Carine Martinez joined the Foundation in 2016 and is campaign director of Secure and Sovereign Texas and has been director of research and publications since 2021.
As campaign director, she oversees the Foundation’s initiative to look for additional and innovative policy solutions for the state of Texas to help secure its southern border.
As director of research and publications, she oversees and manages the publication schedules for all policy areas the Foundation is working on and is responsible for editing research publications.
Carine also conducted research on Texas–Mexico paradiplomacy, as well as, earlier on, on the effects on taxpayers and consumers of government programs that grant special privileges to certain businesses in the form of subsidies, tax credits, regulatory advantages, or other favors.
She is the co-editor of the Foundation’s Policymaker’s Guide to Corporate Welfare and is the author of several research publications, notably on film incentives, the hotel occupancy tax, and the three-tier system of alcohol distribution. She testified on these issues before the Texas Legislature during its 85th and 86th regular sessions. She was published in several newspapers including the Austin American-Statesman, The Hill, and Forbes.
Carine began working in public policy as a policy intern at the Foundation in 2014. She later worked as a policy analyst for Texas Action during the 84th Legislature and then spent a year in Washington, D.C., working as a research associate for the Charles Koch Institute.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in international business administration (completed in English, French, and Spanish) and a master’s degree in American studies from the Sorbonne in Paris, France.
Carine is originally from Paris, France, but happily moved to the United States in 2011 and finally to Texas in 2013. She became an American citizen in 2019.
Chairman Hunter and Members of the Committee:
My name is Carine Martinez, and I am the campaign director for Secure & Sovereign Frontier at the Texas Public Policy Foundation. Thank you for the opportunity to testify in support of SB 4.
As part of its to find state solutions to secure our southern border, much of our research focuses on our southern neighbor, Mexico, and the collusion that exists between the Mexican state and criminal cartels. Our findings are disheartening:
Collusion is widespread, with government officials at the highest levels openly fraternizing with the cartels. A former U.S. ambassador to Mexico estimated that up to 40% of the Mexican territory was now controlled by drug cartels. Cartels have “diversified” their business and taken on human smuggling as they charge thousands of dollars—often
depending on the origin of the migrant—per person they smuggle. The human smuggling “business” at our southern border is estimated to have grown into a billion-dollar business over the last decade.
Texas can ensure that any illicit human smuggling that Mexican cartels are bringing across the Texas–Mexico border is severely punished in Texas—whether it is undertaken by foreign operatives of drug cartels, or by Americans recruited by these cartels.
Our research on the scourge of human smuggling highlights the importance of Texas doing what it can to deter smugglers. According to the Department of Homeland Security, the percentage of illegal border crossers using a smuggler has steadily increased over the decades, reaching as high as 95% in 2006. As long as the southern border isn’t fully secure, the number of people who seek to enter our state with the help of a smuggler is likely to increase.
The cartels-turned-smugglers also do not stop at the Texas–Mexico border. Cartels actively recruit Americans, including teenagers, on social media to carry their smuggling business within the U.S. Finally, smuggling has negatively impacted not just the persons smuggled but also Texas communities, as the perpetrators of the offense often “bail out,”—that is, they rely on high-speed car chases to avoid being caught and often crash their cars in local communities if necessary to escape, leading to damage to private property and even the tragic death of local
For these reasons, SB 4 rightly seeks to deter this activity by increasing the existing penalties for the offenses of smuggling of persons and operating stash houses, including creating a 10-year mandatory minimum for certain conduct involving those offenses.
Thank you for your time, and I am happy to answer any questions you may have.