Schaefer wants Texas to go on 'covert' missions inside Mexico

Published on Friday, 15 August 2014 15:50 - Written by Adam Russell, arussell@tylerpaper.com

An East Texas state legislator wants to go on the offensive and carry out “covert” and “overt” military-type operations inside Mexico to disrupt cartel operations and create a “buffer-zone” along the Rio Grande River. 

During a Grassroots America event today, State Rep. Matt Schaefer, R-Tyler, said the state would have to consider more aggressive options if the federal government does not begin to enforce immigration laws and begin working toward a reasonable solution along the border. Schaefer, a Naval Reserve lieutenant commander, said a state-authorized “security force” entering “ungoverned” areas along the Texas-Mexico border to engage in operations against cartels and human smugglers could be authorized.

“At what point do we use state enforcement assets to interdict these operations,” he said. “It’s about making the cost of doing business (for cartels) go up.”

Schaefer said Texas should also ignore the Federal Aviation Administration’s ban on using unmanned drones for reconnaissance and patrolling. He said state leaders should consider missions across the border for both intelligence gathering and engaging smugglers.

The representative also dismissed the “myth” that more than 1,000 Texas Guard troops would not have the authority to stop and detain people who cross the border illegally. Schaefer said Texas Government Code allows guardsmen to assist federal and state law enforcement but also enforce federal immigration laws by “executing law as the public interest or safety requires.”

But during a Texas House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety meeting earlier this month covered by the Texas Tribune, Adj. Gen. John Nichols, who is in charge of the surge, said troops would assist law enforcement rather than act as a security force along the border.

“My command to my folks is, avoid confrontation,” he said. “Our rules of engagement are really rules of nonengagement.”

Schaefer said it's within the legal framework for Perry to order a more aggressive stance by Texas Guard troops.