WASHINGTON — Border security continues to be a focus for Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples in his run for lieutenant governor. Now, he has taken that message straight to Washington, D.C.

Commissioner Staples spoke Monday to members of the U.S. House of Representatives and their staffs about the H-2B visa, designed to allow businesses to fill labor shortages. Staples wants reforms in the program, which he says is plagued with “bureaucratic red tape and antiquated quotas, and helps create an insecure border.”

He told the group that the guest worker process is to be blamed for the deaths of 591 individuals, from 2006 to 2011, in Texas counties along the border region.

“These individuals had a desire to better themselves, and in response to an under-populated U.S. labor market, literally risked life and limb to enter the United States,” Staples told the group, according to today’s news release from the Texas Department of Agriculture. “Nearly 600 died on their journey to what they hoped would be a better life.”

Commissioner Staples is about to release a book he wrote, “Broken Borders, Broken Promises: How Porous Borders Are Robbing America’s Future.” The commissioner is expected to appear on Capital Tonight later this week to talk more about his book and border security.

Staples is one of several Republican office holders who have indicated they are running for lieutenant governor, or have at least expressed interest. That list includes Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson and State Comptroller Susan Combs. Incumbent Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst has already indicated he plans to run for re-election.

Read Staples’ entire remarks here.