Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo and the Houston Police Union President Joe Gamaldi are at odds about the southern border and its crisis impacting crime in Houston.
On Thursday, President Donald Trump continued his push to secure border funding in Texas.
Trump wants $5.7 billion to build the wall and tighten border security, which he says will reduce the crime rate.
“It’s certainly a crisis as far as law enforcement is concerned,” Gamaldi said.
Acevedo says the problem is not the border, and doesn’t think the money should be spent on a wall, but instead, funding should go to other parts of entry and new technology.
“What’s happening at the border is political theater,” Acevedo explained. “What’s happening in our communities, that’s what we need to focus on.”
As far as fighting crime, he doesn’t think Houston’s issue is coming from the south.
“The majority of gang members are homegrown, natural born, red blooded Americans,” Acevedo said. “They’re not undocumented gang members.”
Gamaldi disagrees. “We do have criminals crossing over, along with the good people looking for a better opportunity for their family,” he said. “We have criminals, MS-13 gang members. When they get across the border, the first thing they’re doing is heading for the big city, and they do come to Houston.”
As far as building a wall, Gamaldi believes it would help because he says officers are seeing the same suspects over and over.
“If we don’t secure our border and we put these people in jail, and they are deported, guess what? They come right back in,” Gamaldi said.
The Houston police leaders may not agree on calling the southern border a crisis, but each says more money needs to come to Houston to help combat its gang issue.