Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration for 34 counties along or near the Lone Star State’s border with Mexico on Tuesday, claiming that President Joe Biden’s immigration policies had allowed in a flood of drugs and gang members.
“President Biden’s open-border policies have paved the way for dangerous gangs and cartels, human traffickers, and deadly drugs like fentanyl to pour into our communities,” Abbott said in a statement. “Landowners along the border are seeing their property damaged and vandalised on a daily basis.”
In the disaster declaration, Abbott noted that Texas Department of Public Safety troopers had “made over 1,300 criminal arrests, apprehended over 35,000 illegal migrants and seized over 10,000 pounds of drugs and over 100 firearms” since March 6 of this year.
He also stated that between January and April, troopers had intercepted “21.5 million lethal doses of fentanyl”.
By declaring a state of disaster in those counties, Texas will now receive more resources and strategies to protect landowners and enforce all federal and state laws to combat criminal activities stemming from the border crisis, the declaration said. “Working together with local law enforcement, the state will continue to take robust and meaningful action to keep our communities safe.”
Abbot’s statement concluded, “Texas continues to step up to confront the border crisis in the federal government’s absence, but more must be done.”
Abbott has been one of the Biden administration’s most persistent critics on the issue of illegal immigration. Last month, he accused the president of abandoning “the rule of law” at the Texas border.
“Our state legislature allocated about $800 million every two years for the state to pay for this border security,” Abbott told media outlets early in May.
“This year, because of the extended time that we will have the National Guard on the border, it will clearly exceed a billion dollars for the state to have to secure the United States of America.”
His declaration claimed the state has spent approximately US$3.5 billion on border security since 2014.
“It’s clear,” the governor said at the time, “that Biden’s open-border policies are unleashing deadly consequences.”