EL PASO, Texas (Border Report) – A West Texas congressman wants to send more money to local law enforcement agencies whose communities are dealing with the collateral effects of unauthorized migration.

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas, on Wednesday introduced the Border Operations Strengthened by Stonegarden (BOSS) Act. The bill would double funding to $180 million for Operation Stonegarden – which funnels federal grants to local police assisting U.S. Customs and Border Protection. At least $60 million would be used to upgrade technology and communications systems.

“Operation Stonegarden is a lifeline for our Border Patrol who rely on local law enforcement and sheriffs to support their efforts at our southern border,” Gonzales said. “Despite the historic spike and traffic at the border, funding levels for Operation Stonegarden – a crucial program for our Border Patrol – have not increased since 2019.”

El Paso County, the City of El Paso and numerous suburban police departments in Far West Texas have applied for and received Operation Stonegarden funding for the past several years.

U.S. Rep. Tony Gonzales, R-Texas

Gonzales said the southwest border, which in the calendar year 2021 saw more than 2 million unauthorized migrants come across, “is on fire” and called for an all-hands-on-deck approach that includes assistance from local enforcement.

The bill comes a week after Gonzales and 80 other House Republicans demanded to know from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Director Tae Johnson why the administration is releasing thousands of migrants from custody, a practice he called “catch and release.”

The letter came in response to a Department of Homeland Security report that 47,705 migrants released from ICE custody with the promise of reporting their whereabouts as needed failed to honor their Notice to Report between March and August of 2021.

We have expressed concerns, many times and in various ways, with how the Biden Administration has handled their self-inflicted crisis at the border,” said the letter. “In the report submitted by DHS, over 270,000 illegal aliens were disseminated into the United States with over 100,000 aliens being released with a Notice to Report (NTR) from March 21, 2021, to August 31, 2021. Over half of those given a 60-day NTR have failed to report to ICE and begin their deportation proceedings.”