http://www.mysanantonio.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D8COP5F81.html Texas lawmakers ask Bush to declare border emergency 09/21/2005 By SUZANNE GAMBOA / Associated Press As the approach of Hurricane Rita sent Texas into emergency mode, several of the state's members in Congress declared an emergency for the border region because of illegal immigration. Nineteen Republicans and four Democrats notified President Bush in a letter they were declaring a state of emergency for the Texas-Mexico border because "illegal aliens, many of which are 'other than Mexicans' (OTMs), are crossing our border by the hundreds on a daily basis." The letter was written by Rep. Henry Bonilla, R-San Antonio, and sent late Tuesday. It was released publicly Wednesday morning as Texas coastal residents began fleeing to escape the expected wrath of Rita, which had intensified into a Category 4 storm and threatened the Texas coast. "U.S. Rep. Bonilla just feels it's something that has been in the works for a long time, and we are consistently trying to work on the situation down there. We obviously are not trying to take away attention from Hurricane Rita," Bonilla spokeswoman Taryn Fritz Walpole said. The declaration is "a symbolic state of emergency," Fritz Walpole said. Such a declaration could only be made by the governor or president. A declaration would mean more money for Texas for immigration purposes, she said. The governors of New Mexico and Arizona have declared emergencies in those states because of illegal immigration, in part to make state money available to pay overtime for law enforcement officials and other needs. Texas Gov. Rick Perry has not. Two Republicans in the Texas congressional delegation did not sign the letter: Reps. Ron Paul of Surfside and Joe Barton of Ennis. The state has 21 Republicans and 11 Democrats in the U.S. House. Democrats who signed the letter were Reps. Silvestre Reyes of El Paso; Solomon Ortiz of Corpus Christi; Henry Cuellar of San Antonio; and Ruben Hinojosa of Mercedes.