White says he “will get results on border security rather than just make speeches about it” and touts that he oversaw more law enforcement officers than any other Texas official when he served as mayor of Houston.
Echoing his opponent, White assures he will not “wait for Washington." He said he would immediately finance 1,250 state and local law enforcement officers for the border region with federal and state grants and monies seized through asset forfeiture. He acknowledges Perry has invested in overtime for local sheriffs’ departments but likens that to a failed attempt at a quick fix.
“Border security is a permanent issue not a temporary one. Perry has used federal and state funds to pay for overtime programs, but sheriff’s deputies funded by these programs are stretched thin,” he says.
He also takes a shot at Perry for sending used equipment to the border and spending millions earmarked for border security on other parts of the state. White points to a 2009 study by the state auditor to back up his claim that the governor used a portion of the $250 million meant to pay for border security “for unauthorized purposes.”
He also jabs at Perry for the governor’s border camera program that, as a Texas Tribune report revealed, netted only about two dozen arrests after expenditures totaling $4 million.
“A meaningful partnership means more than photo opportunities or expensive, ineffective programs,” White says in the statement.
White will officially unveil his border security plan in Austin, Houston and Hidalgo today, where he will be joined with El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles and Hidalgo Mayor John David Franz, who had traditionally supported Perry but announced publicly last month he was throwing his weight behind White. The mayor said Perry failed to meet with him to discuss a $5.8 million grant the city was denied.
“It was shocking to me that in five months I could not get an appointment with him,” Franz said.
White adds that because of his track record with law enforcement, he has earned the support of sheriffs responsible for protecting 98 percent of Texans living in border counties.
The Perry camp wasted little time in crafting its response to White's plan, which the campaign says is closer to what Perry has been doing all along. Below is a statement from campaign spokeswoman Catherine Frazier:
"It's nice to see Bill White finally realize we have a border that needs to be protected, but he has proposed nothing new here. No one can beat Gov. Perry when it comes to border issues; he has led the charge to fill the gap left by Washington and Texas' efforts have been successful. In fact the secure communities initiative mentioned in Bill White's plan was implemented by Texas before Houston. We're glad to see Bill White following Gov. Perry's lead."