Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday issued an executive order instructing the Texas National Guard to capture illegal immigrants in the U.S. and take them back to the southern border.
“I have authorized the Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety to begin returning illegal immigrants to the border to stop this criminal enterprise endangering our communities,” Abbott said in a press release announcing the order. “As the challenges on the border continue to increase, Texas will continue to take action to address those challenges caused by the Biden Administration.”
Thousands of Texas National Guard and Texas Department of Public Safety – who have already been deployed to the border via Abbott’s Operation Lone Star mission – will now have the authorization to apprehend “immigrants who cross the border between ports of entry or commit other violations of federal law, and to return those illegal immigrants to the border at a port of entry.”
Abbott blamed the Biden administration for not enforcing federal immigration laws, especially Article IV, § 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which lays out the federal government’s responsibility in protecting states against invasion.
Abbott said Texas has been forced to protect itself by building a border wall, mobilizing military troops, and other actions to repel the invasion of illegal immigrants.
“While President Biden refuses to do his job and enforce the immigration laws enacted by Congress, the State of Texas is once again stepping up and taking unprecedented action to protect Americans and secure our southern border,” Abbott said. “The cartels have become emboldened and enriched by President Biden’s open border policies, smuggling in record numbers of people, weapons, and deadly drugs like fentanyl.”
The executive order cited reasons such as 42 terrorist-linked suspects on the terrorist watchlist arrested while trying to enter the U.S. since January 2021 and an unknown number of more who have successfully entered the U.S. without being detected. The order also cites the Biden administration’s ending of the Remain-in-Mexico policy – which required migrants stay in Mexico until their US asylum process could be approved – and efforts to end Title 42 expulsions, which is projected to result in up to 18,000 illegal immigrants entering the country each day.
Illegal immigration has continued at record-high levels and only appears to be increasing, according to CBP data. Abbott said 5,000 illegal immigrants were apprehended over the July 4th weekend alone. In Fiscal Year 2020, a total of 458,088 illegal immigrants were apprehended at the southern border, compared to 1,734,686 in FY 2021. The first eight months of FY 2022 shows that 1,536,899 illegal immigrants have already been apprehended.