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TX Gov. Abbott calls on Biden to declare border crisis a federal disaster

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on June 22, 2020. (Ricardo B. Brazziell/Austin American-Statesman/TNS)
September 22, 2021

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott pushed President Joe Biden to issue a federal disaster declaration over the illegal immigration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border and asked for federal resources to help stem the flow of illegal border crossings.

In a five-page request, Abbott stressed that “border security is a federal responsibility” which has largely been ignored, forcing Texas to take “appropriate action,” like declaring a state of disaster for several Texas counties along the southern border.

“I submit this request due to the overwhelming surge of individuals unlawfully attempting to cross the Texas-Mexico border in Val Verde County. These illegal crossings are aided by a dam on federal property, and thus under the jurisdiction of the federal government, which allows individuals to easily traverse the Rio Grande River,” Abbott’s request stated.

The governor noted that the number of migrants crossing into the U.S. illegally jumped from 4,000 to over 16,000 in just four days last week, adding that “the entrance of illegal immigrants shows no signs of slowing.”

“This surge poses life-threatening risks to residents of Val Verde County and is quickly overrunning law enforcement and health care and humanitarian resources which were never intended to be used in this capacity,” Abbott continued. “Even the limited federal resources in the area are strained by the large number of individuals illegally crossing into Texas.”

Abbott said the record-breaking number of illegal immigrants flowing into Texas this year has been devastating to residents of the Lone Star State.  

“Texas residents’ property is being destroyed; crimes are occurring; humans, deadly drugs and illegal weapons are being smuggled into communities throughout the state; law enforcement is having to redirect their resources; and county judges and mayors are facing skyrocketing expenses,” Abbott wrote. “While Texans face the brunt of these negative impacts, it is common knowledge that border-related drugs, weapons, and crimes impact local jurisdictions across the United States.”

The situation on the border has also turned into a humanitarian crisis, with families, including infants and children, in need of food, water and medical supplies “that the local government cannot supply.”

“Thousands of families are immobilized in 100-degree heat as their numbers continue to swell as they wait to be processed by the approximately 64 federal agents in the area,” Abbott said. “Individuals are camping in squalid conditions and bathing in muddy river water, causing great health concerns.”

Biden’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released a statement Monday following the explosion of migrants at the border over the weekend, claiming the borders are not open.

“The Biden Administration has reiterated that our borders are not open, and people should not make the dangerous journey.  Individuals and families are subject to border restrictions, including expulsion.  Irregular migration poses a significant threat to the health and welfare of border communities and to the lives of migrants themselves, and should not be attempted,” the DHS statement read.

Standing to stark contrast to the Biden administration’s public statements, U.S. officials told The Associated Press that thousands of Haitian migrants are being released into the interior, not deported as Mayorkas claimed.