Safety arrests have dropped by 12 percent and arrests made by the Texas Rangers have dropped by 25 percent.
“We’ve felt the impact when our troops cycle out,” Parker County Judge Mark Riley said. “Enforcement is obviously going to be down.”
DPS spokesman Tom Vinger said the agency is making an effort to lessen the side effects of the border surge.
“DPS has also acknowledged from the beginning of this state-directed operation that deployments … would come from personnel across the state and that we would work to minimize the impact to other areas or services,” he said in a statement.
Rep. Dennis Bonnen said, “The truth is the rest of Texas is just a tad bit less safe.”
Since the border surge, authorities have found a spike of drownings along the Rio Grande as immigrants are choosing more dangerous routes in crossing the South Texas border, U.S. News reports.
At least six bodies were discovered in the canals in January and February.
Mission Fire Chief Rene Lopez Jr. said, “It used to be one a month. Now it’s one a week.”
Swimmers often get caught in an invasive water plant called hydrilla or in debris like shopping carts and tires.
“They get tied down and it’s hard to get away from that in black water,” said Capt. Joel Dominguez. “And they are often panicking, running from agents.”
The border patrol has transferred more members from an elite rescue unit trained for swift water rescues to help with the issue.