On June 10, Governor Greg Abbott hosted a Border Security Summit in Del Rio, Texas. Sheriffs, judges, mayors, residents, and police chiefs gathered to hear the state’s plan to combat the border and humanitarian crises. The biggest pieces of news from the summit involved building walls at vulnerable points along the state’s border. Another big change is that those apprehended at the border will no longer be set free, but subject to criminal charges for trespassing, illegal entry, or human trafficking.
Another piece of news to emerge from the event was the announcement of the Governor’s Task Force on Border and Homeland Security. With representatives from multiple state departments and sectors, the task force will develop and recommend strategies and policies to combat the flow of drugs, victims of human trafficking, and illegal immigrants.
Details regarding the border wall will be released in the coming weeks, but the governor did announce that he intends to sign a state budget that appropriates over a billion dollars towards improving border security.
Since the Biden administration took office, trafficking and illegal migration have spiked. In May, 180,000 migrants were apprehended at the border, the highest number in over two decades. President Biden has directed Vice President Kamala Harris to handle the ongoing situation.
Some Democrats say there is no crisis – presumably, because they believe in an open border policy or refuse to acknowledge the reality of the situation. In a press release this week, House Oversight Committee Republicans criticized their Democrat counterparts for ignoring requests to hold a hearing on the crisis at the southern border. One hundred days ago, Republican members first urged Chairman Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) to hold a hearing.
Since then, videos of children crammed in small rooms with nothing but foil sheets and gym mats are being ignored. American citizens are finding abandoned and trafficked children on their property.
Governor Abbott is up for re-election in 2024. He will face multiple challengers, some of whom have recently criticized him for “playing politics” with the border. John Wittman, a former spokesperson for the governor, on the other hand, says Abbott has always been concerned about the border, running on the issue in 2014, and that he is just being “responsive to the current situation.” Challenger Don Huffines disagrees. Huffines says the wall should have been built years ago and that Abbott is only now addressing it because he feels threatened by a primary challenge.
Gilberto Hinojosa, chairman of Texas’ Democratic Party, claims Abbott is a hypocrite; recently accusing the governor of not being “concerned about the border when Donald Trump was putting kids in cages and separating families and just doing the horrible things he did.”
Array of Problems
Illegal immigrants are not the only border issue. Drugs are flowing into the United States at record numbers as well. According to the Customs and Border Patrol, heroin seizures were up 97% from March to April. Fentanyl seizures so far this year have surpassed the total amount in 2020. According to FBI Director Christopher Wray, there is “No Question” drug cartel activity is spilling over the border.
Seventy percent of victims of human trafficking in the U.S. are coming from Mexico; 50% are minors. Last month, five children were found on a Texas farm and showed signs of physical abuse and kidnapping.
Despite the ongoing issues, no concrete plans to combat illegal immigration and human and drug trafficking have been released by the Biden administration.
Read more from Keelin Ferris
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