Abbott signs $1.8B border security bill amid illegal migrant crisis
By Karen Townsend | HOTAIR.com
Governor Abbott signed a $1.8B border security bill in Fort Worth on Friday. The bill triples the Texas border security budget and it includes $750M for the construction of a border wall. The bill also includes funding to increase immigration jail capacity.
None of these measures would be necessary if Joe Biden would do his job. It is a dereliction of his first and foremost responsibility as president – to protect Americans and our borders. The escalating humanitarian crisis in Del Rio proves the need for stronger action to be taken, given the absence of action by the Biden administration. We’ve written numerous posts on this site about the Biden border crisis, especially in recent days as the crisis grows. Governor Abbott’s frustration with the Biden administration’s failures is well-known.
DHS and Border Patrol are often on separate pages which is confusing and adds to the chaos. The majority of the thousands of illegal migrants living under the international bridge in Del Rio are Haitians. How they all got here is unclear – they didn’t swim here from Haiti – and now DHS says it will fly them back to Haiti.
There is no burying his head in the sand for Governor Abbott over the Biden border crisis. Secretary Mayorkas may want to ignore it and hope it all goes away but hope isn’t a strategy. In a private moment recently, while speaking with Border Patrol officials, Mayorkas admitted that the flood of people crossing the border is unsustainable.
Texas is scrambling to find places to house the migrants and that includes consolidating people jailed in border towns in order to jail migrants being charged with trespassing. In other words, local law enforcement is arresting migrants for trespassing in order to detain them and space must be made for them in local jails. The burden falls on local officials who have neither the personnel nor the resources to handle it.
Abbott is doing what the federal government will not do. He is doing all he can to secure the Texas-Mexico border. Texas taxpayers are on the hook to fund the measures being taken. The dire conditions in Del Rio caused CBP to reroute cross-border traffic from that town to Eagle Pass. Safety and security needs were cited as the reason for that action.
“It is the federal government’s job to secure our border. But the Biden administration has failed to do its job,” Abbott said during an event in Fort Worth. “These funds are needed because the Biden administration’s open border policies have opened the floodgates to illegal immigration, to crime, to human trafficking, to drug smuggling.”
The spending bill, which brings Texas’ two-year border security budget to nearly $3 billion, sets aside $1 billion for the construction of a barrier along with parts of the border and more than $450 million to continue deploying a surge of National Guard members and Department of Public Safety troopers to the region.
It also aims to provide relief for the network of courts and detention facilities that are tasked with processing and detaining migrants arrested on state charges, setting aside $32 million for the Office of Court Administration to hire new visiting judges, public defenders, court interpreters and other court staff.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which currently sends migrants to detention facilities in Frio and Hidalgo counties, will also receive funds to convert additional facilities for the same use. And $170 million is allocated to establish and staff three county-level processing and intake centers along the border, according to Abbott’s office.
On Friday, DHS appealed an order issued by U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to halt the use of Title 42 at the border. Title 42 is a public health law that allows the Border Patrol to expel illegal migrants during a health crisis like a pandemic. The Trump administration put it in place in March 2020 and the Biden administration has continued to keep it in place. Judge Sullivan threw a wrench in that practice. He gave the government 14 days to appeal before the order is implemented so Friday that is what DHS did.
What this means is that one successful policy in place, Title 42, that Biden quietly allowed to continue, is in danger of being stopped. Title 42 allows families to be expelled, for example, but now they will be allowed in and processed. They will be released and told to show up for an asylum hearing. We’ve seen this before as those here illegally simply disappear into the country.
An interesting part of this story is that Democrats in Texas are fed up and siding with Republicans and Abbott to take action, especially Democrat officials along the border. While the chairman of the Texas Democrats blasts Abbott, others point out this is a Texas problem, not a partisan problem.
Abbott’s failures are catching up with him, and he’s terrified that he will be voted out of office in just over a year, said Gilberto Hinojosa, Texas Democratic Party chair.
“He’s doing what he always does: trying to distract from his massive failures by pointing the finger at immigrants and drumming up fear around our borders,” Hinojosa said in a statement after the signing.
“When are we actually going to start solving problems?” Rep. Ina Minjarez, D-San Antonio, asked during the bill’s debate last month.
However, five Senate Democrats joined the 18 Republicans in giving final approval to the bill, including Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa.
In an interview with The Dallas Morning News, Hinojosa said this isn’t necessarily a partisan issue, with both sides along with the federal government failing to address the issue of illegal immigration.
“In Hidalgo County, my part of my senatorial district, we are completely being overwhelmed by immigrants — mostly families, where we take care of them, provide them water, food, health checkups, COVID tests,” he said.
Right on cue, The Lincoln Project has released a video attacking Abbott for his governing decisions. The group is comprised of GOP professional grifters who found themselves irrelevant during the Trump administration. Their Trump derangement lives on. The members of the group don’t even pretend to be Republicans anymore, they’ve gone full Democrat. The ad attacks Abbott for his decisions made during the pandemic. Are they releasing a video attacking Biden for his dereliction of duty with the southern border? No. They all supported Biden. No mean tweets.
The Lincoln Project announced on Friday it will air an ad during the Texas Longhorns versus Rice Owls football game to highlight how many people have died in the state, blaming Abbott’s handling of the response to the disease.
“We’re reminding Texans—and all Americans—that there are real and deadly consequences to playing politics with public health,” said Lincoln Project co-founder Reed Galen. “Gov. Greg Abbott has failed Texas to the tune of 60,000 dead neighbors, friends, and family. Instead of recognizing his failure and working with public health officials to protect Texans, Abbott digs in further; ratcheting up his radical, anti-science, anti-vax approach to the pandemic. Texas cannot afford, or survive, the reign of this extremist governor.”
The timing of the ad is off, though. The death toll in Texas is in sharp decline and has been for some time. Let those foolish losers do the bidding of Democrats. If they don’t want to see Abbott re-elected, who will they support? Are they hoping to finance Beto’s candidacy if he chooses to run? The Lincoln Project has burned through tens of millions of dollars from many Democrat donors to attack Republican voters after living off those same Republican voters for years. Grifters gonna grift.