DEL RIO, Texas – Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday vowed to continue to provide state resources to secure the border, including Del Rio, where he visited Tuesday.
During a press conference from the Del Rio International Bridge, Abbott thanked the Texas Department of Public Safety, the Texas Military Department, and local law enforcement and officials for their response to help enforce immigration laws.
“The State of Texas is taking unprecedented steps to secure the border, and we will continue to respond in full force to keep Texans safe,” Abbott said.
Abbott blamed the Biden Administration for the surge of nearly 15,000 Haitian migrants who crossed the Rio Grande River from Mexico into Del Rio last week. He said that the Val Verde County judge told him the most recent tally was about 8,600 migrants who remain there.
“The Biden Administration’s failure to enforce immigration laws and halt illegal crossings on a federal dam poses life-threatening risks to Texans and the migrants themselves. Texans ― and all Americans ― demand and deserve a secure southern border and the protection of our nation’s sovereignty,” Abbott said. “They have shown no capability of being able to process all of these migrants by the end of the week. The only thing they have shown is an incapability of dealing with this crisis, candidly in a way where they pretend it doesn’t even exist. We’re here to tell you, it exists, it’s total chaos, and the Biden administration, they need to up their game big time.”
On Monday, U.S. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas conceded the situation in Del Rio was a “challenging and heartbreaking situation,” but he issued a stark warning: “If you come to the United States illegally, you will be returned. Your journey will not succeed, and you will be endangering your life and your family’s life.”
More than 6,000 Haitians and other migrants had been removed from the camp, U.S. officials said Monday as they defended a strong response that included immediately expelling migrants to their impoverished Caribbean country and faced criticism for using horse patrols to stop them from entering the town.
The governor also said that state resources will be deployed to other areas along the border as part of the ongoing efforts of Operation Lone Star, which he launched in early March to help secure the border and combat the smuggling of people and drugs in Texas.
Abbott was joined at the press conference by Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw, Texas Military Department Adjutant General Tracy Norris, National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judd and other state and local officials.
The governor’s visit to the border community comes four days after he signed a bill into law that will provide an additional $1.8 billion in state funding for border security over the next two years.
The governor has made border security funding a priority in the first and second special legislative sessions.
Editor’s Note: The Associated Press contributed to this report.