Photo: Texas Debating to Create Checkpoints
A few Texas legislators, troubled by the non-stopping illegal flow of weapons and money to Mexico have claimed to have a tentative solution.
They propose to create checkpoints at several southbound points leading to the border, so as to provide Texas law enforcement officials the opportunity to stop and search vehicles on their way to México for guns, cash or drugs they might be hiding.
“We need to be engaged in this issue,” said Sen. Eddie Lucio, D-Brownsville, who filed a bill petitioning for these southbound checkpoints, as has Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen.
“It’s going to take a strong effort on both ends to stop the violence,” Hinojosa said.
One bill seeks to create zones within one mile of the border where authorities could operate checkpoints. The other asks the Texas Department of Public Safety to consider if it is possible to establish southbound checkpoints. Neither proposal seeks to have vehicles traveling northbound checked.
These bills come after records indicated that a weapon, an AK-47 used in the terrorist ambush were US immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed, was purchased at a gun show in Fort Worth.
Several speakers strongly opposed these bills.
“While I do think it is important we stop this flow of guns and cash ... I think this is a federal job,” B.J. Lee, a retired environmental toxicologist from Austin, told the committee. “We [can’t] ... add additional costs to our state budget when we are cutting so many ... programs, like education.
“I don’t think this is a wise move.”
Randall Peterson, an Austin technician, claimed the bills were a clear violation of the Fourth Amendment.
“Impeding the flow of people’s business and private affairs ... is moving one step closer to” a police state, he said, holding up a red armband emblazoned with a black swastika. “We’re going in the wrong direction.”
Both proposals were left pending, after being heard by the Senate Transportation and Homeland Security Committee on Wednesday.