OP-ED: Gonzales: 100 Days in Congress 

Last week marked my first 100 days in Congress. With six office locations opened, hundreds of casework applications processed and thousands of phone calls answered, I’m proud to say my staff and I have hit the ground running. 

It’s no easy task with a district that is larger than 30 U.S. states. Therefore, I am always on the move around our district. In order to create effective policies at the federal level, it’s crucial to hear directly from local leaders on how I can best serve our communities in Congress.

To that end, I have fought hard to make sure you have a strong voice in Washington. In January, I earned a coveted seat on the powerful House Appropriations Committee. This is a big win that will help bring more opportunities to our district. I was also selected as an assistant whip by our leadership and have strived to leverage these positions to put my constituents and our district on the map in Congress.

With that said, these first 100 days have also brought unique challenges. As a result of the Biden Administration’s open border policies, record numbers of migrants have crossed illegally in the past couple of months. This ongoing surge has been especially visible in our district, which spans more than 800 miles of the U.S.-Mexico border. 

As a father of six, it is deeply troubling to see a growing number of unaccompanied children making the dangerous trip north to our country. Many of them are exposed to severe risks on their journeys, guided by human smugglers that profit from their passage. Meanwhile, cartels have been taking advantage of our Border Patrol’s limited bandwidth, and this has led to an increase in drug and human trafficking.   

After leading two congressional delegations to the border, visiting multiple migrant facilities, and hearing directly from our law enforcement and border patrol agents on the ground, I have no doubt that we are experiencing a severe crisis. Our agents, officers, and sheriffs need help. They are on the front lines every day, working tirelessly to make the most of their limited resources. Our border communities and their leaders also need relief.

That is why my first bill, the Security First Act, focuses solely on increasing resources for local law enforcement who augment Border Patrol’s efforts. It does so by increasing funding for Operation Stonegarden — an essential grant program that provides critical resources to state and local law enforcement so they can supplement federal DHS agents with staffing and technology. It also urges a study on the need to hire more Border Patrol agents and designates the cartels as terrorist organizations.

While I believe in strong borders, I also believe in the American Dream and I understand that the American Dream doesn’t always start in America. A working, legal immigration system goes hand in hand with border security. Reforming and improving our immigration process will help prevent the unsustainable surges we are experiencing now. 

Looking forward, I will continue to fight for solutions and opportunities for our communities. I stay committed to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle on the district, state, and national level. Most importantly, I am here to serve you. If you ever need anything, please do not hesitate to contact my office.

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, a Republican, represents Texas’ Congressional District 23.