Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Saturday launched a program that would deploy state national guard troops and other agencies to respond to the burgeoning crisis at the southern border.
Abbott announced that his office has launched Operation Lone Star, which will deploy air, ground, and marine, and tactical border security assets to prevent Mexican criminal organizations from smuggling drugs and people into Texas. The operation will be launched in collaboration with the state’s Department of Public Safety.
“Texas supports legal immigration but will not be an accomplice to the open border policies that cause, rather than prevent, a humanitarian crisis in our state and endanger the lives of Texans,” Abbott said in a statement to media outlets on Saturday.
“We will surge the resources and law enforcement personnel needed to confront this crisis.”
This comes as the number of illegal crossings at the southern border continue their steadily rise since October last year. The number of encounters at the southwest border between October 2020 and January 2021 was 296,259, which is up from 164,932 during the same period in 2019 and 2020, according to data from the U.S. Custom and Border Patrol (CBP), representing a 79.6 percent increase.
Meanwhile, Reuters has reported, citing anonymous sources, that the number of illegal immigrants apprehended by U.S. border agents spiked even further for the month of February at nearly 100,000 migrants detained. CBP has yet to release its February data.
Since taking office Biden has reversed several Trump-era border security measures that were aimed at stemming the flow of illegal immigration at the southern border and increasing America’s public security.
The increased number of unaccompanied minors arriving at the border in recent weeks has seen the Biden administration open more overflow shelters to handle the influx. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas added on Monday that instead of “expelling young children” to Mexico while processing their asylum claims, as was done under the Trump administration, DHS is working to release minors to relatives or sponsors in the United States if the minors are from Guatemala, Honduras, or El Salvador.
Some of the immigration policies that Biden implemented include temporarily ending former President Donald Trump’s Migrant Protection Protocols that sent illegal immigrations back into Mexico while their cases are decided. He has also reversed Trump’s ban on travel from terror-prone countries, halted the remaining construction of the border wall, and has issued a sweeping immigration package to Congress that offers a legalization pathway to an estimated 11 million illegal immigrants already in the country.
These actions have drawn widespread criticism, in particular, from Trump.
“Our border is now totally out of control thanks to the disastrous leadership of Joe Biden,” Trump wrote in a statement released on March 5 through an intermediary.
“Our great Border Patrol and ICE agents have been disrespected, demeaned, and mocked by the Biden Administration,” Trump added, referring to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.
“A mass incursion into the country by people who should not be here is happening on an hourly basis, getting worse by the minute. Many have criminal records, and many others have and are spreading covid,” he wrote, referring to COVID-19, the disease caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
Earlier this month, a large group of migrants seeking to cross the U.S.-Mexico border held a demonstration in Mexico, calling for Biden to let them into the United States.
Biden has not yet acknowledged the crisis or announced any concrete plan to address the growing numbers of illegal crossings. When asked by a reporter this week whether there is a crisis at the border, Biden replied, “No, we’ll be able to handle it.”
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) sent a letter to Biden on Friday requesting a meeting to address the issue, saying that he has “great concern” about how his administration is handling the border crisis.
“We must acknowledge the border crisis, develop a plan, and, in no uncertain terms, strongly discourage individuals from Mexico and Central America from ever making the dangerous journey to our southern border,” McCarthy wrote (pdf).