Governor Abbott, Congressman Cuellar Request Information On DHS Border Security Cuts

February 1, 2016 | Austin, Texas | Press Release

Governor Greg Abbott and Congressman Henry Cuellar (D-TX-28) today sent a letter to Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Jeh Johnson requesting detailed information on DHS’s decision to cut resources for aerial-based border security support in a program known as Operation Phalanx. DHS’s request for Aerial Detection, Situational Awareness and Monitoring Capability support for Operation Phalanx from the Department of Defense (DoD) for calendar year 2016 was 50 percent lower than that of recent years, despite Governor Abbott’s September 30, 2015 request for additional aerial observation resources along the Southern Border and Congress fully funding DoD support for Operation Phalanx in the recently passed omnibus appropriations bill.

“Given the recent surge of migrants from Central America and Cuba along the Southern Border, we believe DHS should be requesting more surveillance and security resources, not fewer,” Governor Abbott and Congressman Cuellar write in the letter. “Any decrease in aerial observation is not only imprudent, but contradicts the very mission of border security enforcement.”

Noting that DHS’s decision to decrease surveillance resources is unsettling, Governor Abbott and Congressman Cuellar requested the following information from DHS:

  • Metrics used to determine that a fifty percent reduction in aerial resources will sufficiently support Operation Phalanx
  • Detailed plans on how the cuts will impact staffing, resource allocation, and operation levels in Laredo, the Rio Grande Valley and Tucson.
  • What resources DHS plans to utilize to backfill any gaps this reduction presents.