Gov. Perry Expresses Support for Omnibus Gang Bill
Additional funds needed to combat transnational gang threat
*Note - Gov. Perry frequently departs from prepared remarks.
Good morning and thank you all for being here today. I want to thank the leaders of Texas law enforcement that are with us today as we band together to take a stand in defense of our citizens.
Gentlemen, as we discussed last fall when I visited your departments, Texas has a growing problem with transnational gangs, that is spreading to our communities, posing a threat to our citizens that must be met head on.
I am here today to announce my support for the omnibus bill filed by Senator Carona, that provides some important tools for law enforcement personnel on the front lines of this conflict.
This legislation is an outgrowth of our efforts to secure the border, which have succeeded, first and foremost, because of our state's willingness to put more boots on the ground, and equip them to succeed.
Because we have made such strides in securing the border, and the Mexican government is turning up the heat on the cartels, they are relying on these gangs to do their dirty work with increasing frequency.
Operating in foreign countries and in our prisons, these gangs have been radiating outward into our towns, schools and neighborhoods, applying terror tactics to build their influence.
I agree it is time to act and believe we should devote the necessary resources, to properly address this gang threat head-on, in communities across the state.
No one has a better grasp of the situation on the ground than our law enforcement personnel: peace officers who patrol the neighborhoods, know the people, and tackle the challenges of law enforcement every day.
In my budget proposal, I have asked lawmakers to allocate $135 million to continue our efforts to secure the border and tackle the transnational gang problem.
These funds would pay for more officers, provide better integration of multi-force investigations and increase prosecutions of gang leaders.
These funds will also go to essential items like the collection, analysis and sharing of intelligence among local, state and federal agencies, improved equipment, and education programs designed to reduce gang recruitment.
I am encouraged by several key provisions of the legislation that Senator Carona is introducing.
In particular, I support criminalizing online recruitment for gangs, so our children aren't drawn into a life of crime while surfing the Internet. I also agree with allowing parents, communities and government entities to pursue civil suits against gangs and their members.
Today, we are sending a message to those ultra-violent gangs like the Mexican Mafia, the Texas Syndicate, Barrio Azteca and MS-13, to let them know that they are not welcome here in Texas, and we will do what it takes to drive them out of our state.
This fight will take time, resources and perseverance, but we are committed to keeping Texans safe, no matter what it takes.