Texas Republican Sens. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to President Joe Biden on Monday in support of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s appeal to issue a disaster declaration for the border crisis.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency denied a request by Abbott in September for an emergency disaster declaration for the state of Texas as a result of the crisis at the Texas-Mexico border. Abbott appealed the decision earlier this month, with Cruz and Cornyn’s support.
“In the last eight months alone, over a million individuals crossed illegally into the United States, which is now on pace for over 2 million illegal crossings for 2021,” the senators wrote in their letter Monday.
“To put that into perspective, that is roughly the population of Houston, Texas crossing illegally into this country in just one year.”
— Senator Ted Cruz (@SenTedCruz) October 25, 2021
“As of August 2021, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) encounters have increased 325% compared to the prior fiscal year to date. Encounters in each Texas Border Patrol sector have increased significantly under your administration’s policies. For example, from August 2020 to August 2021, encounters in the Rio Grande Valley have increased over 692%,” they added.
The costs related to the border crisis have taken a toll on the state’s resources, according to the senators.
“[I]n response to the ongoing surge of migrants experienced this year, the Texas legislature more than tripled state spending, appropriating another $3 billion for the current budget to address border security,” Cruz said in his news release announcing the letter.
The costs have skyrocketed since Biden entered office.
“Since the May 31, 2021, state disaster declaration, the State of Texas has spent over $84 million beyond its regular budgeted appropriation to combat the ongoing crisis,” Cruz added.
The letter said communities in Texas bear both the direct and indirect costs of the increased number of illegal immigrants entering its state.
“The state and local communities in Texas bear direct and indirect costs of the increasing volume of illegal immigration along the southwest border, and federal assistance is necessary to further protect the lives, property, public health, and safety of the communities along the border,” Cruz and Cornyn wrote.
The senators focused their attention on the federal government’s responsibility to protect the nation’s borders and stated the ongoing border crisis demands the federal government do more to help.
“It is a federal responsibility to protect the border, yet the State of Texas and cities and counties along the Texas border are expending considerable resources to address this ongoing border crisis to protect the residents of Texas. We strongly support the Governor’s request and urge you to reconsider your denial and provide any and all emergency measures afforded by the approval of an emergency declaration,” the senators wrote.
The news comes as Customs and Border Protection announced 192,001 encounters at the southern border in September. The number marked a 9 percent decrease from August and the third consecutive month of at least 170,000 encounters.
The number of unaccompanied children reported in September was 14,358, which represented a 24 percent decrease from August but remained high with an average of 772 unaccompanied children taken into CBP custody per day.
The September numbers were also impacted by more than 15,000 migrants who crossed into Del Rio, Texas.
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