With estimates of the number of illegal immigrants ready to flood into Texas ranging from 60,000 to 400,000, state officials are gearing up to meet the onslaught on the assumption that the Biden administration’s response will be feeble at best.
Last month, what Texas officials estimate was a mass of more than 17,000 illegal immigrants — mostly from Haiti — gathered around the border city of Del Rio, overrunning everything in their path. Although the Biden administration said it would send most of the illegal immigrants back to Haiti, subsequent reports said as many as 12,000 migrants were released into the United States.
Since then, Panama’s foreign minister has revealed that 60,000 illegal immigrants could be trekking northward to take advantage of the Biden administration’s lax border policy.
Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas also told officials in his department last week that as many as 400,000 illegal immigrants could descend on the southern border if a Trump-era COVID restriction used to send back some migrants is overturned, according to NBC News.
With that as the backdrop, Republican Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said his state will be ready this time, according to the Washington Examiner.
“Texas National Guard is gearing up at the border for increased caravans attempting to cross the border caused by Biden’s open border policy,” Abbott tweeted on Saturday. “They are working with the Texas Dept. of Public Safety to seal surge locations at the border & arrest trespassers.”
Texas National Guard is gearing up at the border for increased caravans attempting to cross the border caused by Biden’s open border policy.
They are working with the Texas Dept. of Public Safety to seal surge locations at the border & arrest trespassers.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 2, 2021
In a follow-up tweet on Monday, the governor shared an image of military vehicles and equipment and said, “The Texas National Guard continues to surge resources & personnel to the border. Along with the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Guard is doing whatever is necessary to protect our communities & secure the border.”
The Texas National Guard continues to surge resources & personnel to the border.
— Greg Abbott (@GregAbbott_TX) October 5, 2021
Abbott has said the floods of illegal immigrants that have become a hallmark of the Biden administration are unprecedented.
“We have multiple reports about different caravans coming to different regions across the border,” he said during a Wednesday interview with conservative host Buck Sexton. “And so what we’re going to do in response to it as we are preparing, as we speak, is exactly what you saw at the apex moment when people were coming across the river in Del Rio.”
Texas will send its forces to those places illegal immigrants are likely to cross.
Renae Eze, a spokeswoman for Abbott, said the response to future mass attempts to crash the border will be met with similar tactics used by the state last month.
“When the recent caravan of thousands of Haitian migrants crossed into Del Rio, Governor Abbott surged additional law enforcement personnel to the region and directed the National Guard and DPS to create a steel barrier with hundreds of their vehicles and humvees to deter further crossings,” Eze said.
“This successful strategy, which Border Patrol agents have credited for stopping the flow of Haitian migrants, will be utilized for other caravans headed towards our southern border,” she said. “Texas will continue surging state resources and stepping up in the federal government’s absence to secure our border and protect Texans.”
Abbott noted that although immigration violations are covered by federal authorities, illegal immigrants who commit criminal acts can be arrested by state authorities.
“We stepped up and created our own court system in south Texas, where we are arresting and processing and then jailing people who are coming across the border for criminal trespass,” Abbott said. “Because I declared a disaster in this region along the border, it immediately elevates the time in jail and the penalties for trespass in the state of Texas and it turns it into a six-month to a year behind bar penalty.”
“It was critical that Texas law enforcement secure the area around the port of entry because our federal partners were being overwhelmed,” Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw said last week at a media briefing, according to a department news release.
Officials with the Department of Public Safety and Texas Military Division said about 17,500 illegal immigrants gathered at Del Rio.
Maj. Gen. Tracy Norris, the adjutant general of the Texas National Guard, said the state will “continue to construct temporary fencing and barriers to interdict illegal activities in Texas communities and properties. The Texas Guard will always be ready to support our state when needed.”
Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said he is disgusted by the Biden administration’s border catastrophe.
“Right now, under Joe Biden, we simply have open borders,” he told Fox News last week. “It is an absolute catastrophe. I’ve been to our southern border many, many times. It’s worse than I’ve ever seen it. We are right now on a path to over 2 million illegal immigrants crossing into this country this year under Joe Biden. It’s the worst illegal immigration we’ve had in 21 years.”
Cruz noted that unlike many Biden administration officials, he has seen the chaos firsthand.
“You know, just a little bit less than two weeks ago, I was down in Del Rio. I saw firsthand the crisis that was there — where because the Biden administration refused to deport the illegal immigrants from Haiti, we saw what had been about 700 people under the bridge in Del Rio grow, when I was there, to 10,503 and within a couple of days after that to 15,000,” he said.
The senator said that despite tough talk about sending illegal immigrants away, the Biden administration has allowed thousands to remain in the U.S.
“And this is all happening because Joe Biden and Kamala Harris refused to enforce the law and have essentially said anyone who wants to come to America, they’re going to resettle them,” Cruz said. “They’re going to give them benefits, they’re going to let them stay.
“And it’s resulting in a public health crisis and a humanitarian crisis.”
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