February was an active month concerning many of our issues.
I attended the annual Prescribed Burning Alliance of Texas (PBAT) board of directors meeting in Fredericksburg. I’ll continue to serve as vice-president for one more year. PBAT’s goal is to continue to expand prescribed burning to mitigate wild fires and for land management of private and public lands, which STPRA advocates and supports.
The Rio Grande Border Patrol Sector held a “State of the Border” event in Mission to share the happenings in each of its nine stations within the sector. With the apprehension numbers up in the majority of the stations, the news was not reassuring on the border security front.
As more family units and unaccompanied minors cross the border and give themselves up, they are overloading Border Patrol agents who have to process them as they make claims for refugee status. Consequently, more and more illicit traffic (human and drug smuggling) continues to pass through undetected. Apprehension rates vary from 35-50 percent. We don’t know who is getting away or what their intentions are. What we do know is that transnational criminal organizations/drug cartels are operating within every major city in the United States.
Isn’t it time we speak out in one voice that Border Patrol and the Department of Homeland Security needs help…sooner rather than later? That is why our board decided to issue a policy statement and press release in mid-February that specifies our recommendations for comprehensively addressing the border security issue in the most practical and cost-effective way possible. Please see our news release and statement.
I had the opportunity to speak at the Freer Border Patrol community partnership meeting, to share the history of STPRA and our accomplishments on landowner liability and landowner compensation as it pertains to border security issues, and to share our updated “Border Security & Immigration Reform Statement”, referenced above.
The Texas Chagas Task Force has resumed its quarterly stakeholder meetings and STPRA continues to serve as a landowner stakeholder. Their most recent update included proposals recently submitted:
• TX Newborn screening for Chagas pilot, pending funding approval
• ECHO telehealth model for physicians to present case studies
• DOD proposal with UTEP and A&M to conduct human, animal and vector surveillance on Fort Hood, JBSA and Fort Bliss
• Creation of National Chagas Alliance
• Community Health Worker Curriculum is being developed by the Taskforce to serve as a national model curriculum
Your input and opinions are always important to us. We’d like to thank those who participated in last month’s survey. A large majority of respondents have indicated that in all categories we’ve been doing “very” or “extremely” well. We especially appreciate the comments that have been made on specific issues, which will help guide us on what can be improved upon in the future. See survey results.
Thank you for all that you do to help make this organization a success!
Until next month,