The Texas Department of Public Safety will ramp up law enforcement efforts at the Mexican border to “fill the gaps” caused by immigration policy changes at the federal level, Gov. Greg Abbott announced Tuesday.
After meeting with federal and state law enforcement agencies at the Texas-Mexico border in Mission, Abbott launched “Operation Lone Star,” surging resources to the border amid an influx in migrations.
Abbott said the cartel is “involved in every single one of these border crossings,” exploiting changes the Biden administration made on the border, like reversing a Trump-era policy that forced asylum seekers to wait in Mexico for court hearings in the United States.
The governor issued a blunt message to people crossing the border.
“If you dare step into the state of Texas, Texas will use every tool or strategy we can to arrest anybody who’s violating the law to put (them) behind bars,” he said.
Abbott lobbed heavy criticism of President Joe Biden’s actions throughout the press conference, saying the president has stripped Border Patrol of the resources needed to deal with the influx.
“One thing that is clear ... we need more ICE detention facilities in this area immediately,” Abbott said.
The governor and the president have butted heads over immigration before. The Texas Tribune reported that Abbott rejected federal aid for coronavirus testing of migrants who have come across the border.
Last month, the Biden administration was also criticized by activists for reopening a child migrant facility in Carrizo Springs.
The White House pointed to an influx in migrants and COVID-19 protocols requiring more space for housing people.
“We had to expand and open additional facilities because there was not enough space in the existing facilities if we were to abide by COVID protocols,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday.
“Our objective is to move these kids quickly from there to vetted, sponsored families, and to places where they can safely be,” she said.