Governor Abbott, Texas Border Chairmen Discuss Border Security Strategies In Weslaco
Governor Greg Abbott today hosted a roundtable discussion and press conference with Senator Brian Birdwell, Representative Ryan Guillen, and Operation Lone Star officials in Weslaco on the state’s ongoing border security efforts after last week designating border security an emergency item for this legislative session.
“I am proud to be here today with Senator Birdwell and Representative Guillen, so they could see firsthand the work being done by the brave men and women of Operation Lone Star and so we could review plans for the next two years,” said Governor Abbott. "This past year, we saw this highest number of illegal immigrants ever who were apprehended coming across our border. Texas is stepping up. Texans, as well as our fellow Americans, are furious about the lawlessness caused by President Joe Biden's open border policies. It is because of this that I declared border security an emergency item this session to address this quickly and be more proactive. We're sending a message today: If you're coming toward the United States of America and thinking about making a border crossing in the State of Texas, you're picking the wrong state to try to enter into. We're going to do everything we can to keep you out of our border and out of our country."
"The State of Texas is certainly in a difficult situation, having 1,200 of the 1,900 miles of international border with Mexico," said Senator Birdwell. "Under the leadership of Governor Abbott and Operation Lone Star, we are making our belligerent opponents in the cartels pay a price for plying their wares in the State of Texas. I thank the Governor for his leadership, because we simply cannot allow the people of Texas–their property and their lives–to just be turned over to the mercy of the cartels."
"As border residents and Texans, we expect safe and orderly communities," said Representative Guillen. "Although our federal government doesn't appear to be fully invested in doing so, the State of Texas, with the leadership of Governor Abbott, is committed to bringing order to the border. We're committed to keeping violence from spilling over, bringing order to our broken immigrant system, and keeping fentanyl and other illicit substances off of our streets. I look forward to working with Governor Abbott, Senator Birdwell, Lieutenant Governor Patrick, Speaker Phelan, and my colleagues in the House and Senate to do so."
The Governor was also joined by Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steve McCraw, Adjutant General of the Texas Military Department Major General Thomas Suelzer, and Border Czar Mike Banks. During the roundtable discussion, the Governor and state leaders outlined Texas’ expanding strategies to secure our southern border and legislative actions needed to continue funding the state’s historic defense of the border in President Biden’s absence. Senator Birdwell, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Border Security, and Representative Guillen, Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security and Public Safety, also discussed with Governor Abbott and Operation Lone Star leadership the Biden Administration's elimination of Title 42 and the impending devastating impacts on Texas communities.
Governor Abbott has taken unprecedented action to secure the border in the wake of the federal government’s inaction, including:
- Securing $4 billion in funding for Texas' border security efforts
- Launching Operation Lone Star and deploying thousands of Texas National Guard soldiers and Texas Department of Public Safety troopers
- Hiring Texas' first-ever Border Czar to oversee border security
- Taking aggressive action to aid border communities, including busing thousands of migrants to Washington, D.C., New York City, Chicago, and Philadelphia
- Designating Mexican drug cartels as terrorist organizations to keep Texans safe amid the growing national fentanyl crisis
- Arresting and jailing criminals trespassing or committing other state crimes along the southern border
- Issuing an executive order authorizing the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to return illegal immigrants to the border at ports of entry
- Allocating resources to acquire 1,700 unused steel panels to build the border wall in Texas
- Signing a law to make it easier to prosecute smugglers bringing people into Texas
- Signing 15 laws cracking down on human trafficking in Texas
- Signing a law enhancing penalties for the manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl
- Issuing a disaster declaration for the border crisis
- Issuing an executive order preventing non-governmental entities from transporting illegal immigrants
- Signing memoranda of understanding between the State of Texas and the States of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to enhance border security measures in their states that will prevent illegal immigration from Mexico to Texas
- Activating the Joint Border Security Operations Center (JBSOC) and directing the Texas Department of Public Safety, Texas Military Department, and Texas Division of Emergency Management to coordinate Texas’ response to secure the border