Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration along the southern border of Texas in response to an “ongoing surge” of immigrants illegally entering the U.S. since President Joe Biden’s border policies began in January.
Abbott’s declaration authorizes all available state resources to assist state and local law enforcement to protect Texans from “criminal activity and property damage.”
“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.
“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,” he continued.
Since Abbott initiated “Operation Lonestar” on March 6, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) has made more than 1,300 criminal arrests, apprehended over 35,000 illegal immigrants, and seized more than 10,000 pounds of drugs and over 100 illegal firearms.
Between January and April of 2021, the DPS had intercepted “21.5 million lethal doses of fentanyl” – a powerful and often deadly synthetic opioid.
Abbott linked the “ongoing surge” of immigrants illegally entering the U.S to the state’s ongoing capacity crisis in foster care. On Tuesday he directed the Texas Health and Human Services Commission to “take all necessary steps to discontinue state licensure of any child care facility under a contract with the federal government that shelters or detains unlawful immigrants.”
“Texas continues to step up to confront the border crisis in the federal government’s absence, but more must be done,” Abbott said.
“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,” his statement added.
The declaration claimed the state has spent approximately $3.5 billion on border security since 2014.