Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott said late Thursday that he is considering building a barrier along the state’s border with Mexico because the Biden administration has largely ignored the ongoing immigration crisis.
Speaking to Breitbart Texas ahead of a summit on immigration and border policy, Abbott suggested that the Biden administration is abrogating its duty to the state of Texas by failing to appropriately address the record numbers of child migrants, asylum seekers, and illegal immigrants being apprehended along the United States’ southern border.
“The influx across the border is out of control, and the Biden Administration has shown that is not going to step up and do its job,” Abbott said. “And amidst reports of even more people coming in across the border, we know we have to step up and do more.”
Abbott noted that if the Biden administration will not enforce its message that the borders are not open then the state of Texas will.
“What people have seen in videos across the country seems to be the Biden Administration welcoming these people to the United States. We won’t be sending that message,” Abbott told Breitbart in an interview. “If you come to Texas, you’re subject to being arrested. You’re not going to have a pathway to roam the country. You’re going to have a pathway directly into a jail cell.”
The border barriers Abbott plans to erect serve a double purpose. They are physical deterrents, Abbott said, but they also allow Texas to take a more active role in border enforcement, something that states are generally prevented from doing through the separation of powers, which leaves the job of protecting the country’s borders largely to the federal government.
“A 2010 Supreme Court case involving an Arizona law limits what states can do in the field of immigration. They cannot make illegal presence itself a crime, though state police-power laws were upheld,” the Washington Times explained.
But, if immigrants “move or interfere with that barrier, they have committed several crimes” on a state level Abbott noted in the interview, giving Texas the right to arrest illegal immigrants not for immigration violations but for “criminal mischief, criminal trespass, and vandalism of state or local government property.”
“Something that may be a Class B misdemeanor right now turned into a class A misdemeanor,” Abbott added, noting his own “State of Emergency” declaration related to immigration allows Texas to hike some applicable criminal penalties. “That means up to 180 days in jail…there’s even potential for state jail felonies for some of these crimes.”
Abbott told Breitbart that he plans on instructing law enforcement to be aggressive.
We want to be very aggressive in working with local officials and begin making mass arrests,” Abbott said. “In working in collaboration with a large number of counties — that means we’re going to be arresting a lot more people.”
The Biden administration has fallen under increasing scrutiny for its border policies, particularly this week. Vice President Kamala Harris has been touring Northern Triangle countries, discussing the “root causes” of migration to the United States-Mexican border, but appears to have made little progress in handling the problem.