Texas Bolsters Border Patrol With Own Officers, Equipment

Along the Rio Grande, Texas game wardens and Texas Rangers patrol the border in their state with help from cameras and aircraft -- all of the manpower and equipment are provided by the state, not the federal government.

Along the Rio Grande in Texas, the suspected smugglers trying to slip into the United States have certainly noticed their adversaries on the water: burly commandos in black-and-white boats mounted with .30-caliber machine guns and bulletproof shields. The patches on the officers' camouflage fatigues identify them not as federal Border Patrol agents but as Texas game wardens, reports the New York Times.

A team of them — whose routine duties include investigating fishing tournament cheaters and making arrests for B.U.I., or boating under the influence — patrol the Rio Grande, pulling smuggling suspects from the river and dodging rocks thrown from the Mexican side. Members of the Texas Rangers have also traded in their familiar white cowboy hats for camouflage so they can blend into the brush on covert nighttime operations.

On the border, Texas uses helicopters with infrared technology. It monitors motion-detecting cameras it installed on private ranches. And rather than rely on federal high-altitude surveillance airplanes, Texas bought one of its own, for $7.4 million.

"There can be no national security without border security," said Lucy Nashed, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry. "And while Texas taxpayers should not have to bear the burden of fulfilling the federal government's responsibility to secure the border, we cannot wait for action while our border remains porous and communities are at risk."

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