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Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick promises $800 million toward border security

FILE - In this June 13, 2013 file photo, US Border Patrol agent Jerry Conlin looks out over Tijuana, Mexico, by the old border wall along the US - Mexico border, where it ends at the base of a hill in San Diego. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull, File)

With the 2019 Texas legislative session underway, the budget will be front and center in many discussions.

"How can we put the taxpayers' dollars to use in a more prudent and fiscally responsible manner," said Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar ahead of the start of session earlier in the week.

The budget came up Thursday, when Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick met with President Trump in McAllen.

There, Patrick said he would reserve $800 million in the state budget for border security.

"Anyone who says we don't need a fence, or a wall, or a barrier, or more law enforcement, they're deceiving the American people," Patrick said.

Texas Civil Rights Project officials expected this, since in the last two sessions... the legislature agreed to spend $800 million each year for border security.

"We weren't surprised to hear this, but we are disappointed. It's been in the last two fiscal years that the state legislature has appropriated funds for border security out of state coffers, and they have nothing to show for it," said Texas Civil Rights Project Advocacy Director Zenen Perez.

According to figures from the Department of Homeland Security, apprehensions of undocumented immigrants at the Texas border are down by almost 50 percent since 2000.

The Texas Civil Rights Project believes the$ 800 million could be put to better use.

"Fixing some of the problems with school financing, fixing the backlog of rape kit testing that's happening all across the state. These are things that need resources, but unfortunately aren't getting funded," Perez said.

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