Governor Greg Abbott today held a press conference at the Anzalduas International Bridge in Mission on the State of Texas’ ongoing border security preparations ahead of the latest migrant caravans headed to the Texas-Mexico border. The press conference followed a border security briefing with Operation Lone Star officials and National Guard soldiers in Weslaco. The Governor was joined by Texas Division of Emergency Management (TDEM) Chief Nim Kidd, Texas National Guard Major General Ronald W. Burkett II, and Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Deputy Director Freeman Martin.
“The State of Texas has been working for the past month on preparations for the latest approaching caravans because the Biden Administration is failing to do its job of securing the nation’s borders,” said Governor Abbott. “We know elements of the caravans are disbanding to some extent, but smaller groups of migrants are still headed straight to our border crossings. The National Guard and DPS are conducting mass-migration rehearsals to implement flexible strategies to deter illegal crossings at any point along the border where they occur.”
“The National Guard practices mass-migration responses both with and without DPS and law enforcement to demonstrate we have those capabilities at any time, day or night,” said Maj. Gen. Burkett. “Engineers are also responsible for establishing additional barriers to deter illegal migrant events. Nearly 40 miles of standard fencing have been erected, as well as 18 miles of concertina wire along the border.”
“Never have we seen the cooperation and collaboration we have today with the state’s counterparts in Mexico, and that’s because of Governor Abbott’s efforts, including the memoranda of understanding he signed with the governors of Mexican states,” said Lt. Col. Martin. “We see the results of this border security agreement in the disbanding of larger caravans by law enforcement in Mexico before they reach our border. Still, the Biden Administration and their approach to not securing the border are exposing Americans today to dangers like deadly fentanyl.”
DPS noted that 2021 was a record-breaking year for fentanyl seizures. Between January and May 2022, the amount of fentanyl seized at the border by Texas law enforcement increased 58% from the same period last year. In addition to fentanyl, 50 individuals on the terrorist watchlist have been apprehended by the federal government at the southern border since October 2021, furthering the national security risk posed by the Biden Administration’s open border policies.
Governor Abbott has taken significant action to secure the border in the wake of the federal government’s inaction. Those actions include:
- Securing $4 billion in funding for Texas’ border security efforts
- Launching Operation Lone Star and deploying thousands of National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers
- Arresting and jailing illegal migrants trespassing or committing other state crimes in Texas
- Allocating resources that include acquiring 1,700 unused steel panels to build the border wall in Texas
- Signing a law to make it easier to prosecute smugglers bringing people into Texas
- Signing 15 laws cracking down on human trafficking in Texas
- Signing a law enhancing penalties for the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl
- Issuing a disaster declaration for the border crisis
- Issuing an executive order preventing non-governmental entities from transporting illegal immigrants
- Taking legal action to enforce the Remain in Mexico policy
- Taking aggressive action to secure the border as President Biden seeks to end Title 42 expulsions, including busing migrants to Washington, D.C.
- Signing memoranda of understanding between the State of Texas and the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to enhance border security measures that will prevent illegal immigration from Mexico to Texas
- Activating the Joint Border Security Operations Center (JBSOC) and directing the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Military Department, and Texas Division of Emergency Management to coordinate Texas’ response to secure the border