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Round ’em up, and move ’em out… Operation Wrangler

25 January 2007

 File this under “one not so great idea deserves another”…

 

Operation Linebacker, which has created as many problems for law enforcement along the border as it’s solved (I wrote a long piece about the financial headaches thowing state funding at border sheriffs was causing for the October 2006 Big Bend Gazette – downloadable in a PDF file), has been expanded.

 

Operation Wrangler” is the latest incaration of what’s becoming a habit of doling out big bucks (in this case, 20 million of them) to local law enforcement officials In my Gazette article, I quoted several rural sheriffs who faced the problem of too much money with no guarantee that they would be able to afford the investment if the state changed their minds (assuming a state run by a governor who thinks Ted Nugent’s dissing of blacks, non-English speakers, and every sane human being – has a mind in the first place). We’re some of the poorest counties in the country, and, as one Sheriff told me, his country couldn’t even afford to pay the unemployment insurance on a deputy he could add under Operation Linebacker, but might have to lay off when the politically-motivated windfall ended. Our local sheriffs ain’t dumb.

 

I’m happy our local sheriff got some new trucks … and so did our local Emergency Services Coordinator (or, rather, he was able to replace the jeep with no floorboards with a suplused pickup truck), and it’s nice we can pay the deputies for all that overtime, but how much that does towards making the border “safer” is an open question.

 

If that’s even the point. “Grits for Breakfast,” which tries to do justice to the weird vaguries of Texas legal issues, reports that everybody wants to get in on the act.  The creative folks up in Texarkana are looking for their piece of the pie.  [Insert your joke about protecting the border from inbed Arkansas hillbillies here.]  

 

As part of “Operation Wrangler” (as South Texas Chisme notes, there’s something not right about a state where football is the state religion changing from “Linebacker” to a word used to describe corralling animals), another 600 National Guardsmen and women are NOT going home.

 

Which makes me wonder what’s the point of all this… the reimbursements for “housing” federal prisoners (mostly people waiting to be deported) are pretty important for the county budget. And we have a nice jail, as jails go. It’s a new facility, and even architecturally pleasant. I’m speaking as an outsider, not particularly recommending one spend time as a “guest” of course.

 

Jail funds are well spent, but not a profit center. (and a nice jail it is, as jails go. I’m speaking as an observer, not a guest) And it’s a public facility. Private jails (which aren’t nearly as well-maintained – or so nice to look at) are big business in Texas. Militarized police agencies are another growth industry. Corrections Corporation of America’s concentration camp is turing a tidy return for it’s stockholders. 

 

At least they’ve stopped pretending they’re looking for “terrorists” and now claim they’re stopping “drugs”. Nah… they’re annoying the citizens and making a profit for their friends… and getting Gov. “Goodhair’s” name in the right (wing) media.  God forbid state funds be used for anything like hospitals or clinics down here… that’s not what state funds are for, is it? 

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