The Texas Senate passed a resolution Tuesday afternoon calling the “crisis at the Texas-Mexico International Border an emergency.” The resolution calls on Congress to take action and supports President Donald Trump’s recent emergency declaration.
The resolution, authored by Senator Paul Bettencourt (R-Houston), passed on a 19-12 party-line vote. Sens. Bettencourt, Birdwell, Buckingham, Campbell, Creighton, Fallon, Flores, Hall, Hancock, Huffman, Hughes, Kolkhorst, Nelson, Nichols, Paxton, Perry, Schwertner, Seliger, Taylor voted to pass the bill, according to official Texas Senate records obtained by Breitbart News. Senators Alvarado, Hinojosa, Johnson, Lucio, Menendez, Miles, Powell, Rodrıguez, Watson, West, Whitmire, Zaffirini voted no.
“I think that the resolution speaks to the fact that there is a crisis at the border. We have gone to a very good debate already about how we’re recognizing the humanitarian, the sex trafficking, the vulnerable populations, et cetera, and, and the reality is that when you have an unprecedented number of crossings of 100,000 in the month of March of 2019,” Senator Bettencourt said during debate on the Senate floor.
Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa (D-McAllen) offered an amendment to the bill, which the Senators adopted by voice vote. The amendment reads: “RESOLVED, That the Texas Senate requests the federal government cease separating families at the border as a means of deterring refugees, and to humanely process refugee and asylum seekers.” Other Democrat senators offered multiple resolutions that were not adopted.
Senator Royce West (D-Dallas) voiced his opposition to the bill but limited his objection to procedural issues. The senator said during debate:
I want to make certain that as part of my argument for this particular motion, I want to go back to Senator Watson’s comments about the bill, this document being, laying on our desk and then the rules being moved to suspend. Members, historically we’ve always dealt with transparency in this body. And from that vantage point, courtesy to one another as it relates to laying out bills, giving people opportunities to review it, view the bills before or resolutions before we pass them.
Many of the chairmen of the various, chairpersons, excuse me, of the various committees make certain that a bill lays out at least one meeting before we vote on it. This hit the desk, rules were suspended. This is a substantive resolution that should be debated in committee and if the result’s the same, the result’s the same. So, therefore, I would move pursuant to Rule 6.08 that this resolution be referred to committee, and I ask that it would be referred to the Veteran Affairs and Border Security Committee.
The Senate rejected the motion and moved forward to pass the resolution. West said Democrats would draft a letter on their own to send to the U.S. Congress.
Democrat senators complained that they had no advance warning of the resolution and no opportunity to work with its drafting, KVUE reported. Debate on the resolution lasted three hours with Democrat senators saying they were “ambushed.” Bettencourt responded to the Austin ABC affiliate that he only asked senators to be co-authors he knew would “quickly” sign on.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for the Breitbart Border team. He is an original member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX and Face
Texas Senate Resolution 535 Declaring a Border Emergency Crisis