Greg Abbott Issues Disaster Declaration Amid Immigration Crisis, Blasts Biden’s ‘Open-Border Policies’
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announces the reopening of more Texas businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic at a press conference at the Texas State Capitol in Austin on Monday, May 18, 2020. Abbott said that childcare facilities, youth camps, some professional sports, and bars may now begin to fully or partially reopen their facilities as outlined by regulations listed on the Open Texas website. (Lynda M. Gonzalez/The Dallas Morning News Pool)
Lynda M. Gonzalez/The Dallas Morning News Pool via Getty Images

Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced Tuesday that illegal immigration into his state had reached crisis levels and declared the situation at the border a “disaster.”

Abbott issued the disaster declaration on Monday, granting the state and local governments greater flexibility to use state and national resources to deal with the crisis. Abbott’s disaster declaration comes amid record levels of illegal immigration into the United States spurred by the election of President Joe Biden in November.

“President Biden’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers, and deadly drugs like fentanyl to pour into our communities,” Abbott said in a statement Tuesday. “Meanwhile, landowners along the border are seeing their property damaged and vandalized on a daily basis while the Biden Administration does nothing to protect them.”

“Texas continues to step up to confront the border crisis in the federal government’s absence, but more must be done,” he continued. “By declaring a state of disaster in these counties, Texas will have more resources and strategies at our disposal to protect landowners and enforce all federal and state laws to combat criminal activities stemming from the border crisis. Working together with local law enforcement, the state will continue to take robust and meaningful action to keep our communities safe.”

Abbot’s declaration rips Biden, blaming his administration for the border crisis and for endangering Texans and “causing a humanitarian crisis” at the border.

“[T]he Federal government used to take seriously its responsibility to enforce federal immigration laws and secure the international border, which allowed Texas to collaborate on law enforcement and related activities along the border,” the declaration says. “[U]nder the Biden administration, however, the federal government has shown unwillingness, ambivalence, or inability to enforce federal immigration laws, to deter and stop illegal border crossings into the United States, or to meaningfully partner with Texas in pursuing these goals.”

In March, the Department of Homeland Security acknowledged that illegal immigrations are surging across the United States’ southern border in “record numbers.” The Biden administration has continued to downplay the situation, however, refusing to call the wave of illegal immigrants crossing the border a “crisis.”

“The federal government is responding to the arrival of record numbers of individuals, including unaccompanied children, at the southwest border. Since April 2020, the number of encounters at the border has been rising due to ongoing violence, natural disasters, food insecurity, and poverty in the Northern Triangle countries of Central America,” DHS said at the time. “The federal government is working around the clock to move unaccompanied children from U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) care and to place them with a family member or sponsor until their immigration case is adjudicated.  The risks posed by the spread of COVID-19 have made this mission all the more difficult.”

The Biden administration officially ended former President Donald Trump’s “remain in Mexico” policy on Tuesday, though it had been effectively ended for some time. The Trump administration enacted the policy to keep immigrants applying for asylum in Mexico while they await their court hearing. Under Biden, asylum-seeking immigrants are released into the interior of the country to await their court date.

Biden has also cut back immigration enforcement. Last week, The Washington Post reported that the administration had “effectively abolished” Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s ability to arrest and deport illegal immigrants. The agency is averaging one arrest every two months.

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