DEL RIO, TX – Texas Governor Greg Abbott's statements Thursday during a border summit in Del Rio make clear that Texas is alone in its fight against Mexican Cartels, smuggling, and crime, but will not back down. Check out reactions from the audience after the event here
The Border Crisis has reached levels never before seen with Texas taking the brunt of the damages. Abbott called the summit in Del Rio to ensure Texans everywhere that he is not laying down, that he is pursing every possible option to get the matter under control. By sitting down with the leaders of the the DPS, the Texas National Guard, and the Texas Division of Emergency Management, Abbott wished to show cooperation and resolve and unveil his new plan of action before the hundreds packed into the conventional hall opposite the Del Rio police station and judging by the applause he received from the crowd, they were not disappointed.
Abbott began the meeting by firing off against Federal leadership, specifically President Joe Bidden and his Border Patrol. “President Biden’s open-border policies have led to a humanitarian crisis at our southern border as record levels of illegal immigrants, drugs, and contraband pour into Texas,” said Abbott.
The Governor suggested that the President has intentionally held back Texas’ ability to defend its own borders by calling for the Border Patrol to take charge of illegals apprehended by DPS and local law enforcement and then release those same illegals back onto the streets. Abbot maintains that the Federal Government has been the problem throughout the this crisis and that Texas “must show [immigrants] this is not the red carpet the Federal administration set out for them.” Most cuttingly Abbott declared “My calls for the Federal Government to do its job and secure the border have gone unanswered.”
The number of illegal aliens that have made there way across the border this year announced by Abbott are staggering: 29,000 illegals apprehended last April as opposed to 196,000 this April; 39,000 last May to 197,000 this May; observe the CBP graph below keeping in mind that there are still months remaining in the 2021 fiscal year
With the Governer in Del Rio was Colonel Steven McCraw of the Texas Department of Public Safety to speak on his experience with Operation Lonestar, a joint initiative between the DPS and the Texas National Guard enacted by the Governor in March of this year. The operation represent the first major step taken by the Governor to take border control matters into the hands of the state in response to “Biden Administration policies that refuse to secure the border and invite illegal immigration,” per the March 1st press release which announced the new program. The operation “deploys air, ground, marine, and tactical border security assets to high threat areas to deny Mexican Cartels and other smugglers the ability to move drugs and people into Texas.” More than two months into the operation Col. McCraw shared his findings: the Mexican cartels are cementing their position along smuggling routes he says, they are recruiting American kids with promises of wealth via social media to be lookouts for police and aid in slowing down their pursuit.
McCraw shared footage of these type of posts from Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook and showed the audience what these recruits are doing to aid smuggling along the border in a dash cam footage from a DPS pursuit last week. The children, hiding behind trees and bushes, spring into action throwing lumber and metal along the road in front of the pursuing officers after the smugglers pass. Meanwhile more are hidden up the road closing and locking gates before the DPS can pass through forcing the officers out of their cars to remove the obstructions before continuing.
The smuggling vehicle, now out of sight, moves to make their “drop” of drugs before driving the car directly onto a homemade raft and floating back across the Rio Grande leaving the DPS with no recourse.
The Colonel also showed images of drug and weapon seizures the group of roughly 1,000 DPS agents dispatched by Operation Lonestar have made, these include machine guns, 50 caliber rifles, and enough of the opioid Fentynal to kill millions of Americans. Col. McCraw is happy Operation Lonestar has been able to make a difference but as Governor Abbott interjects “long term only Congress can secure our border, in the meantime we do what we can.”
The Governor announced major steps he will be taking to get the crisis under control moving forward. First, new and intense focus on arresting illegals and prosecuting them on state crimes such as trespassing, endangerment, smuggling, and theft to the fullest extent of the law. Abbott wants to de-incentivise border crossings by long stays in state jails rather than immediate deportation.
Second, the Governor announces he will be dedicating one billion dollars in state funds to the border in the new budget which he plans to finalize and sign in the coming days.
Third, Abbott is forming the Governor’s Task Force on Border and Homeland Security with will include representatives from several pertinent state agencies, including DPS, the Division of Emergency Management, and the Texas Military Department, to “ramp up coordination from state government and local communities. The task force will be meeting bi-weekly to discuss developments along the border and coordinate their response.
Fourth, the Governor announced he is committed to building a border wall across Texas with or without the Federal Government. He says the plan is currently being developed and he will announce said plan next week.
Fifth, the Governor declared that the State of Texas and the State of Arizona will invoke the Emergency Management Assistance Compact in which Governor Abbot and Arizona Governor Ducey request law enforcement officials and resources to assist in making arrests and jailing.
And Finally, expressing sympathy and concern for all those living along the border who have suffered damage to their property as a result of the surge in illegal immigration, the Governor has created resources in with which these people can upload images of their losses and the state will fight for compensation from the federal government on their behalf.
Governor Abbott showcased renewed resolve in fighting the border crisis with his long list of initiatives. He made clear that Texas can no longer wait on the Federal Administration to solve these problem and so decisive action must be taken at the state level. The Governor is willing to dedicate massive resources and personnel to the border while also taking steps to construct a wall barrier to aid with such issues moving forward. “A change is needed” was repeated by the Governor many times during the summit with banging fists. “This is an unprecedented crisis, and Texas is responding with the most robust and comprehensive border plan the nation has ever seen.”
Check out reactions from the audience after the event here