Secretary of State Rex Tillerson preached the gospel of security through prosperity during remarks this afternoon at the University of Texas, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
Tillerson stopped in Austin on his way to a summit in Mexico City.
"When individuals are living in poverty, a life of crime can look like the only opportunity available," Tillerson said. "Immigration, legal and illegal, increases as people feel there is no other opportunity elsewhere."
Tillerson, who is a former oil executive, touted movements toward energy independence across the Western Hemisphere, and touted the region as the future major energy producer.
"Building greater prosperity by integrating the wealth of energy resources within the hemisphere is an opportunity that is unique in the world," he said. "By 2040, North America is expected to add more new oil production than the rest of the world combined."
"Our continent has become the energy force for this century, thanks in large part to rapid expansion in production of natural gas and tight oil."
Tillerson said the rest of the Western Hemisphere can learn from the energy renaissance underway in North America, but he says a handful of nations still have to shake off destructive dictatorships.
He singled out Venezuela, which has the largest energy reserves in the world, but is mired in poverty due to government ineptitude and mismanagement
."The corrupt and hostile regime of Nicholas Maduro in Venezuela clings to a false dream and antiquated vision for the region which has already failed its citizens," Tillerson said. "It does not represent the dreams of Venezuelans."Tillerson is a graduate of the University of Texas.