AUSTIN, Texas - Border security has been a hot issue in Texas, with funding for border personnel making its way onto the agenda in the current Texas Legislative Special Session.
Governor Greg Abbott held a border security briefing with sheriffs from border communities on Saturday at the Texas State Capitol. The governor was joined by Texas Division of Emergency Management Chief Nim Kidd, Adjutant General of Texas Tracy Norris, and Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw.
"People think that this is a border-related issue and it is, but this is also an issue that affects counties across the entire state of Texas," said Gov. Abbott.
Sheriffs at the briefing told Abbott some of their needs included more manpower, more jail space, and more judges. The governor says he hopes to get approval during the special session for funding to send to border communities.
This briefing comes barely over a week after Gov. Abbott met with former President Donald Trump at the southern border. Abbott invited Trump to see the stalled construction project that was a major initiative under the Trump administration.
Speaking to a crowd of Republican supporters in front of an unfinished section of the wall near McAllen, Abbott and Trump sharply criticized the Biden administration over its handling of immigration and the border.
Gov. Abbott blamed what he called the Biden administration’s "open border" policy for the recent surge in migrants coming across the border. Officials say crossings in the Rio Grande Sector—where the visit was held—are up 300%. Abbott said that underscores why Biden needs to finish the wall.
"Because of the Biden Administration’s complete abandonment of enforcing the laws that were passed by Congress concerning immigration, there is an unprecedented number of people coming across the border," said Gov. Abbott. "Our message to the country is that even though the federal government may have abandoned their responsibility, we are not going to abandon our responsibility."
Last month, Abbott issued a statewide call for jailers to assist with operations at the border. The order asks jailers across Texas to join border sheriffs in operating detention facilities, and also providing jail beds for those arrested for state charges related to the border crisis.
Vice President Kamala Harris, who President Joe Biden placed in charge of the border crisis, visited the border in El Paso on last month. Texas Republicans have been critical of the federal government's handling of the border, with many such as Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn saying they feel this visit is months too late.
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