The Great Migration: Californian Cops Flock to Texas Amid Political Shifts, and Texans Fear a Consequential Shift in Their Own Political Landscape 

The Great Migration: Californian Cops Flock to Texas Amid Political Shifts, and Texans Fear a Consequential Shift in Their Own Political Landscape 

In recent years, a notable migration trend has emerged, and it is one not of families seeking warmer climates. In significant numbers, law enforcement officers have been departing the golden shores of California for the Lone Star State of Texas. 

What motivates their exodus? California’s ideologies on crime and governance are the top culprits. Long known for its progressive policies, California has faced criticism from law enforcement officers who believe the state’s approach to crime has become too permissive. 

In contrast, to outsiders, Texas appears to be positioned as a bastion of conservative values and tough stances on law and order— an appealing alternative for Californian cops who are disenchanted as lenient crime policies. 

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) seized the opportunity and has extended a warm welcome to the officers.

“Hundreds of cops flee California to Texas blaming [California’s] soft on crime policies,” Abbott posted on X on May 12. “Welcome to Texas. We support our law enforcement officers [and] demand law and order.”

“Never forget the leftist policies that you fled and always vote the right way,” Abbott said, cautioning the relocators about voting for progressive policies in Texas, which created the problems they escaped from.”

Abbott then vowed to protect Texas’ status as a law and order state.

“There’s no doubt about it: Texas is, and always will be, a law and order state,” Abbott posted May 13 on X. “We won’t allow lawlessness to take over our streets. As long as I am Governor, Texas will always back the blue.”

Abbott’s words of caution mirror the concerns of many native Texans, who fear that the decades-long mass migration of Californians to Texas will change the political landscape of the Lone Star State. 

Within the past decade, over a million Californians have relocated to Texas, including 107 thousand in 2021 and 102 thousand in 2022, according to the most recent data. The true numbers might be slightly higher, as these figures only account for those who have officially changed residences and may not include unregistered residents.

As of right now, there is no concrete evidence of how many Californian cops have relocated to Texas, although a Daily Mail report suggested that many of the officers have moved to the Dallas / Fort Worth area. 

One former detective of a multi-agency gang unit in Fresno, California, left his state to work for the Denton Police Department in Texas in 2022. In an interview with Daily Mail, he provided key insights.

The officer, Even Leona, 38, told Daily Mail that he had “met more than a hundred officers’ in the Dallas / Fort Worth area” who had relocated from California.

“There are five officers who have come from various agencies in California on my shift alone in Denton. The justice system just works a lot better here,” he said.

Some 5 thousand police officers have left their posts in California since 2019, and according to Leona, the majority are headed to Texas, with others finding work in Montana and Arizona.

Further, a crisis of police officer staffing shortages has permeated many departments across California. According to a January report by the Public Policy Institute of California, the number of police employed throughout the state has steeply declined over the past several decades since its peak in 2008.

Some 3,600 sworn officers fled their positions between 2020 and 2022, and “the number of patrol officers per 100,000 is at its lowest point since at least 1991,” the report stated.

This trend poses a serious threat to already crime-ridden Californian cities, which are increasingly unprotected.

One former Santa Monica College Police Captain, who retired to Hewitt, Texas, spoke to Daily Mail about the difficulty the state faces in recruiting and retaining officers when they’re met with hostility and limited support.

“When you’re getting beaten up constantly, your cost of living is getting worse and you’re dealing with all this political stuff, it is overwhelming,” he said to Daily Mail.

Many law enforcement officials in California blame progressive legislation like Proposition 47 and 57 for “turning prisons into revolving doors and putting their lives at risk.”

Passed in 2014, the notorious Prop. 47 reclassified certain nonviolent offenses from felonies to misdemeanors, rendering them unarrestable crimes. These crimes include shoplifting, grand theft, receiving stolen property, forgery, fraud, writing bad checks and personal use of drugs.

California Prop. 57, passed in 2016, allowed early parole consideration for nonviolent felons, altered policies on juvenile prosecution and created “sentence credits” for rehabilitation, good behavior and education.

Both propositions aimed to reduce the overcrowded prison populations in the golden state, perpetuating a cliche tactic among progressive ideologists: reduce crime by being more relaxed on crime policies. 

Consequently, crime of nearly every kind is significantly up in California. A 2022 report by the California Department of Justice revealed that the state’s violent crime rate has increased by 6.1% since 2021, and property crime was up by 6.2%. Homicides had dipped very slightly, but robberies jumped by 10.2%.

Naturally, this unfavorable data was addressed by the state’s Attorney General Rob Bonta very quietly, right before the 2022 Fourth of July holiday weekend, as to minimize its media coverage. 

However subtle the release, Californians have perceived the upswing in most kinds of crime, and state residents are worried.

In a poll by the Public Policy Institute of California, “Californians’ perception of crime spiked during the pandemic – as did certain types of crime.”

“Nearly two in three Californians call violence and street crime in their local community a problem. This includes 31% who call them a big problem, a noticeable increase from February 2020 (24%).”

Further, the poll examined racial, sex and ethnic group perceptions of crime and found that the most concerned demographic about crime are Black Californians, women and Republicans. 

Texans, wary of the influx of Californian transplants, fear that the arrival of these new residents may reshape the state’s political dynamics and change its electoral outcomes.

The implications of this migration extend far beyond the realm of law enforcement, raising questions about the future direction of Texas politics and identity.

However, the California effect on Texas politics may not actually unfold the way that native Texans fear. Recent data, albeit limited, suggests that Californians relocating to Texas are largely conservative and Republican and are seeking out refuge in a state that better represents their values.

A winter 2020 poll by the Berkeley Institute of Governmental Studies found that “Politicians in high-tax states claim that taxes don’t drive people out, but their constituents disagree: in the Berkeley poll, 58 percent of those considering leaving California said that high taxes were one reason—second only to the 71 percent pointing to the state’s astronomical housing costs. Also high on the list of reasons to go was the state’s political culture, which nearly half of those thinking of getting out cited as a consideration,” City Journal summarized.

“What set the Berkeley poll apart is that it also asked residents their party affiliation and how they characterized themselves politically revealing a sharp divide. Conservatives and moderates are the most unhappy with the state and most anxious to leave. Liberals, by contrast, are mostly staying put, and some think life in California is just great. Only 38 percent of Democrats said that they were considering leaving, compared with 55 percent of independents and 71 percent of Republicans.”

Further, less than 40 percent of “somewhat liberal” Californians reported as considering leaving, while 68 percent of “somewhat conservative” and 74 percent of “very conservative” individuals said that they wanted to leave the state, the poll reported.

Matt Rinaldi, a former state representative and the current chairman of the Republican Party of Texas, told LA Times, “The Californians and other outsiders moving to Texas are the ones keeping Texas red. “I’ll get a lot of emails from people who will say, ‘I’m from California and I’m thinking of moving. What’s a good district where I’ll have good representation?’ They’re actually shopping.”

In an interview with Texas Scorecard, one lifelong Californian and recent Texas immigrant said that while right-wing Californians may flee the state due to harmful policies “such as suffocating taxes, ‘defund the police’ campaigns, lawless public homeless camps, legalized smash-and-grab robberies, pornographic and racist curriculum in schools, and forced vaccinations—Texas’ officials have also created a mess for citizens here.”

“Texas is famous for having no income tax, but what newly arrived Californians realize in the first 12 months of being here are the property taxes—they’re incredibly high,” he said. “In some ways, we’re a little disappointed in Texas. It has not turned out to be the conservative bedrock place we thought it would be.”

He cited the corruption among elected Texas officials such as Speaker of the House Dade Phelan (R) and Abbott, “who have repeatedly refused to enact Republican priorities into state law,” as reasons for the disappointment of newly arrived conservative Californians.

“Speaker Phelan seems to be worse than a RHINO. It’s hard to figure out; there seem to be a lot of people elected as Republicans who are not really Republicans,” the informant, who wished to remain anonymous, said. “I wouldn’t even call them RINOs. I would say they’re Democrats in every way, but they’ve calculated out the [re-election] numbers and figured they’ve got to call themselves Republican.”

“You know, when you’re outside the state looking in, the image of Texas is conservative, law and order, a state that doesn’t have time for political correctness, and where our governor basically might as well be [Florida Gov.] Ron DeSantis. Well, that’s not the truth,” he said. “Texas is turning our own citizens blue.”

Ironically, Abbott was the author of the X post welcoming Californian cops to Texas while urging them to vote against progressive policies here. Perhaps Texas is turning Texas blue.

Support Christian Journalism

Freedom ​is Not Free! Free Speech is essential to a functioning Republic. The assault on honest, Christian Journalism and Media has taken a devastating toll over the last two years. Many Christian media outlets have not survived.

It is through your Generosity and Support that we are able to promote Free Speech and Safeguard our Freedoms and Liberties throughout our Communities and the Nation. Without your donations, we cannot continue to publish articles written through a Biblical worldview.

Please consider donating or subscribing today. A donation of any size makes a Big Difference. Thank you for your Support!

Katy and Fort Bend Christian Magazines

Katy and Fort Bend Christian Magazines have over fifteen years of experience in getting Christian-centered messages out to the Greater Houston area and national communities on issues of significant sociocultural and economic interest and represent the only suite of family-oriented publications of its kind in the Houston metropolitan region. As a gold standard in parachurch publications, Katy and Fort Bend Christian Magazines pride themselves on the values of enterprise, family, and truthfulness, and have helped foster a culture of fearless honesty, rigor of business and industry, and interconnected networking among the readership.