Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Melissa Ford Maldonado, and I am the policy director for Secure& Sovereign Texas, an initiative of the Texas Public Policy Foundation, a nonprofit and nonpartisan research institution based in Austin, Texas.

Much of my work focuses on the relationship between the U.S. and Mexico, and the center of that relationship, Texas and Mexico. Texas and Mexico not only share a heritage and culture, but also 1,200 miles of common border and a massively important trade alliance. However, this close relationship and proximity has left a door open for illegal activity from Mexico to harm the U.S., especially Texas.